Arizona motorists may soon have to obtain — and pay for — more insurance coverage.
Legislation sponsored by Rep. Ethan Orr, R-Tucson, would make it illegal to operate a motor vehicle without insurance that provides at least $25,000 for any individual injured. The current minimum is just $15,000.
Similarly, coverage for injuries to multiple victims in any one mishap would have to go from $30,000 to $50,000.
Motorists would need to purchase at least $20,000 coverage for property damage to things like someone else’s vehicle or a city-owned streetlight, double the current figure.
Orr conceded the move will mean increased costs for those who now carry just the bare minimum, and estimates from various sources say the average would be anywhere from $50 to $100 more a year. But he said the move is long overdue.
“It hasn’t been changed in 42 years,” he said. “If we’re going to have a law that makes other people feel safe because other people have insurance on the road, that law should be tied to the times.”
Orr said the current minimums are not enough to ensure that those liable for accidents have adequate coverage to pay the expenses of those they hurt.
“But we’re telling them it is adequate insurance,” he continued. “So by raising it, we give them the true level of security and safety they deserve.”
Attorney Geoff Trachtenberg, who is helping craft the bill, said what $15,000 covered in medical bills 42 years ago would probably take $80,000 now. Ditto the ability to replace a vehicle totaled by someone else — Trachtenberg said a Ford Gran Torino, one of the most popular cars in 1972, cost about $4,500.