Thursday, July 4, 2013

Illinois Bill would raise car insurance liability coverage to $25,000

In Illinois, State legislation would raise the minimum for first time since 1989 and is awaiting Gov. Pat Quinn's signature. The bill will raise the required liability coverage for auto insurance to $25,000 from $20,000. The legislation was passed by the Illinois General Assembly. In 1989, Illinois lawmakers voted to require all motorists to carry a minimum of auto liability insurance, which helps pay for injuries to others.

The raise will definitely help people who don't have health insurance. At first, they were suppose to raise it to $50,000 but they are worried that lower-income consumers would not be able to afford their car insurance and would rather drive without any insurance.

Based on Insurance Information Institute data, 15% of Illinois motorists drive without insurance.

Rep. Laura Fine said, "Ending up at $25,000 was a product of negotiation." "We tried to strike a balance between financially protecting the injured while keeping premium rates low for those who purchase the minimum coverage," she added.

The increase in minimum liability coverage will cost Illinois consumers who currently have basic car insurance coverage an additional $75 a year.

The Consumer Federation of America says raising the minimums will exacerbate problems for people who can barely afford insurance now.

Another downside is that additional $5,000 is a small amount in dealing with today's medical costs. Based on the consumer price index, $20,000 in 1989 dollars is equivalent to $37,000 today.

At the same time, consumers are becoming responsible for a bigger share of their medical costs.

A TransUnion Healthcare report released last month found that patients' average out-of-pocket costs on key medical procedures has grown nearly 22 percent in the last year, to $2,042.

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