Louisiana poised to boost vehicle liability coverage

| 7/23/2008

A new law in Louisiana will require automobile drivers to carry more liability insurance.

Existing state law requires automobile policyholders to have at least $10,000 for damage to the property of others. They also are required to carry $20,000 coverage for injury or death to more than one person in any one wreck and $10,000 coverage for injury or death to one person.

Previously HB1312, the new law increases the minimum requirements to $15,000 for property damage, $30,000 for everyone killed or injured, and up to $25,000 for each person injured or killed. It became law without the signature of Gov. Bobby Jindal.

The increases will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2010. The changes will be implemented upon renewal of policies after that date.

Sponsored by Rep. Erich Ponti, R-Baton Rouge, the original bill called for raising the limits to $25,000 for one injury or death and property damage and $50,000 for multiple fatalities or injuries.

That version was similar to one vetoed this past summer by then-Gov. Kathleen Blanco. She cited concerns that it could lead to more uninsured drivers on Louisiana roads because new premiums could increase by $200 to $400 annually.

Hopeful of avoiding a veto from the governor, supporters said the existing insurance requirements no longer are adequate to cover damages. They were set nearly 25 years ago.

The existing mandatory minimum coverage is the lowest in the nation.

To view other legislative activities of interest for Louisiana in 2008, click here.

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor