The Mississippi Legislature is considering raising automobile liability limits which could increase insurance premiums in the state. The Mississippi House and Senate each passed legislation on Thursday that for the first time since 1972 increased the minimum coverage required. Both versions differ slightly.
“It’s just woefully inadequate what we have now,” Rep. Gary Chism, R-Columbus, an insurance agent told the Clarion-Ledger. “Most reputable insurance agents in this state would not sell it.”
Current law requires drivers to have $10,000 for bodily injury, $20,000 for personal injury and $5,000 for property damage.
Both the House and Senate propose $25,000 for bodily injury and $50,000 for personal injury. House Bill 722 suggests $25,000 for property damage, compared to $20,000 in Senate Bill 2328.
The House bill was held for reconsideration, while the Senate version will be sent to the House.
“I just want to make sure if people are involved in an accident, they can replace what they have,” said Sen. Hillman Frazier, D-Jackson, who supported the bill.
The Senate bill was amended to apply only to policies issued after the bill takes effect.
For Mississippians who would need to increase their policies, rates would likely rise.
Chism said rates would increase 12 to 25 percent depending on the insurance carrier and driving record.
Raising insurance minimums only makes more money for agents and lawyers, said Rep. Jack Gadd, D-Hickory Flat.
“Most of the folks in my district have vehicles that don’t cost that much,” Gadd said. “My truck costs $2,300.”
Most Mississippians have higher coverage than the limits proposed, said Insurance Commissioner George Dale. Statistics were not available. “The current limits are too low,” he said.