Wyoming Representatives Reject Bill to Raise Vehicle Liability Coverage Limits

February 12, 2009

The Wyoming House of Representatives has defeated a bill that would have increased the financial minimum limits on personal automobile liability coverage.

If it had passed, HB 168, the Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Bill, would have raised the minimum limits from $25,000 for bodily injury of death for one person to $50,000, raised the limits from $50,000 to $100,000 for bodily injury or death of two or more persons in any one accident, and raised the limits from $20,000 to $25,000 for injury to or destruction of property of others in any one accident. Additionally, the bill would have mandated uninsured and underinsured coverage at the proposed financial minimums, prohibiting it from being supplemental coverage.

The American Insurance Association considered the bill’s defeat a “victory” for consumers. “It’s unnecessary to mandate higher minimums as long as people may purchase higher limits on their policies if they wish, rather than being forced to do so,” said John Marlow, AIA assistant vice president of state affairs.

According to AIA, Wyoming’s existing limits are satisfactory to cover typical liability exposures. ISO Fast Track Data for 2007 shows that private passenger auto liability paid claim severity averages in Wyoming were $14,851 for bodily injury liability and $2,877 for property damage liability — well below the current financial minimum coverage required by law, the association noted in a statement.

“This bill would have negatively impacted the most economically vulnerable drivers who are trying to meet the state’s current legal requirements for auto insurance coverage,” Marlow said. “Consequently, this legislation would have inadvertently pushed more drivers into the ranks of the uninsured.”

Sources: AIA, Wyoming Legislature

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