Utah Considers Changes to Motor Vehicle Insurance Coverage, Liability

Utah state Sen. Stephen Urquhart is hoping to change the law on motor vehicle coverage by proposing three bills that would affect uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage, liability and arbitration for accident claims.

Senate Bill 70, would modify the current Uniform Driver License Act by changing provisions relating to the liability limits imposed for damages caused by a minor operating a motor vehicle. If the owner of a vehicle permits a minor younger than 18 years old to drive a vehicle and that minor causes an accident, both the owner of the vehicle and the minor can be held jointly and severally liable for any damages caused by the negligence of the minor while driving the vehicle.

However, Urquhart is proposing that the owners’ liability should be limited to the amount of liability insurance the owner has purchased if a crash involves the injury or death of one person. And if the crash involves injury or death of more than one person, then he suggests liability would be limited to $100,000, according to bill text. Under state law, Urquhart said potential liability is unlimited.

This bill passed in the Senate and is waiting for the governor’s signature.

Senate Bill 105, which is also waiting for the governor’s signature, would modify the Insurance Code by amending provisions relating to the use of arbitration for certain motor vehicle accident claims, increasing the arbitration award limit an injured person can get from an insurance company to $50,000 from the current $25,000.

Senate Bill 62 would require insurance companies that provide uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage to a driver provide a written response to a covered driver’s demand for compensation “within a reasonable amount of time” and the company should “immediately” pay the amount of the driver’s demand, or the insurance company’s demand, according to the bill text. If a carrier does not pay the full amount of the driver’s demand for compensation, then the driver may litigate or arbitrate the remaining claim.

The Senate passed this bill and it was sent to the House.