The minimum mandatory auto insurance required in Arizona has not risen in 47 years. The minimum required is $15,000 per injury, $25,000 per collision, and $10,000 for property damage. Meanwhile, the average cost for an emergency room visit has increased over 31 percent – and that is just since 2012! In short, auto insurance coverage has not kept up with rising costs of medical bills.
Under the current law, the minimum coverage may not even cover a single trip to the emergency department, let alone the follow-up care that might be required. But, there is hope in sight. A new bill would increase the minimum coverage to $25,000 per injury, and $15,000 for property damage.
This is not the first time this bill has been introduced in Arizona. Year after year the bill is introduced, and year after year it is voted down. This means Arizona drivers carrying the State minimum coverage are insured as much as they were nearly half a century ago!
Regardless of what happens with this bill, it is important to protect yourself. While many people believe they are carrying “full coverage,” they are not actually providing much protection to themselves. For example, full coverage does not provide underinsured motorist coverage – the type of coverage that protects you if your injuries exceed the insurance limits of the person who hit you.
Underinsured and uninsured motorist coverages protect you in case a driver who does not have insurance, or does not have enough insurance, hits you. Assume for a moment that a driver with state minimum coverage hits you. You have serious injuries and $20,000 of medical bills. The driver’s insurance company only needs to pay you $15,000. You can then go to your policy and collect from your underinsured motorist coverage. Your rates will not go up because you were not at fault for the collision! You should carry the same amount of underinsured and uninsured coverage as you have for bodily injury. Protect yourself as much as you protect others on the road.
There is another type of coverage called Medical Payments, often referred to as MedPay. MedPay coverage provides you with money to pay your medical bills after a collision. Most MedPay policies offer $3,000 - $10,000 in coverage. You can use MedPay to pay for any collision-related medical bill – including any co-pays for doctors, physical therapist, hospitals, etc. MedPay usually costs only a few dollars a month. Protect yourself. Increase your insurance coverage for a few dollars a month. Ask your insurance agent how much it would be to have $100k/$300k coverage, or $250k/$500k coverage. Ask how much it will cost to add $5,000 or $10,000 of Medical Payments. You’ll be surprised at how affordable it is.