If you live in Maryland State and you have been convicted twice for alcohol-related offenses, expect your auto insurance rates to become higher if a bill sponsored by Republican Del. Tanya Thornton Shewell becomes a law.
House Bill 526 would increase personal liability insurance in order to beef-up the minimum amount of coverage for claims involving destruction of property or damage, and/or bodily injury or death arising from car accidents involving drunken drivers. Thus, those who would be mandated to secure this are those motorists who were convicted of, or were granted probation, for previous alcohol-associated mishaps.
The bill is being debated by the House Economic Matters Committee. Part of the proposed law requires the minimum liability insurance to be $100,000 for any one person injured by said drivers. If there are two or more persons, the coverage would be up to $300,000. Another $100,000 is also assured for damages to property. The insurer would then have to do a background check of a consumer’s driving history to see if he/she must abide by this rule.
As of the moment, the minimum personal liability in Maryland is $20,000 for personal liability insurance if one person got injured or was killed. Only $40,000 would be the liability for injuries involving two or more persons and only $15,000 are allotted for property damage.
According to Shewell, the intent of the proposed law is to guarantee that “there’s more personal liability insurance available” for motorists who were injured because of drunk drivers. She also added that the bill may provide a deterrent to what she refers to as “impaired driving.” As to concerns regarding higher premiums, she implied that the move would not affect any driver from getting auto insurance, but it would simply cost “a little bit more.”
Shewell is expecting that the Maryland Automobile Insurance Fund (MAIF) would support the bill. MAIF, an independent state agency of the State of Maryland, was created with the goal of providing automobile liability insurance for state residents who cannot afford by those offered by private insurers. She said that the agency may be able to provide funds if the proposed law finally takes effect. Among those who are also expected to back-up said bill is the Carrol County State’s Attorney.
In a study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA), about 40 percent of total traffic deaths were alcohol related collisions. In 2006 alone, it is estimated that 17,941 people died because of drunken-related driving in the U.S.