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Driving Auto Insurance Reform in WI

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April 6, 2009

Madison, WI - Health care costs have skyrocketed since 1982. So have the costs of repairing a car damaged in an accident. But the minimum coverage required for Wisconsin liability insurance has remained unchanged for a quarter century. Citizen Action of Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Association for Justice say it's time to increase the current coverage, which is only $25,000 per individual, $50,000 per incident and $1,000 for medical expenses.

Robert Kraig of Citizen Action says the higher liability limit proposed by Gov. Jim Doyle in his budget - $100,000 per individual, $300,000 per incident and $10,000 for medical expenses - is much more realistic.

"People pay a lot for their auto insurance and then are shocked to find out later, when they are in an accident, that they don't have enough liability coverage and they're not fully protected."

The insurance industry says higher limits will mean higher bills, but Kraig says the consumer ends up losing when their insurance doesn't come close to covering the cost of an accident.

"Going back to 1982, it's at least a 250 percent to 300 percent increase simply in medical costs, let alone all of the other costs."

Kraig supports the budget item proposed by the governor, which would institute more realistic minimums for liability coverage.

"It updates those minimums so that anyone buying auto insurance gets enough coverage to cover their liability, in most cases."

The Wisconsin Association for Justice, the largest voluntary statewide Bar organization in the state, also supports the measure.

Glen Gardner, Public News Service - WI