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Keeping An Eye On The Virginia State House

In mid-February, we asked readers of our monthly eNewsletter to make their voices heard regarding pending legislation at the Virginia State House that could affect those who are hurt due to no fault of their own. Here is a quick summary of what happened during the most recent legislative session.

What passed?

Senate Bill 1182 passed both the House and the Senate and will become effective January 1, 2022. Initially, we told you that Senate Bill 1182 proposed to raise the minimum auto insurance requirements from $25,000 per person to $50,000 per person. The version of the bill that passed increases the minimum auto insurance requirements in 2 phases. First, for all policies issued on or after January 1, 2022, the minimum requirements will change from $25,000 per person to $30,000 per person. Second, on or after January 1, 2025, minimum auto insurance requirements will increase to $50,000 per person for all policies. This is the first time the minimum auto insurance requirements have been raised since 1975 and is a crucial step to help protect people injured in motor vehicles.

Beginning July 1, 2021, Virginia’s General District Court limits will increase from $25,000 to $50,000 for cases that do not involve “any claim to specific personal property or to any debt, fine or other money, or to damages for breach of contract or for injury done to property, real or personal.” This means that personal injury cases can now be filed in General District Court for up to $50,000.00. For more information on the benefits of this, click here.

What didn’t pass?

We told you about Senate Bill 1195, which would stop underinsured motorist (UIM) setoffs and force UIM insurers to pay the total amount of UIM coverage to their insured. However, this bill passed the Senate but did not get through the Labor and Commerce Committee in the House. The Labor and Commerce Committee called for a study of the uninsured motorist insurance system in Virginia, and this bill was struck to allow time for that study.

Unfortunately, Senate Bill 1202, an Uninsured/Underinsured (UM/UIM) Bad Faith bill, did not pass out of the Labor and Commerce committee. As the law stands, Insurance carriers are still not accountable for acting in bad faith when negotiating settlements with their own insured for Underinsured or Uninsured Motorist Coverage. When an insurance carrier is not required to act in good faith when trying to settle cases with their insured for Uninsured/Underinsured coverage, the insured is then required to incur significant costs when going forward to trial to receive the insurance benefits to which they are entitled. For more information on the significance of this, click here.

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