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New laws hike liability insurance required for car owners and landlords

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New laws hike liability insurance required for car owners and landlords

Aug 05, 2022 | 4:34 pm ET
By Dana DiFilippo
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New laws hike liability insurance required for car owners and landlords
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Supporters say the laws are meant to protect motorists, renters, and others from the potentially catastrophic costs of accidents. (Photo by New Jersey Monitor)

Insurance costs will likely rise for car owners, landlords, and business owners under several bills Gov. Phil Murphy signed into law Friday.

The bills’ sponsors say they are meant to protect motorists, renters, and others from the potentially catastrophic costs of accidents.

But critics — Republicans as well as those in the insurance industry — have voiced concerns about how the measures might impact affordability at a time when inflation has spiked and state lawmakers have been brainstorming ways to offset rising costs for consumers.

The three insurance bills Murphy signed into law will:

  • Increase the minimum amounts of liability and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage that car insurance policies must have from $15,000 to between $25,000 and $70,000, depending on when a motorist renews their policy. This law takes effect immediately.
  • Require business owners and landlords to carry liability insurance for $500,000 (or $300,000, for small multi-family rental properties that are owner-occupied) for death or bodily injury that occurs at a rental property. This law is set to take effect in 90 days.
  • Require certain insurers to disclose policy limits upon request by an attorney under certain circumstances. This law is set to take effect in 60 days.

Senate President Nicholas Scutari (D-Union) was a prime sponsor on all three bills, while Sen. Jon Bramnick (R- Union) was a prime sponsor on two. Both work as personal injury attorneys, raising concerns from critics who suggested the bills were a conflict of interest. Both senators denied those claims.