Lawmaker planning changes to car insurance bill after facing opposition

Politics - Government

State lawmakers debated a bill Tuesday that would double the minimum car insurance required, which would mean a massive increase in your bill.

After some major opposition, the bill has now taken a different road.

The bill’s sponsor says many New Mexicans are finding themselves with unpaid bills after being the victim of a crash when the other driver either didn’t have insurance or were under-insured. But some with the insurance industry say his proposal is not the answer. 

“If you double it our concern is people who are already following the law would be paying even more for insurance,” a State Farm lobbyist said. 

Rep. David Gallegos says the minimum coverage for car insurance hasn’t changed since the 1980s. Right now, New Mexico requires drivers to be insured up to $60,000 if they get into a significant crash. 

Rep. Gallegos wanted to double that, but some say this might keep people from getting car insurance altogether, so the talk turned to getting tougher on those drivers. 

“Instead of looking at doubling the amount, if we look at the penalty fees to see if there is something we’d like to amend,” Rep. David Gallegos said. 

Right now, the penalty for not having insurance in New Mexico is $300 and up to 90 days in jail or both. You can also have your license suspended. 

Gallegos did not say how much he would like to increase those fees; he’s working on the amendment. 

Gallegos did say a big problem is people paying for insurance for a month so they can get their car registered at MVD, then canceling it. It’s unclear if his amended bill will offer a solution to that. 

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