Drivers currently carrying minimum coverage would see premium increases ranging from about 3 percent to 11 percent, depending on their age, sex and driving record, if the mandatory minimum coverages are increased, Riley said.
Lobbyists for the West Virginia Association for Justice, the trial lawyers' association, are advocating for increasing minimum coverage.
They contend the 1979 minimums are outdated, noting that $20,000 of medical costs in 1979 would now total more than $122,000. Similarly, they note that $10,000 would cover the replacement cost for most cars in 1979, when the average cost of a new car was $6,847, but note the average cost for a new car today is more than $30,000.
Sen. Chris Walters, R-Putnam, asked if higher minimum coverage would result in lower rates for drivers who carry additional coverage to protect themselves against uninsured and underinsured drivers.
"It should be a cost savings for a majority of West Virginians," he said.
Riley said there are an average of 6,500 automobile accident claims a year in the state involving uninsured or underinsured drivers.
Reach Phil Kabler at ph...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1220.