Working families need higher minimum liability limits on auto insurance, not lower

April 28, 2010

I believe that the editorial regarding the increase in the minimum liability limits for automobile insurance policies mischaracterized the issue and missed important points. The editorial paints the issue of raising the minimums as a contest between lawyers and insurance companies. The editorial points to working families as victims of this legislation. However, it is the working families that suffer the greatest devastation from the financial losses of bad automobile accidents. It is the working family that is less likely to have the financial resources such as savings, good health insurance and disability insurance that help cushion the losses from injuries sustained in accidents. As a doctor often treating people injured in accidents, I see first-hand the people that are out of work for extended periods or will never work again due to the negligence of someone else and their struggles to support their families. These injures people often need to file for bankruptcy, leaving other Marylanders to pay their medical expenses and to support them when they can't work. If we want to help MAIF policy holders we need to allow MAIF to offer payment plans to their customers rather than allow loan sharks to finance car insurance.

In addition, the editorial states that to "Raise the cost of driving for the working poor now, and the jobless rolls are only going to expand." However, there are no data offered to support this contention. There is no logical reason to assume that an increase in automobile liability coverage and an increase in rates will cause unemployment. I congratulate the legislature for protecting injured Marylanders and urge the Governor to sign this bill.

Dr. Neil Cohen, Baltimore

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