Family Who Lost Daughter In Crash Backs Increase In Car Insurance Minimums
Legislators say Ohio's minimum auto insurance requirements are woefully out of date and have not been changed since 1969.
A Licking County family found out first-hand the importance of proper coverage during the darkest moment of their lives.
More than four years after losing his daughter, the holidays still don't mean what they used to for Bill Moats.
“It never feels like Christmas anymore,” said Moats.
Nicole Swigert Moats and two of her friends died on Father's Day 2008 in a crash with a drunk driver.
It’s a loss that is forever a part of the fabric of her family.
“It gets a little better every day and if I live to be 300 years old, I might be okay someday,” added Moats.
After a tragedy like theirs, the grief is a given. What they didn't expect was the financial impact.
“She lived for about four hours and was Life-Flighted to Grant. It was over 8000 (dollars) for the helicopter flight. The Grant medical bill was 60 some thousand dollars,” added Moats.
Almost none of the cost was covered by insurance.
“The driver of the car my daughter was in had state minimum insurance which is 25 and 12,500 (dollars) in the crash and that was to cover all four occupants in the car,” he added.
Had Nicole not turned 18 the week before the crash, her parents would have been responsible for tens of thousands of dollars in bills.
“Nobody needs the financial stuff on top of the loss of a loved one,” said Moats.
That's why the Moats family supported House Bill 278, which raised the state minimum requirements for auto insurance.
The previous liability requirement was $12,500 per injured person and $25,000 per crash. House Bill 278 doubles both.
Moats calls the legislation a start.
It won't prevent the tragedy, he says, but it could ease the financial strain that follows.
"It protects me, it protects you, it protects everybody financially. It doesn't stop the crash,” he said.
A report by the state estimates premiums for those with minimum coverage could increase by $2 to $3 a month.
Gov. John Kasich signed the measure into law last week and the increase will take effect in nine months.
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