On April 14, 2022, Senate Bill 209 requiring commercial carriers to carry $1 million in underinsured/uninsured (UIM/UM) limits unanimously passed the Delaware Senate. This Act provides additional coverage for passengers of public transportation, specifically buses, taxis, and limousines, matching the coverage that has already been required by law to protect passengers of “Transportation Network Companies”, more familiarly known as ride-share applications.
The Act increases the amount of coverage for bodily injury, death, and property damage required for the Delaware Transportation Authority – the operator of the “DART” buses – to $1 million. The current requirement is for $300,000 of coverage. Additionally, the Act requires the Delaware Transportation Authority, Transportation Network Companies and other public carriers to possess underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage of at least $1 million per incident. This would be a significant departure from what has been the law for public carriers as there currently is no requirement for underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage in any amount for public carriers. While these coverages must be offered by insurance companies, they can be waived and are not mandatory.
Underinsured motorist coverage provides an additional source of recovery for someone injured in a car or bus accident when the at-fault driver does not have sufficient insurance coverage to compensate for the amount of injuries caused by the accident. The related uninsured motorist coverage provides a source of recovery for someone injured in an accident when the at-fault driver is not insured.
Now that Senate Bill 209 has passed the Delaware Senate, it will be heard by the House Economic Development/Banking/Insurance & Commerce Committee. If successful in the House, the Act can be signed by the Governor and become effective as law later this year.