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Insurance Laws Changed 

  If you think insurance coverage is already complex, you probably don't want to hear about all the new changes that went into effect on Jan. 1 for automobile rates, hurricane deductibles, home service contracts and fire policies.

  The most noticeable change may be the one that has you paying higher rates for auto insurance. Effective immediately, Louisiana automobile insurance carriers are raising the minimum liability limit requirements, which in turn are expected to cause a spike in current premium rates. Bayou State residents already pay some of the highest premiums in the nation. The minimum coverage for bodily injury liability to one person as well as property damage liability will increase from $10,000 each to $15,000 and $25,000, respectively.

  While some expect the rate increase to be in the 20 percent range, Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon says it'll probably stay a bit lower. "I would not be surprised to see it go to 15 percent," he said in a news release.

  Another new law requires a working example of how hurricane deductibles are applied. Carriers must also now disclose whether a separate deductible is required for hurricane, wind or named-storm damage and, if so, one standardized example of how such a separate deductible would be applied under the policy. — Jeremy Alford

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