We’ve all heard it before: better safe than sorry. This simple phrase is the entire backbone to auto insurance coverage, and when it comes to car accidents, you can never be too safe. One small bump or poor turn can turn even the most minor damage into a large bill.
First Thing’s First: Required Coverage
Unfortunately, goggles won't be enough!
In Nevada, all drivers are required by law to carry liability insurance (this covers the damages to another person or vehicle from an accident that YOU cause). All drivers must carry what’s commonly listed as the “15/30/10” coverage minimum:
Nevada Requires the Following Minimum Auto Insurance Coverage
- $15,000 of bodily injury coverage per person
- $30,000 of bodily injury per accident
- $10,000 of property damage coverage
However, most companies offer higher coverage limits for more protection so make sure to talk with your insurance company about the best plan for you.
Take Caution: Optional Coverage
In addition to the required liability insurance, Nevada offers optional car insurance which can cover costs where no one is at fault or you face costs that are not covered by another’s driver’s insurance.
Examples of optional coverage opportunities
- Collision coverage - Damages caused by accidents)
- Comprehensive coverage - Damages by external factors like weather or theft)
- Towing and labor coverage - Costs associated with towing or roadside assistance)
While these are typically optional, if you are financing or leasing your car, your agreement may require you to purchase collision and comprehensive coverage.
Be Warned: Driving Without Insurance
Driving without insurance can get you in a lot of trouble. This is monitored by the Nevada LIVE system which checks the status of your insurance throughout the year including when you register and renew your vehicle registration. If your insurance cannot be verified by the system, you’ll receive a notification from the NV DMV via a postcard that requires you to respond within a 15 day window to avoid suspension. When you get it, make sure to log on to the NV DMV insurance verification page. Once you input the valid info, you will either be in the clear and receive immediate confirmation OR receive a pending notification that requests records from your insurer. If you fail to respond to the original notification or your insurance company fails to respond to the pending request, you’ll receive a letter suspending your vehicle registration. Womp womp. Even worse, you’ll face a $251 reinstatement fee after your suspension for your first offense (it continues to increase with more offenses so don’t make the same mistake twice!).
Pay the Price: Penalties
We all make mistakes, but sometimes there are consequences.
There are varying degrees of penalties including reinstatement fees, fines, and license suspension. One penalty to note is SR22, which is not insurance but instead a specific form of proof of financial responsibility and insurance over a given period of time. SR22s are required for insurance violations of 91 days or more and other severe offenses like DUIs. In Nevada, the SR22 is required for 3 years- if your SR22 is cancelled, the required 3 year period will begin again. Even if you don’t have the SR22, all Nevada drivers are required to hold proof of insurance in their vehicles at all times. If you’re stopped by a police officer and do not have it, you’ll be given a ticket.
Costs: Insurance Rates
Everyone's rate will be different!
Rates for car insurance also vary depending on your situation. Prices are determined by many factors like your driving record, your age, your car’s make and model, and even your credit report (although in Nevada, a car insurance company must inform you if they use your credit information). The most important factor in determining your rate is definitely your driving record: having violations on your record makes you a greater risk to an insurance company, therefore raising your rates. Examples of violations include DUIs, reckless driving, and speeding. So if you want cheap car insurance, keep a clean record! With a poor record, you also run the risk of being deemed a high-risk driver by automobile insurance companies who then may not elect to insure you. If this becomes the case (let’s hope not), you can apply through the Nevada Automobile Insurance Plan which assigns high-risk drivers to licensed insurance companies.
Finally, in addition to raising rates, insurance companies have the ability to lower them: yay for discounts! Discounts can be given for a variety of reasons including having multiple vehicles, having multiple policies (like car and home for examples), having safety and anti-theft devices, and being a good driver. You can also get special discounts for being over 55 years old or completing driver’s ed as a teen (cough cough @Aceable).
We like to think everyone wants to be a safe driver, but at the end of the day, you never know what can happen out on the road. So play it safe and stay on top of your insurance!