In Nevada, as in every state, car insurance is sure to play a big part in any claim brought after a traffic accident. Read on for the details of Nevada's auto insurance rules and how coverage is likely to affect a car accident case.
Nevada follows a traditional "fault" system when it comes to financial responsibility for losses stemming from a car accident: injuries, lost income, vehicle damage, and so on. This means that the person who was at fault for causing the car accident is also responsible for any resulting harm (from a practical standpoint, the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier will absorb these losses, up to policy limits).
In Nevada, a person who suffers any kind of injury or damage due to an auto accident usually can proceed in one of three ways:
Note: In no-fault car insurance states, a claimant doesn't usually have this same range of options. After a car accident in a no-fault state, you must turn to the personal injury protection coverage of your own car insurance policy for payment of medical bills and other out-of-pocket losses, regardless of who caused the crash. Only if your injuries reach a certain threshold can you step outside of no-fault and make a claim directly against the at-fault driver. But Nevada drivers don't need to worry about no-fault after an in-state accident.
Nevada requires vehicle owners to carry liability auto insurance that meets at least the following minimums:
So, what is liability coverage? It pays the medical bills, property damage bills, and other costs of drivers, passengers, and pedestrians who are injured or have their vehicle damaged in a car accident you cause, up to coverage limits. You can (and in some situations should) carry more coverage to protect you in case a serious crash results in significant car accident injuries and vehicle damage. Once policy limits are exhausted, you are personally on the financial hook, so higher insurance limits can help protect your personal assets in the event of a serious crash.
Your liability coverage will kick in if any family member is driving your vehicle, or if you've given someone else permission to use it. It will likely also cover you if you get into an accident in a rental car.
Remember that liability coverage doesn't apply to your own injuries or vehicle damage after a Nevada car accident. You'll need different (additional) coverage for that if you're involved in a car accident and no one else's coverage applies to your losses.
For example, collision coverage (optional in Nevada, though might be required under the terms of a vehicle lease or financing agreement) can pay for repairs to (or replacement of) your damaged vehicle after a car accident.
Uninsured Motorist Coverage Optional in Nevada
Uninsured motorist (UM) coverage is not required in Nevada, but it can protect you and your passengers if the at-fault driver has no insurance, or if you're the victim of a hit and run. Keep in mind that UM does not cover vehicle damage after an accident.
According to the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles, the state has no "grace period" when it comes to lapses in car insurance coverage. Even a one-day lapse in coverage could result in a possible suspension of your registration, plus a minimum $251 reinstatement fee. Beyond that, Nevada follows a tiered system when it comes to fees and fines for driving without insurance, depending on:
Check the Nevada DMV insurance lapse penalties chart for the details.
Keep in mind that fines and other administrative penalties will likely pale in comparison to the financial hit you could take if you're in a car accident and you don't have car insurance.