How to Protect Yourself from Uninsured or Underinsured Nevada Motorists

The Insurance Research Council (IRC) has found that over 12% of Nevada drivers are uninsured. Accordingly, it is important to protect yourself and your family when driving in the state. It is vital to understand and consider what can happen to you or someone you care about if injuries result from an accident with an uninsured motorist. This is because even if the at-fault party may not have any or enough insurance coverage, it is possible to examine each and every insurance policy that is at issue to determine whether or not coverage exists and if it can be stacked (or accumulated).

Nevada Insurance Law

The state of Nevada mandates that each individual operating a vehicle in the state must carry a minimum liability insurance policy. A minimum auto insurance policy covers up to $15,000 for the bodily injury or death of an individual in any one accident. Beyond this, the minimum policy must cover up to $30,000 for bodily injury or death of two or more people in any one accident. (These limits are increasing to $25,000 and $50,000, respectively, come July 2018.) This also includes coverage of $10,000 for the injury to, or destruction of, the property of another resulting from an accident. (This minimum is increasing to $25,000.) Generally, this minimum coverage is often referred to as 15/30/10.

Uninsured Motorists

Typically, when a car accident happens, the at-fault party’s car insurance coverage will pay for the medical bills and/or property damage suffered by the victim. Once liability coverage has been exhausted, the injured victim may be held financially responsible for any and all outstanding property damage and/or medical bills. Moreover, if a Nevada car accident happens involving an uninsured motorist, the victim may be held financially responsible for the entirety of property damage and medical bill costs. To avoid this unfortunate scenario, we always recommend that drivers purchase uninsured motorist (UM) and underinsured motorist (UIM) auto insurance coverage.

These two types of coverage offer different, but equally important benefits. UM coverage will take care of expenses caused by an accident with another driver who does not have car insurance at all. UIM, on the other hand, covers the remainder of the costs and expenses of property damage and injuries after the at-fault driver’s liability insurance coverage has been exhausted. The state of Nevada requires insurers offer UM and UIM coverage equal to the limits of coverage of bodily injury. Additionally, UIM coverage encompasses UM coverage.

Insurance Stacking

Even if you have UM/UIM coverage, a severe car accident may result in property damage and medical bills that are beyond the limits in the policy. The state of Nevada allows individuals to “stack” UM/UIM coverage, authorizing accident victims to collect from more than one insurance policy. In other words, if a person has more than one vehicle with UM/UIM coverage each policy can be “stacked” to cover medical bills and property damage resulting from the car accident. Nevada also allows individuals to stack insurance coverage across different policies. Other states  allow UM/UIM coverage only if the amount of coverage purchased exceeds the amount of coverage of the at-fault driver (so if you have $25,000 in UIM, and the at-fault driver has $25,000 in liability coverage, your UIM will not be available no matter what your damages are).

Personal Injury Help in Nevada

If you or someone you know has been hurt in a Nevada car accident, contact the personal injury lawyers at Parry & Pfau to learn about your options under the law for seeking monetary compensation for injuries suffered.

(image courtesy of Steve Halama)