Auto Limits Raised for First Time Since 1958
Nevadans will require a higher standard of liability car insurance as of July 1, 2018, according to the Nevada Appeal.
Gov. Brian Sandoval signed Senate Bill 308 into law on June 1, 2017, which essentially doubles the current minimum liability coverage in three different categories.
The minimum coverage for bodily injury or death of one person in a crash will rise from $15,000 to $30,000 and the minimum for bodily injury of more than one person will rise from $30,000 to $50,000.
Minimum coverage for property damage in any one crash will rise from $10,000 to $20,000 as well.
The Nevada State Senate voted 16-5 for the bill, with Republican Don Gustavson joining Democrats Mo Denis, Nicole Cannizzaro, Mark Manendo and Kelvin Atkinson in opposition.
Denis told fellow members before the vote while he agrees Nevada’s current minimums don’t match up with the rest of America, he was concerned about the potential impact on his constituents, many of whom are low income. He said he doesn’t have adequate information at this point on how the bill would affect insurance rates.
The currently limits were set in 1958, according to the Public News Service. Proponents of the bill say while Maine has the highest mandatory insurance minimums in the United States, they do not have the highest premiums. Maine does, however, has the lowest uninsured driver rate.
Reno, Nevada personal injury attorney Matt Sharp called the current policy “woefully insufficient.”
“An emergency room and a couple visits to the doctor and you’ve hit $15,000,” Sharp said. “You’re not going to have enough money to repair your car. You don’t have a car, you can’t get to work. So these are real-life issues.”
Sharp says the current system drives up costs for all Nevadans because people who get hurt and aren’t compensated turn to taxpayer-funded emergency care. Many drivers also end up buying costly uninsured motorist coverage.
“The lower people’s limits are, the more likely you will need to use uninsured-motorist coverage,” he explained. “The fact that we have arcane policy limits makes uninsured motorist coverage more expensive.”
A report from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners shows Nevada had the 8th highest average liability premiums as of 2014. A 2012 study by the Insurance Research Council shows 31% of Nevada drivers carry the minimum liability insurance amounts required by law.
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