A new law in Nevada going into effect on July 1 raises mandatory minimum requirements for auto insurance coverage. Previously, Nevada only required minimum insurance policy limits of $15,000 for the bodily injury (or death) of a single person, $30,000 for the bodily injury (or death) of two or more persons, and $10,000 for property damage. The new limits will be set to $25,000, $50,000 and $20,000, respectively.
The prior minimums had been set in law in 1958, when $15,000 could get you a cheap house, and hadn’t been changed since. The existing minimums likely wouldn’t cover someone who got into an accident with a culpable driver who carried the minimum insurance coverage. Because it’s so low as to likely not cover most accident expenses, 82 percent of Nevada drivers already carry auto insurance that goes beyond the minimums.
With minimums going up, it means that the need for add-on uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage will be reduced. More important for the healthcare industry—to say nothing of your tax bill—as fewer people are out there underinsured, the less taxpayers are on the hook for emergency care that injured motorists are required to receive even if they’re uninsured or underinsured (for which the public ponies up).
In Nevada, insurance claims are handled under a tort system, where the victim of an accident can file a claim against the at-fault party—including money to cover medical bills, lost wages and damages—up to the applicable insurance policy limits. That isn’t going away under the new system, but because limits are bumping up, it may mean a reduction in the need of victims to seek additional damages beyond insurance policies.
The end result should be a system that allows auto accident victims to be up and on their feet, back at work and back on the road in shorter order.