While Nevadans pay significantly lower annual auto insurance premiums compared to the rest of the country, officials in the Silver State are seriously concerned about widespread insurance fraud and the impact it could have on the auto insurance costs its residents may end up paying unless it is brought under control.
According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), the per capita state’s auto theft rate climbed from 26th in the mid ‘90s to the number one spot in 2006. On a slightly positive note, due to the diligence of the Nevada Auto Theft and Insurance Fraud Task Force, Nevada has now dropped to number two.
However, other vehicle crimes in Nevada are on the rise, reports the task force, including auto insurance fraud incidents such as:
- Owner give-ups. In this situation, a car owner abandons or otherwise disposes of their automobile and claims that it has been stolen, leaving the insurer, the commercial lender or the leaser (if it’s a leased vehicle) holding the bag and absorbing the expense. Of course Nevada drivers end up paying through higher premiums. This fraud isn’t limited to Las Vegas. Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles and Phoenix are also reporting skyrocketing “owner give-ups.”
- Reporting a vehicle as stolen, then burning. This crime takes place when an automobile is reported as having been stolen, when in fact the owner of the vehicle burned it and then makes a fraudulent insurance claim to collect. In 2007 alone, crooked Nevadans made more then 140 known phony claims to insurers.
The NICB reports that these crimes have grown into what is now nationally a multi-billion dollar fraud, with auto insurance policyholders paying the bill by increased auto insurance rates.
To fight these crimes, the Nevada Auto Theft and Insurance Fraud Task Force has recommended that the state develop the following:
- Stronger policies and more rigorous prosecution
- A program of more aggressive investigation and better evidence gathering
- A training program to teach first responders how to identify possible fraud when responding to a scene where an auto is or has been burned
Nevada’s mandatory auto insurance requirements
The only auto insurance Nevada law requires you to buy is liability auto insurance coverage. If you own a motor vehicle in Nevada, you are required to carry a minimum of:
- $15,000 – bodily injury (BI), one person
- $30,000 – bodily injury (BI), multiple victims, per accident
- $10,000 – property damage (PD)
What property damage covers
This coverage pays for damages you or members of your family cause (and are liable for) to other people’s property in a crash involving a motor vehicle.
It is important to note however, that with the high costs that can ensure in the case of an auto accident, the minimum BI and PD coverages may not provide you with enough protection. Discuss this with your Nevada auto insurance agent or company, to ensure that your policy protects you in the event of a car crash.
The state of Nevada does not require Nevadan drivers to carry comprehensive and collision auto insurance coverages.
If you financed your vehicle through a commercial lender, or you lease a car, the lender or leaser will more than likely require you to carry comprehensive and collision coverage in order to protect their investment in your auto.
Uninsured (UI)/underinsured (UIM) motorist auto insurance coverage
According to Nevada auto insurance law, drivers are not required to carry UI or UIM auto insurance. State law, however, makes it mandatory for your auto insurer to offer UI/UIM coverage in an amount that is equivalent to your bodily injury liability coverages.
Many Nevada auto insurance companies insurers have begun to offer coverage called uninsured/underinsured motorist property damage coverage (UMPD) as a means of covering your automobile if it sustains damage if you are involved in a car crash and you are found not to be the cause.
Speak with your agent or insurance company to find out if UMPD auto insurance coverage would be a good option for you, as it generally covers costs up to a specific level and also may provide coverage of a portion of your auto insurance deductible.
Average annual cost of auto insurance
The 2011 average annual premium for auto insurance in Nevada is $1300. The national annual average for U.S. auto insurance is $1561.
National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB)
Nevada Division of Insurance
Consumer Services, Northern Nevada
Tel 800-992-0900 x4270
Consumer Services, Southern Nevada
Tel 800-992-0900 x4009