Car accidents can be expensive. In fact, a single collision can set you back tens of thousands of dollars, especially if medical bills are involved. Obviously, not too many drivers can pay out of their pocket for unplanned accidental expenses like that. But whether you can afford it or not, if you’re responsible for an accident, you’ll have to pay to get the other driver (and yourself) back to pre-accident condition.
That’s where auto insurance comes in. Auto insurance is designed to cover most, if not all of the expenses that result from an accident. Auto insurance covers you up to the limits you choose, ensuring that a collision or any accident doesn’t financially devastate you. Auto insurance also ensures that the victim of a car accident receives fair compensation.
There are several different layers and parts to auto insurance coverage, and knowing what types of coverage you should have and how much of it you need, is important for protecting yourself and your assets.
Nevada drivers must carry: This is MINIMUM Coverage
♦ $25,000 of bodily injury coverage per person
♦ $50,000 of bodily injury per accident
♦ $20,000 of property damage coverage
If you have a car payment to make each month, chances are your lender is going to make you get “Comprehensive and Collision” coverage. Because the minimums discussed in the above paragraph, (liability 25/50/20) cover the other guy, not you. Comprehensive and Collision Insurance covers your car.
Like most states, Nevada requires that its drivers have liability insurance. You may have noticed that Nevada’s minimum limits are expressed as three numbers: 25/50/20. These numbers are expressed in thousands, and reflect how much your insurance will cover in the event of a covered accident.
♦ If you are responsible for an accident that caused bodily injury to someone else, your liability insurance will cover up to $25,000 of their medical expenses
♦ If two or more people are injured in an accident that you were responsible for, your insurance would cover up to $50,000 of their total medical expenses
♦ If you damage someone’s vehicle or personal property in a collision, up to $20,000 of damages would be covered by your insurance
This 2013 Mercedes E350 may have been worth around $30,000 before it was totaled. If you were the person responsible for this accident, would your $20,000 (the part of the liability coverage that covers property damage) be enough to pay for the repairs? You know the answer is no. That is just common sense. No way $20,000 will cover this accident. If the other driver does not have “underinsured motorist” on his policy, (because uninsured and underinsured insurance coverage is NOT required in Nevada) and your policy only has $20,000 property damage coverage, where will the other $10,000 come from? YOU! You will most likely be taken to court. You will get sued.
We recommend you speak to an agent that can assess your financial risks, and insure you have enough to cover your assets in case you are taken to court. Because…what happens if you not only “total” the other persons car, but they are also injured? What if they end up in the hospital with a $200,000 hospital bill? How will your $25,000 bodily injury payment cover that? They may have health insurance, but what if they don’t? You most likely will get sued. These are risks you take every time you drive underinsured.
For over 15 years Shelly Rogers was a Cardiac Registered Nurse helping people pre and post cardiac surgery. For 5 years she was a licensed insurance agent working for Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield where she was a top producing agent in the nation in 2011, 2012 and 2013 for Individual and Family Health Insurance sales. She is the President of Nevada Insurance Enrollment, owner of Farmers Insurance (Shelly Rogers Agency), and a Member of NAHU (National Association of Health Underwriters), Nevada Chapter.
Liability Insurance covers damages to the other driver if you’re at fault for a collision. 25/50/20 is the Nevada State minimum.
Bodily Injury Insurance is the “25/50” the first 2 numbers of the 25/50/20 are the Bodily Injury numbers. This means up to $25,000 for the other person you hit for their medical bills and up to $50,000 total for all passengers in their car for medical bills. This is part of liability coverage.
Property Damage Insurance is the “20” the last number of the 25/50/20 is the Property Damage which covers the other person’s property. This could be their car, a brick wall, a park bench, anything you hit that is your fault. This is property damage liability coverage. Using this example, your policy would cover up to $20,000 for the other person’s property you are at fault for damaging.
Collision Insurance covers damage to your vehicle if you are responsible for an accident.
Comprehensive Insurance pays for damage to your vehicle that isn’t related to an accident, like theft, vandalism and natural disasters, etc.
Uninsured/Underinsured Insurance covers damage to your vehicle if you’re hit by someone that doesn’t have insurance or enough insurance. Also covers your pain and suffering and lost time at work if the other party did not have enough insurance to cover your bills. It offsets the other guys “at fault” lack of enough liability coverage, up to the amount on your policy.
Medical Payments Insurance only covers medical bills. It is insurance coverage for reasonable costs for necessary medical services due to bodily injury, usually covering you and your passengers, regardless of who’s at fault.
If you as the driver are “at fault” – you are the liable driver. You cannot be liable to yourself. So your injuries would be covered under medical payments.
Your passengers, however, were not driving, so they are not liable. They could potentially be compensated under your liability.
Many drivers stick with minimum coverage. If you’re on a budget and you’re on the lookout for ways to bring down monthly expenses, then it may seem like it makes sense to pay as little for insurance as possible. After all, you’re a safe driver and you’ve never been in an accident, or maybe it’s been years since your last accident; you may think to yourself, why would you pay for additional coverage when you’re probably not going to use it?
Because accidents happen, that’s why. And even if you may not technically be the one that caused a collision, you could be held financially responsible. For example, if you’re driving behind someone and you rear-end them when they slam on their brakes to avoid hitting a squirrel, you’re going to be considered the “at-fault driver.” Is it your fault? Not really. But unless you can work something out with the squirrel, you can expect to foot the bill for damages.
It’s generally a good idea to carry as much coverage as you can afford, especially if you have a home or other assets that you’d really like to hang on to.
Auto insurance is not the place to cut corners; saving a few dollars each month could end up costing tens of thousands of dollars (or more) later if you get into an accident and have insufficient coverage.
American’s like to $ue. Plain and simple. The more assets you have, the more tempting it is to become the target of a lawsuit if you are found “at fault” in an accident. Whether you were driving, or a family member that is on your auto policy was driving. It’s still your policy.
How much is your home worth? Your car? Your checking/savings accounts? Money Market accounts, CD’s, Stocks, Bonds, your future wages, personal property (like jewelry), 2nd homes, primary residences. These and other assets all could be looked at if your liability insurance isn’t enough to cover a judgement. A good rule of thumb: have enough liability insurance that covers your total assets.
Your insurance agent can help you decide what coverage you should carry and how much of it you need.
An Umbrella Policy covers above and beyond what your auto liability policy covers. If you have an auto policy liability amount of 100/300/100 for example, and you are sued for $1,000,000; between your auto policy limits of 100/300/100, and perhaps your homeowner’s liability insurance, this still may not be enough to cover the judgement amount.
This is when your assets become the target. If you have an umbrella policy of $1,000,000 or more, using this example, you’d be covered!
Umbrella insurance is very inexpensive, and so worth it!
You probably know that if you’ve had a decent share of accidents or speeding tickets, then you’re going to pay more than someone with a pristine driving record, but what else does your insurance company use to figure out your rate?
Insurance companies use complex algorithms to calculate how much their policy holders will pay. Some other factors that will affect your rate include:
♦ How many claims you’ve made
♦ Your driving record
♦ Your credit score
♦ Your age and gender
♦ The make, model and year of your vehicle
♦ Your occupation
♦ Marital status
♦ Where you live
♦ How long you’ve been a registered driver
When it comes to how an accident affects your rate, it depends on who is responsible for the collision. Legally, your insurance company can’t raise your rate or discontinue your policy as a direct result of you making a claim for an accident that you weren’t responsible for. If you did cause the accident, you may see your rate go up.
Your insurance company uses an algorithm based on an abundance of factors to decide how likely you are to file a claim. If any one of those many factors changes, you may see your rate fluctuate. The best way to keep your rate from increasing is by practicing safe driving habits; drive the speed limit, obey traffic laws and avoid distractions.
♦ Pay your whole 6-month policy up front, if not possible, choose EFT payment method
♦ Avoid Lapses, even 1 day lapse
♦ Bundle your Home and Auto policies together
♦ Have a good credit score, or recheck your rate if your credit score has recently improved
♦ Have no tickets or accidents
♦ Check on the price of auto insurance before buying the car
♦ Speak to your agent annually about changes you’ve made since you last spoke, ask for discounts
♦ Give the VIN to your agent when you are shopping
♦ Tell your agent your education level and occupation/military service
♦ Go paperless billing
♦ Ask for a higher deductible for collision
♦ If you have an older car, consider carrying liability only
♦ Download your insurance company’s distracted driver app
♦ Ask about student discounts if you have a high school or college student
♦ Married drivers pay less (more of a fact than a tip) 🙂
Our friendly, knowledgeable and licensed insurance agents make it EASY to enroll and are available all year long – year after year. We have been helping people find the right insurance coverage and get the most for their money for years. As your insurance agent, we will always be here to answer your calls and your questions.
That’s right, your agent, not a different person every time you call a 1-800 number out of state or out of the country, someone that doesn’t know you or your situation.
We are local and living right here in Las Vegas. If you want an agent that actually cares about you, you’ve come to the right place.