There is some confusion about whether uninsured motorist coverage (called “UM”) is required in Nevada. If you read five different sources, you might get five different answers. So what is the truth: do you need to buy this insurance or not?
The truth is this: according to Nevada Revised Statute 687B.145(2), insurers must offer uninsured motorist coverage, but a driver absolutely does not need to accept the coverage. Some people who write about Nevada insurance law interpret this to mean that uninsured motorist coverage is “required,” when it is in fact optional.
Why You Should Nevertheless Still Get Uninsured Motorist Coverage
Of course, you absolutely should purchase uninsured motorist coverage even if it is not required. For one thing, you might need it. According to different estimates, around 10% of drivers have no insurance in Nevada.
What often happens is this: a driver refuses to buy uninsured motorist coverage to save a few bucks on their premiums, but then they get struck by a driver who has no insurance. Now, suddenly, the driver wants to have uninsured motorist coverage because they otherwise have no way to pay to fix their car, pay their medical bills, and replace their lost wages.
Check with your insurance agent to determine the cost of UM coverage. Chances are that your premiums will not increase that dramatically, and you can enjoy the peace of mind knowing that you are covered.
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Uninsured motorist coverage pays for medical bills, lost wages, and other losses if the driver who struck you does not carry insurance. UM coverage also applies if you are injured by a driver who has insurance but does not have enough. In other words, your uninsured motorist insurance is combined with underinsured motorist coverage into one UM policy.
Here is a hypothetical to show how UM coverage works: Sally is involved in a devastating accident when a motorist slams into her as she waits at an intersection. Sally’s medical bills total $80,000 and she misses a year of work because of a bad brain injury. Her lost wages also total $40,000, and her car needs to be replaced, costing another $30,000. In total, Sally has suffered $150,000 in economic damages from this accident.
The driver who struck Sally had the minimum liability insurance required by Nevada, only $25,000 in bodily injury liability coverage and $20,000 in property damage. Even if the policy pays out to its limit, Sally still has $10,000 in property damage and $95,000 in bodily injury damages.
Fortunately, Sally has a UM policy with $100,000 in bodily injury liability and $20,000 in property damage. Because of this, she can receive full compensation for her economic losses.
Insurers must offer UM coverage in the amount equal to the bodily injury liability and property damage coverage that you purchase. If they don’t, then a court will imply they offered you this coverage, meaning you will be covered. This is basically punishment for the insurance company not following the law and offering you a UM policy.
If you decline UM coverage, you must do so in writing. Nevada courts are sticklers and want to see that you follow the proper steps to decline coverage.
After an accident, you must report the accident to your insurance company. Some insurers might not want to pay out compensation, in which case you should get a Nevada underinsured/uninsured coverage lawyer in your corner. You might need to sue your UM insurer to pay benefits under your policy.
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