Home to stunningly scenic desert landscapes, Lake Tahoe, the Hoover Dam, and of course the amazing city of Las Vegas, with all its casinos, resorts, and world-class dining, Nevada has it all. However, that includes having some of the highest auto insurance rates anywhere in the country, especially if you have a poor driving record.
Buying insurance can be a complicated process, and it’s often difficult to separate the marketing hype from the important details. That’s where we come in. SmartFinancial delivers carrier-neutral car insurance information to help you find the right coverage at the best price.
With so many insurance companies out there, how do you know where to begin your research? We suggest starting with the top three auto insurance companies in Nevada and the Southwest region of the U.S. to make your search a little easier (see the full list).
Before settling on an insurance carrier, consider their total number of rejected claims, rates, and customer satisfaction scores. Also, look for offers of relevant discounts to lower your premiums.
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Even if you’re a careful driver who sticks to the speed limit, proceeds defensively, and follows all the safety rules and recommendations, that doesn’t mean you’re immune to accidents. Other drivers pose a threat every time you’re on the road. For this reason, it makes sense to have comprehensive insurance coverage to protect yourself financially in the event of an accident. Remember, insurance isn’t just an expense—it’s an investment.
Nevada Driving Safety
Driving safely in Nevada requires an awareness of changing weather conditions. Rain, winter hazards, and high winds all pose unique challenges. Additionally, it’s important that you remain focused on the road at all times; distracted driving is a leading cause of traffic crashes in Nevada. That’s one key reason the state passed legislation making it illegal to talk or text on a handheld phone while driving.
Below are some important state driving safety statistics. Visit the Nevada Department of Public Safety’s Office of Traffic Safety for more about this topic.
Making the switch to an eco-friendly car benefits the environment and your wallet. In addition to insurance savings and federal tax credits and discounts, Nevada offers motorists a variety of incentives to do their share to help protect the environment. Some of these incentives are listed below.
In Nevada, certain environmentally friendly vehicles qualify for exemption from smog and emissions testing. These include alternative fuel vehicles and new hybrid electric vehicles (for 5 years). Some diesel vehicles are also exempt. Please refer to Nevada’s Emissions Control Program website for more information.
Owners of alternative fuel vehicles can park in metered parking spaces for free in Nevada. Each municipality is required by law to establish a program allowing free parking for AFV drivers who place an official AFV decal on their vehicle.
Hybrid electric vehicles used as taxis can exceed by 24 months the normal limit on how long a cab can remain in operation. The total amount of time allowed differs for new and used vehicles. Please refer to Nevada Revised Statutes 706.8834 for more information.
Nevada requires motorists to carry a minimum of $15,000 for bodily injury or death of one person and $30,000 for bodily injury or death of two or more persons in any one accident. Drivers must also carry $10,000 to cover property damage of others in any one accident.
The state’s Nevada LIVE program helps ensure all motorists are insured by validating coverage on every registered vehicle on a continual basis. Nevada LIVE only applies to the required liability insurance; collision, comprehensive, and other types of coverage are not reported to the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles.
Minimum coverage amount for serious or permanent injury or death to a single person
Minimum requirement to cover two or more persons hurt or killed in an accident
Coverage for all damaged property in an accident caused by you
Nevada may require a lower level of coverage than some other states, but it’s risky to only opt for the minimum required by law. Not only does more insurance mean greater financial protection, but most lenders require full coverage and/or a variety of optional coverages before providing financing. Consider this when calculating the cost of your car loan.
Adding optional coverages to your auto insurance policy can provide additional financial protection and peace of mind. Some exclusions will apply.
Get some helpful buying insights from our post 10 Things to Consider when Shopping for a New Auto Insurance Policy.
*This list is based on consumer ratings for the Southwest region from the J.D. Power 2016 U.S. Auto Insurance Study. Five important customer service areas were used in creating the ratings: price, claims, interaction, billing, and policy offerings. USAA auto insurance is only open to U.S. military personnel and their families and is therefore not included in the rankings.
Children younger than 6 years and weighing less than 60 lbs. must ride in an approved child safety restraint system. Children over 6 years must wear a safety belt at all times, and children of all ages are generally safest riding in the back seat of the vehicle and away from areas of airbag deployment.
Failure to properly restrain child passengers can result in fines, community service, and suspension of your driver’s license. Please check manufacturer recommendations regarding weight and height restrictions when selecting a car seat, booster seat, or other child restraint system.
It’s illegal in Nevada for any minor to ride in the back of an open pickup truck or flatbed unless for the purpose of parades, farming, or ranching.
It’s never safe to leave a young child (or pet) in an unattended vehicle. Even on moderate days, the interior temperature of a parked car can increase as much as 30 degrees in as many minutes. In Nevada, leaving a child younger than 7 in a vehicle without proper supervision is a misdemeanor offense.
Nevada also considers leaving a child in any situation where mental or physical harm may take place to be child endangerment. This may apply to leaving a kid unattended in a vehicle.
Most, but not all, auto insurance companies in Nevada use your credit score as one criterion when calculating your eligibility and premium. For those that do, a high or low credit score can significantly reduce or increase your rates, respectively. Diligent comparison shopping is the most effective way to counteract the effects of a low score or maximize the money-saving benefits of a high score.
Good-driver and other car insurance discounts itemized below can help you save big on your monthly insurance premium. Eligibility for these discounts should be a major factor when selecting your carrier.
Yes! As of late 2015, Nevada drivers are permitted to provide digital proof of coverage. Smartphones and other mobile devices are a convenient way to carry proof of insurance. And, if you’re worried about your privacy, the same state legislation that approves digital insurance cards also prohibits law enforcement officers from looking at anything else on your device.
If you experience a lapse in coverage in Nevada, your driver’s license and registration can be suspended. You may also be subject to fines as high as $1,000. The Nevada LIVE system checks your insurance status periodically throughout the year, which means you’re certain to get caught if you drive without insurance.
Individuals cannot legally operate a motor vehicle in Nevada once they reach the following BAC percentages:
.08%+ at 21 years old or older
.04%+ for commercial vehicle drivers
.02%+ at under 21 years old
While the BAC applies only to alcohol, if a detectable level of any illegal substance is found, you’ll receive the same or greater penalties as you would for alcohol.
Nevada’s “implied consent” law states that if you’re lawfully arrested and there’s probable cause that you’ve been driving under the influence, you consent to a chemical test of your blood, breath, or urine. Officers are allowed to use reasonable force to make you take the test.
Refusal of a preliminary breath test, even before arrest, can result in an officer taking your license, arresting you, and transporting you to a police station or hospital for a blood, breath, or urine test.
First-time offenders charged with a DUI in Nevada typically have their license suspended for 90 days and incur a number of fees that can top $200 or go considerably higher depending on certain factors, including whether they are of legal drinking age and whether their BAC was 0.18 or greater. They may apply for a restricted license after 45 days.
With a BAC of 0.18 or more, or at the court’s discretion, first-time offenders may need to have a breath interlock device installed in their vehicle for up to 3 years as well. Additionally, they must attend a Nevada DUI school and may face a short jail sentence or have to fulfill community service requirements. They may also need to attend certain programs or evaluations.
Penalties increase with each subsequent DUI offense.
Driver improvement courses are often referred to as traffic school or defensive driving courses. These classes can be taken as part of a plea agreement, to reduce the number of points on your license, or to reduce your monthly car insurance cost. Nevada traffic school courses are available at select locations, as well through online providers.
Proactive Nevada drivers can take certain steps to pay less each month for auto insurance. Monitoring your credit score and working to maintain a high one or raise it is a useful strategy. So is driving responsibly to keep your driving record clear of points that increase your cost of coverage. Also, comparison shop for the best rates and select a higher deductible in exchange for a lower premium. Ask your representative about discounts for which you may qualify. Don’t become liable for penalties due to lapsed coverage, either.
Nevada allows drivers to reject uninsured motorist coverage in writing. However, the state recommends you carry a minimum of $15,000 per person/$30,000 per accident to cover your medical expenses if you’re involved in an accident with an uninsured driver.
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