As anyone who is licensed and insured in Las Vegas, Nevada, can attest, insurance rates have taken a considerable hike in recent years. Also, the state now requires higher minimum liability coverage limits of 25/50/20 versus the previous 15/30/10 limits.
What that means if you’re the at-fault driver in an accident, is that your insurance company will pay up to $25,000 for one person’s injury or death in an accident; up to $50,000 per accident for bodily injury regardless of whether two people or 5 are injured; and $20,000 per accident for property damage.
Why are we seeing the higher required liability coverage limits and such a high rise in insurance rates? There are a number of reasons. First, let’s examine why carrying liability insurance is so important in the first place.
The Importance of Liability Insurance
A single-car accident can become exorbitantly expensive with costs of vehicle damage, medical bills, and other property damage. It usually totals much more than the driver responsible for the accident can afford. This is why Nevada requires drivers to carry at least the minimum liability coverage.
It’s also important to remember that liability only covers injury or damage you caused to the driver or people you hit, or their property. It does not cover you or your vehicle.
Bodily Injury Coverage
If you carry the minimum coverage and cause an accident, the $25,000 for one person may be used to pay hospital bills, funeral and burial expenses, loss of income, pain and suffering, and legal fees if you are being sued.
When you think about medical and hospital bills alone, you can see how that $25,000 is quickly absorbed. Imagine how fast the $50,000 would be spent if you injure four people in the other car and two passengers in your vehicle. That’s the reason carrying a higher limit is so strongly recommended.
Property Damage Coverage
The property damage portion of your liability insurance covers the repair or replacement costs to the other driver’s vehicle or property. Some examples of what would be covered in addition to the vehicle include any personal belongings you damaged, such as personal items in the car as well as a fence or mailbox.
A Look at Why Insurance Rates Went Up in Las Vegas
Las Vegas has seen a phenomenal population increase over the past couple of years thanks to affordable housing, job opportunities, and business possibilities. Las Vegas proper has reached over 649,000, and Clark County is now above the 2 million mark.
This expansion has not been without a serious learning curve. Vehicular accidents have increased substantially across the board. Listed here are some of the most significant factors that contributed to accidents, and as a result, increased rates and liability limits.
Distracted driving tops the list as the cause for most accidents. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released their data for 2015 in which it cited “3,450 people were killed and 391,000 injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers.”
Distracted driving involves any activity that takes the driver’s attention from the road. The use of a cell phone, whether texting, talking, checking email, or looking at a map, is a major culprit in this category. A driver may also be distracted with eating or drinking, looking for a station on the radio, entering information in the navigation system, or talking to other passengers in the car.
NHTSA equates the 5-second loss of time it takes to engage in a text message while traveling at 55 miles per hour to traveling “the length of an entire football field with your eyes closed.”
According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, “nearly 80 percent of drivers expressed significant anger, aggression or road rage behind the wheel at least once in the previous year.” That’s a significant number of drivers who, at any one time, contribute to the increase in automobile accidents.
Aggressive driving can take many forms. It may include tailgating, cutting someone off and slowing down, running red lights, weaving in and out of traffic, flashing your lights or brakes, or blocking other drivers from passing.
Driving aggressively can also be a precursor to a road rage situation. Drivers who exhibit road rage may curse or exhibit obscene gestures toward other drivers, force a driver off the road, throw objects, ram, or sideswipe another driver.
Vehicle-Involved Accident with a Pedestrian
With so many more people on foot and on the roadways in Las Vegas and Clark County, there’s a danger they may collide. That’s exactly what’s been happening in record numbers. The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that 78 people were struck and killed on Clark County roadways in 2017.
Nevada law requires that owners of a vehicle carry liability coverage in order to protect people or property they may damage or harm. Unfortunately, not everyone follows this law. Attorney Bob Massi, Las Vegas Fox 5 contributor, discussed the ongoing problem with uninsured motorists on their newscast. He mentioned that one of the reasons for the increase in insurance rates is the ongoing problem with uninsured motorists. He also stated that during his days as a temp judge in traffic court he witnessed 70 to 80% of motorists on the road did not have insurance. As he put it, those who do the right thing and comply with the law end up carrying the weight of others.
If you live in a zip code that has a high incidence of traffic accidents, you have also most likely seen a significant increase in your rates. These areas are considered high risk.
Las Vegas Is a 24/7 City
Las Vegas never closes, and what that means traffic-wise is that there are always people on the streets at any time of the day or night. In addition to an increased number of residents, Las Vegas also hosts approximately 32 million tourists each year according to the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.
The increased numbers on the roadways naturally increase the potential for accidents, but when you add in other contributing factors, those numbers increase exponentially. Some drivers may have had too much to drink. Others may not be familiar with the area, which results in impulsive turns or lane changes.
Choosing an Insurance Partner
If you have questions about what to expect with your auto insurance premiums, especially with liability, don’t hesitate to give one of the professionals at Harris Insurance Services, Inc. a call. Our roots in Las Vegas are firmly established and date back to the 1970s.
We will be happy to discuss your unique insurance situation and offer you the best options available to suit your needs.