Many people associate Nevada with the neon lights and bumper-to-bumper tourist traffic of the Las Vegas strip. But residents know it as a place of long and quiet roads, including Route 50, known as America's Loneliest Highway. No matter where you drive in the state, as a resident you'll need car insurance. Read on to find out what the state requires in terms of coverage and driver safety.
Nevada Vehicle Insurance Requirements
All drivers in Nevada must carry liability insurance. Although the state's premiums are slightly lower than the national average, they have risen in recent years due partly to an increase in claims and medical costs, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.
Who Needs Vehicle Insurance in Nevada?
Everyone who registers a motor vehicle in Nevada must show proof of liability insurance.
The DMV uses a system called "Nevada LIVE" to instantly validate your liability insurance coverage electronically when you register your vehicle and periodically throughout the year. Still, an estimated 12.2 percent of drivers are uninsured.
Proof of Insurance
By law you must carry proof of insurance in your vehicle at all times and present it to any law enforcement officer if requested.
Be sure the name on your insurance policy matches the name on your vehicle registration. If you change your insurance carrier or your policy number, you or your agent must report it to DMV as soon as possible.
If your vehicle comes up in a periodic Nevada LIVE search, the DMV will mail you a postcard requesting that you verify your insurance information within 15 days. (You can do that online.) If you fail to respond in that timeframe, the state will suspend your registration.
Minimum Liability Insurance Requirements
Your Nevada liability insurance on your vehicle must cover a minimum of:
- $15,000 for injury or death per person;
- $30,000 for injury or death of two or more people; and
- $10,000 for property damage
If you have more than 10 vehicles, you may be able to self-insure.
What Happens If You Drive Without Car Insurance in Nevada?
If you are caught driving without insurance in Nevada you will be fined, and your vehicle may be impounded.
There is no grace period for insurance lapses. Even if your insurance coverage lapses for only one day, the DMV can suspend your registration and fine you anywhere from $250 to $1,000 depending on the length of the lapse and your history of violations.
If your insurance lapses for more than 91 days or it is a third offense, you will have to file a Certificate of Financial Responsibility (SR-22), to guarantee that you have continual coverage for three years. If it was your third lapse in coverage, the DMV will suspend your driver's license for at least 30 days.
How Much Vehicle Insurance Do You Need?
Nevada's liability minimums are lower than most states, and accidents can and often do cost far more than what the minimum policy will cover. That's why insurance and consumer groups generally recommend you carry much more than that - usually a minimum of $100,000 of injury protection per person and $300,000 per accident, according to the Insurance Information Institute.
Nevada Lack Vehicle Insurance? 12.2% National Average: 12.6 %
Remember, liability insurance only covers the other party's expenses if you are at fault in an accident. It doesn't cover you, your passengers, or your vehicle. You can purchase separate insurance for that.
All companies in Nevada are required by law to offer medical payments coverage and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, the latter of which will pay for an accident if the other driver is at fault and doesn't have insurance.
If you still owe money on your car, you will likely have to carry collision and comprehensive insurance as part of the loan agreement.
Nevada's High-Risk Pool
Nevada has a competitive insurance market with 146 companies licensed to issue insurance policies in 2012, so most people will not have a problem finding an insurance company to write them a policy. High-risk drivers who can't get a policy on their own, however, can access insurance through the Nevada Automobile Insurance Plan, which is a member of the Western Association Automobile Insurance Plan (WAAIP).
Teen Drivers in Nevada
In Nevada, teens under age 18 must complete a driver education course (in person or online) and 50 hours of behind-the-wheel training to get a license. If there isn't a driver education course within 30 miles of your home, you can either take an online class or choose to complete 100 hours of behind-the-wheel training instead of a class.
In addition, anyone under age 18 who applies for a license in Nevada must show proof that they either:
- Are enrolled in high school
- Are excused from attending school because of home schooling or a disability; or
- Have completed high school or the equivalent
High school students can have their license suspended if they regularly skip school.
Many insurers offer a "Good Student" discount to students who maintain a B average or better. Research shows that these students tend to be more responsible drivers.
Nevada Car Insurance Premiums: The Impact of a Teen Driver
Median annual price change for families with a teen driver on their policy:$2,141 increase This is a difference of 135%.
Average annual premium increase if a teen gets a speeding ticket while driving 11-15 mph over the speed limit:
Will Your Teen Get a Discount in Nevada?
Impact on annual premium with Good Student and Defensive Driving discounts:$333 saved
Premiums from Nevada Insurance Providers
Shop around for the best car insurance quotes. Check out the annual average premiums, for example, for a married couple with a 16-year-old teen driver in Nevada:
Nevada Premiums: Mustang vs. Minivan
Do insurers consider sports cars a more risky choice for teens than sedans and minivans? Definitely, according to industry experts -- and premium rates reflect it.
Average premium for two 2014
Average premium for two 2008
Town and Country Limiteds
Annual benefit of minivans:
College Students in Nevada
If your child attends college more than 100 miles from home and doesn't have a car at school, you can probably get a discount on your policy. On the other hand, if your child takes a car to college, your rate could go up, depending on where she is living. In any event, you should inform your insurer of any change in living arrangements and driving habits.
High School Drivers vs. College Students in Nevada
Median annual premium change with a college student vs. high school driver$1,048 decrease This is a decrease of 27%.
Nevada Insurers: How Annual Premiums Compare
Each year, look at your policy before it renews to figure out whether you could get a better deal. Here are the average premiums for a married couple with a 19-year-old college student in Nevada.
A Surprising Discount for Nevada College Drivers
You may realize a modest savings in your family's premium if your student lives 150+ miles away from home.
Average premium for a 19-year-old male
- $3,489 at home
- $3,042 at school
- $447 in savings
Average premium for a 19-year-old female
- $3,076 at home
- $2,766 at school
- $310 in savings
Will Your Car Choice Affect Your Premium in Nevada?
Your minivan may not be as cool as a sports car, but it's safer for your college student and won't drive up your premiums as far — a reflection of the lower risk to insurers.
2014 Mustang GTs (2)$3,836
2008 Town and Country Limited minivans (2)$2,600
Annual benefit of minivans
Military Drivers in Nevada
Nevada has more than 143, 000 veterans, including nearly 50,000 from the Gulf War, and 11,383 active duty military personnel. If you are in the military or a veteran, you may be eligible for discounts or special programs designed for soldiers. Some companies - like GEICO - offer up discounts of up to 15 percent for active duty or retired military members and National Guard troops.
However, Nevada doesn't grant automatic extensions for vehicle registration to military families, like some states do. You can, however, usually renew online or through the mail. If you are on active duty outside the state, you can keep your Nevada vehicle registration. It's best to renew early if you know your registration will expire while you are stationed outside the state: Otherwise you will have to renew by mail and have your form notarized. The state will waive registration late fees if you can show that you were on active duty in a combat or combat support position.
Nevada Service Members:
How the Vehicle You Choose Affects Your Premium
Insurers associate sports cars with reckless driving, and our research found an older model SUV has less impact on your premium than a recent model sports car.
Military Drivers: How Premium Ranges Differ by Driver Age and Vehicle
Age-Based Perks for Nevada
Median auto insurance
for service members:
Compare Average Premiums Available to Nevada Military Personnel
When looking for auto insurance, it pays to shop around. Check out the average annual rates you can get in Nevada.
Seniors in Nevada
If you are 55 or older, your insurer is required by law to give you a 3-year discount on your premium if you successfully complete a driving course approved by the DMV. You must keep a clean driving record in order to keep the discount.
If you are 70 or older, you can still renew your license by mail, but it must be accompanied by a medical report.
Undocumented Workers in Nevada
Nevada was the 11th state in the country to grant driving privileges to undocumented immigrants. The state now has three different forms of driver's licenses:
- REAL ID (which meets federal standards for identification)
- Driver's License (which meets state, but not federal, identification standards)
- Driver Authorization Card (which is only meant as a driving permit and has "NOT VALID FOR IDENTIFICATION" printed on it).
If you cannot prove that you are a legal U.S. resident, you can apply for a Driver Authorization Card using identification (like a passport or a birth certificate) from your home country.
Ridesharing Insurance in Nevada: Are You Covered?
A 2015 state law requires transportation networking company like Uber or Lyft operating in Nevada to have continuous liability insurance. (The TNC, the driver, or both parties can buy it.) TNCs must inform drivers of the insurance coverage the company provides. They are also required to inform drivers of their obligation to disclose to their vehicle's lienholder (if there is one) that they are driving for a TNC.
If you are thinking about driving for a TNC, find out what coverage the company provides and then contact your insurance agent to discuss options for filling in any gaps in coverage. Most personal insurance policies don't cover commercial activities, so if you don't inform the company of your TNC activity, it may cancel your policy or refuse to cover you in an accident.
Car Accidents: How to File a Claim in Nevada
If you are involved in an accident, you must stop at the scene. If it's just a fender-bender, there are no injuries and you are blocking traffic, you can move your car out of the way, but remain on the scene to exchange information with the other driver. (Get contact information from any witnesses as well.)
If there is an injury or significant damage (estimated at over $750), you must report the accident to the DMV. If the police do not investigate, all involved parties have to report the accident to the DMV within ten days.
By law your insurance company must approve or deny a claim within 30 days of receiving it. If the insurer needs more time to consider your claim, it must notify you within 20 days after it receives the claim, and at least once every 30 days thereafter until the claim is approved or denied.
Driver Safety: How Does Nevada Rank?
Between 2005 and 2013, Nevada's traffic fatalities fell by about 40 percent. It continues to fight death on the road through its campaign "Zero Fatalities: Drive Safe Nevada," whose highway signs feature such slogans as "Today's not a good day to die." Besides improving rail crossing safety, widening road shoulders and improving dangerous intersections, the state is also working to boost seat belt use and to reduce drunk and distracted driving.
Nevada Driver Safety Ranking
The driver safety table shows the different safety factors that contribute to your state's overall safety rank (in the green box). The overall safety ranking and the National Ranking column scores in each category (including crash fatality rates) are from safest to most dangerous, with 1st being the safest and 51st the least safe.
How did we create the safety rankings?
We created a traffic safety ranking of all US states plus the District of Columbia by combining data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. We looked at fatality rates by distance traveled as well as by population and gave more weight to behaviors that were riskier and preventable (i.e., drunk driving, not using a seat belt), as well as to accidents that involved more than one party (i.e., multi-vehicle).
|Driver Safety Profile||Number of Fatalities||Fatality Rate
The fatality rate is the rate per one billion vehicle miles traveled, except for pedestrian and bicyclist fatality measures, which are per measured per a population of 100,000.
Rankings are in order of safest to least safe. A state with the lowest fatality rate would be the safest, and thus ranked #1.
|Drunk Driving-Related Fatalities||79||3.19||25th|
|Passenger Vehicle Unrestrained Fatalities||57||2.31||13th|
|Unhelmeted Motorcycle Fatalities||7||0.28||18th|
|Multiple Vehicle Fatalities||120||4.87||30th|
|Total Vehicle Fatalities||262||10.63||27th|
Sources: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
Nevada: Protecting You from Injury on the Road
Nevada scores points for its universal helmet law and its ban on handheld phones and texting, but loses points for being one of 16 states that allow only secondary enforcement of seat belt laws. This means you can't be pulled over for not wearing a safety belt, only fined after being pulled over for something else. "Nationally, 1,000 lives and $4 billion in crash costs could be saved by having primary enforcement of all seat belts," says Cathy Chase, vice president for governmental affairs at Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety. In 2011, 43 percent of all the people who died in a crash in Nevada were not buckled up.
|Mandatory seat belts||For driver and all passengers, but cars cannot be pulled over for non-compliance alone|
|Child passenger safety||Child seat/booster seat required until age 6 and/or 60 pounds|
|Driving under the influence (DUI)||90-day license suspension for 1st DUI conviction. Sentence can include two days to six months in jail or 96 days of community service, fines, and license revocation for 90 days; higher penalties for multiple offenses.|
|Ignition interlock after DUI||Partial||Discretionary. Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) calls it one of the weakest interlock laws in the country|
|Talking on cell or texting while driving||It's illegal to talk or text on a handheld cell phone while driving|
|Protections for young drivers||Graduated driver's license system. During intermediate stage, no passengers under age 18; no driving 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.|
|Motorcycle helmet law||Universal helmet law|
|Bicycle helmet law||No statewide law|
Source: Governors Highway Safety Association, 2016
Car Insurance Resources for Nevada Residents
Provides information about types of car insurance, the insurance market, and how to file a complaint. You can also look up insurers on their website.
Works to reduce traffic accidents and provides information on highway conditions and closures.
Provides a summary of Nevada's traffic safety laws.
Provides the state law around driving and financial responsibility in Nevada.
Part of a roadmap by Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, an alliance of consumer, public health, medical, and insurance groups.