Nevada Beefs Up Fines for Letting Auto Insurance Coverage Lapse

A new Nevada law targeting motorists who let their liability insurance lapse replaces existing registration reinstatement fees with a tiered system of penalties that are far more severe for serious, repeat offenders.

Average Nevada liability premiumExisting law requires owners of vehicles registered in Nevada to maintain continuous liability coverage or face suspension of their registration and a reinstatement fee of $250.

The new legislation, which took effect July 1, bases fees and fines on the number of offenses and length of the lapse in coverage. A single lapse of 30 days or less carries the same $250 reinstatement fee that has been in place for years, while a third offense of 181 days or more will result in a total of $1,750 in fees and fines, plus a minimum 30-day license suspension.

About 13 percent of Nevada motorists were uninsured in 2009, according to a study released in April by the Insurance Research Council (IRC). That lack of coverage is a problem for motorists who comply with the law, industry experts say.

“This forces responsible drivers who carry insurance to bear the burden of paying for injuries caused by drivers who carry no insurance at all,” said Elizabeth A. Sprinkel, senior vice president of the IRC.

Serious consequences already exist for uninsured Nevada drivers. The state Department of Motor Vehicles online verification program checks coverage on vehicles several times each year, and any lapse leads to a suspension of that vehicle’s registration.

Owners and operators of uninsured vehicles can also face revocation of their driver’s license and obtain certification that they are covered for a three-year period. Insurers typically charge an additional fee for this certification, commonly known as an SR-22.

And all motorists who are caught without Nevada car insurance may also see higher costs down the road when purchasing a policy. According to Nevada regulators, many insurers in the state will refuse to insure drivers who have had lapses or will charge them more for coverage because of the lapse.

For more information on the new law or the system of fine and fees, go to the DMV website.

 

About Gregor McGavin
Gregor McGavin is an award-winning journalist who has reported across the country for such publications as The Associated Press, the Arizona Republic, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and the Press-Enterprise.

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