When you are in an accident you have no control over who hit you and how much insurance that individual has. Too often, the person who caused the accident only has the minimum limits required by Nevada law, which is far too low. NRS 485.185 only requires an individual purchase limits of $15,000 for bodily injury per person, $30,000 for bodily injury per occurrence, and $10,000 for property damage per occurrence. What this means in the real world is that if you were injured in a car accident by an individual who purchased the statutory minimum of automobile insurance there is very likely not enough insurance to protect you.
For example, if you were driving a car and had three passengers in your car when another driver with minimum limits hit you there would only be $30,000 in bodily injury limits to be split between four persons. Imagine if all four had to be taken to the hospital via an ambulance. There would hardly be enough insurance to pay for the ambulance bill, let alone the hospital and doctor bills. That is why Underinsured/Uninsured Motorist Coverage is so important.
Nevada Insurance Companies Must Offer Uninsured Motorist (UM) and Underinsured Motorist (UIM) Coverage
Pursuant to NRS 687B.145(2), a Nevada insurance company must offer UM/UIM coverage in an amount equal to the limits of coverage for bodily injury sold to an insured under a policy of insurance covering the use of a passenger car. The offer must be made in writing on a form approved by the Nevada Commissioner of Insurance. Each renewal of a policy must include a copy of the form offering such coverage. The insurer must obtain in writing on a form provided by the insurer the insured’s rejection of UM coverage. Any purported offer not made in strict compliance with the statute is likely invalid, if not void. Where an insurer fails to offer UM or UIM motorist coverage, such coverage will be implied by law. In Ippolito v. Liberty Mutual, 101 Nev. 376, 705 P.2d 134 (1985), the court held where the insurer failed to offer the insured uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage limits up to the limits of liability in his own policy the court will imply the coverage into the policy.
It is strongly advisable that you purchase UM/UIM limits to match your bodily injury limits. Again, you have no control over who hits you and how much insurance he/she has, but you do control how much UM/UIM coverage you have. Do not attempt to save money by choosing low UM/UIM limits. UM/UIM coverage is one of the most, if not the most, important coverage you can buy. UM/UIM coverage is relatively inexpensive when you consider the peace of mind it provides.
Amount of UM/UIM Coverage
Nevada law provides that the insurance company must provide UM/UIM provided in an amount no less than the minimum liability coverage required by law ($15K/$30K) and no greater than the liability coverage limits selected by the insured on his automobile policy. Nevada law further provides the UM/UIM provisions in a policy must allow the insured to recover an amount “up to the limits” of his own liability coverage.
The Insurance Company Must Provide Coverage when The Incident Arises out Of the Ownership Maintenance or Use of A Covered Vehicle
In Nevada, insurance companies are required to offer UM/UIM coverage for damages resulting from the “ownership, maintenance or use” of the uninsured automobile. This phrase is also used in insurance policies. UM/UIM coverage is not triggered unless the insured can show the damages resulted from the ownership, maintenance, or use of the uninsured or underinsured automobile. There are relatively few reported cases regarding issues of ownership or maintenance in the UM or UIM context. In regard to the use requirement, this term is ordinarily construed broadly by courts to include most any activity that involves the uninsured vehicle and was a cause (but not necessarily the proximate cause) of the injury claimed. The cause must be relatively direct and requires more than showing simply that the uninsured vehicle was present at the scene or merely a part of a story of injury.
Contact Leverty & Associates Law Chtd. to Discuss Your Potential UM/UIM Claim After an Accident
If you were involved in an automobile accident, it is important to promptly put your insurance company on notice of the accident and to make a UM/UIM claim. Contact the experienced and well-recognized insurance attorneys at Leverty & Associates Law Chtd. to help you you with your UM/UIM claim. Please call us at (775) 624-5276 for a free consultation. Do not let negotiate with an insurance company before knowing all of your rights.
The insurance lawyers at Leverty & Associates Law Chtd. handle UM/UIM insurance cases occurring in Reno, Sparks, Carson City, Lake Tahoe, Fernley, Fallon, Dayton, Minden, Gardnerville, Washoe County, Lyon County, Douglas County, Churchill County and and throughout Nevada.