Category Archives: Insurance

WHY YOU SHOULD HAVE MEDICAL PAYMENTS COVERAGE ON YOUR AUTO POLICY

FIVE THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT MEDICAL PAYMENTS COVERAGE 

  1. MedPay will pay your medical bills even if you are at fault;
  1. Medpay will pay all co-pays from the accident if you have health insurance;
  1. Medpay will pay medical bills without a referral from an accident even if your health 

            insurance does not or you do not have health insurance;

  1. The average cost to have MedPay per month is generally an additional $2per month  for $1,000 in coverage to $37 for $25,000 in coverage for $25,000 in coverage;

https://www.valuepenguin.com/medical-payments-car-insurance-coverage

  1. Medpay will cover funeral or emergency out of network expenses which health insurance often does not cover; 

Medical payments coverage, often referred to in the industry as MedPay, is a coverage that pays for medical or funeral expenses that occur because of an auto accident without referrals, deductions, or hassells. It is an optional coverage that is available when you purchase your auto insurance policy or can be added later. This coverage covers the person who purchased the policy called the policyholder, any passengers and family members driving or riding in the vehicle at the time of an accident. As will be outlined below, this policy can sometimes extend to cover injuries you sustained outside of the car as a pedestrian. Most importantly, this is coverage that it applies no matter who is at fault for the accident. This is critical.  If you cause the accident, this coverage will be the only coverage available to help with co-pays or any medical bills if you do not have health insurance.   In Nevada, the insurance companies must offer this to you when you buy your insurance.  

The relevant statute is NRS 687B.145(3) entitled “Provisions in policies of casualty insurance: Proration of recovery or benefits; uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage; coverage for medical expenses; insurer not entitled to subrogation upon payment made because of underinsured vehicle coverage.” Which states:

“3. An insurance company transacting motor vehicle insurance in this State must offer an insured under a policy covering the use of a passenger car, the option of purchasing coverage in an amount of at least $1,000 for the payment of reasonable and necessary medical expenses resulting from an accident. The offer must be made on a form approved by the Commissioner. The insurer is not required to reoffer the coverage to the insured in any replacement, reinstatement, substitute or amended policy, but the insured may purchase the coverage by requesting it in writing from the insurer. Each renewal must include a copy of the form offering such coverage.”

Unfortunately, unlike the UM/UIM provisions, there is no reference in NRS 687B.145(3) to a waiver form requirement.  In fact, the Nevada Supreme Court decision of Banks v. Progressive Northern Insurance Co., No. 2:12-CV-00861-KJD-VCF, 2012 WL 6697542 (D. Nev. Dec. 21, 2012), held that “if the Legislature meant to impose a written rejection requirement on MedPay coverage offers, it would have expressly so stated, as it did in NRS 690B.020 for minimum UM/UIM coverage.”   Therefore, it is on the consumer to carefully decide if this is a coverage they want to purchase.  

MedPay coverage in Nevada will pay your bills immediately. They will not ask for a referral or a discount, but they will pay your actual bills incurred up to the limit of your medical payments coverage. Frequently, people assume that the at fault driver will timely pay all their bills. Unfortunately, the adverse insurance company will not pay any bills directly. They will only pay to resolve the entire claim when your injuries and treatment have concluded. There may be a substantial period of time where you have outstanding bills that need to be paid before they go to collections.

MedPay coverage limits generally range from $2,000.00 to $25,000.00. It is important to maximize benefits in an auto accident. At the TheOneLawyer.com we have 20 years’ experience in making sure that our clients recover the maximum amount of money in their pocket and all their bills or timely paid.

WHY YOU NEED MEDPAY WHEN YOU HAVE HEALTH INSURANCE

Sadly, I have had clients tell me that their agent advised them they did not need MedPay coverage if they have health insurance. This was bad advice on behalf of their agents. Health insurance does not always pay your medical bills related to a car accident and they are entitled to be indemnified (aka reimbursed) out of your settlement. However, even if health insurance, it  does “cover” all of your bills,  Health insurance, as we all know, often will not cover certain events or there can be very large co-pays for out of network or “unauthorized” treatment. The ambulance bill is often only covered at a very small portion by health insurers and the remaining balance will go to collections quickly.  Med pay is a coverage that covers this gap. MedPay coverage can offset those expenses and pay those co-pays while your health insurance picks up the remaining balance. MedPay can reimburse you timely for those deductibles so that you do not have to worry about getting behind on bills as the result of expenses related to an auto accident.

COST OF MEDICAL PAYMENTS COVEREAGE

MedPay is a coverage is reasonable and allows policyholders to choose a limit a.k.a. a maximum dollar amount that will be paid by your policy for your medical bills. It is generally not a very expensive coverage and can provide extraordinary peace of mind and financial security in the event of an automobile collision. Like anything else, there will be a slight increase in your rates for obtaining medical payments coverage. It is also important to note that it is a coverage you can add to your policy at any time. Call your agent or your carrier to discuss the cost of adding this coverage or go online to check.  Value Penguin did research regarding the costs.  Below are their finding of some examples of the additional cost added to a premium:

https://www.valuepenguin.com/medical-payments-car-insurance-coverage

CONTACT TheOneLawyer.com IF YOU ARE INJURED  IN AN ACCIDENT

MedPay can work in any way that is best suited for your situation. As counsel for injured people, we maximize our client’s benefits and make sure that their bills are covered to the best available coverages in every situation. For example if our client has health insurance, we will reserve MedPay payments until all co-pays have been received to make sure that co-pays are promptly paid on behalf of our clients so that bills do not go to collections. If you are involved in an accident and you have MedPay coverage, it is always extremely important to work closely with your attorney to make sure that all bills are timely sent to counsel’s office. At TheOneLawyer.com,we work diligently to maximize our client’s benefits.

By contacting a lawyer immediately, you can receive the most money for your injury claim. Having worked in the insurance industry as an attorney for 9 years before opening our boutique law firm specializing in helping injured people, I reviewed thousands of insurance policies.   With extensive experience in the insurance field, I can help you review your injury claim  and maximize the money you receive in your pocket after your bills and fees are paid.

At TheOneLawyer.com, we are here to serve our community and provide legal services in the Henderson and Las Vegas area. We are a boutique law firm providing experienced and personal representation to injured clients.  At the Law Offices of Laura Payne-Hunt, TheOneLawyer.com we provide professional and personal service to each and every one of our clients on various legal matters and have over 15 years of experience in reviewing insurance policies and in Nevada insurance law.   If you have a question regarding any type of personal injury or paying your medical bills from an accident, please do not hesitate to call the offices of TheOneLawyer.com and speak directly to attorney Laura Marie Payne-Hunt, Esq. a Henderson Injury Attorney for over 15 years.  Laura is recognized as one of Nevada’s Top 100 Lawyers.  She has the experience and knowledge to obtain the maximum settlement you deserve.  Please call our office if you or a loved one is injured.  We can make sure that you receive the care you need and deserve and advise on how to preserve evidence.  

At our office, we are experienced in helping injured victims get the compensation they are entitled to.  Insurance companies never have the best interest of the injured person at the top of their priorities.  They want to pay as little on every claim as possible.  Having worked for an insurance company as an attorney for 9 years before opening my boutique law firm specializing in helping injured people, I have reviewed thousands of auto accident claims and policy provisions.   

At the Henderson and Las Vegas Accident injury law offices of TheOneLaweyer.com, Laura Marie Payne-Hunt and her staff are here to help you and your family in the event that accidents and tragedies occur.  For any of your legal needs, do not hesitate to contact our Henderson and Las Vegas Accident injury offices.  TheOneLawyer.com is a boutique, family-owned law firm that specializes in helping injured people and the community of Las Vegas and Henderson Nevada with legal issues involving auto accidents, wrongful deaths, slip and falls, truck accidents, injuries to children, bicycle accidents, dog bites, product liability claims, and all types of injury claims.  Please do not hesitate to call us anytime you have a legal question or you or a loved one has sustained an injury at 702-450-(HUNT) 4868 and text 24/7 at 702-600-0032. 

HOW TO HANDLE YOUR OWN TOTAL LOSS OF YOUR VEHICLE CLAIM

FIVE THINGS TO KNOW FOR A TOTAL LOSS CLAIM

  1. Legally, if the cost to repair is more than 65% of the car’s value, it is a total loss;
  1. The cost of painting the vehicle is not included in the repair cost for total loss purposes;
  1. The cost of replacing electronic components in accordance with the specifications of the manufacturer does not count toward the repair cost for total loss purposes;
  1. Although you may get to decide whether or not your car is a total loss, you have the right to argue the total loss call with the insurance company;
  1. The fair market value of the vehicle is not a set number and is negotiable. The insurance company may try to tell you it’s not negotiable;

The insurance company may often tell you your car is a total loss and that you have no choice.  However, if you believe your vehicle can be repaired and you do not want to have your vehicle assessed as a total loss, you have the right to challenge this decision.  One of the most common misconceptions that we see in our office is what the meaning of total loss is in the context of an auto accident. Clients often think that total loss means they will get a new car. Unfortunately, that is not the reality. 

Total loss claims can be difficult. The total loss of the vehicle often places an already injured victim in a very difficult predicament. The total loss of a vehicle does not mean that you receive a new car. It only means that you receive the fair market value of the vehicle that you owned. Often times, clients are even upside down in their vehicle meaning that they owe more than the vehicle is worth. If you do not have gap insurance on the vehicle, this means you could wind up with a car payment and no car. This is a position that we at TheOneLawyer.com desperately try to avoid for our clients. In those type of situations, we will vigorously argue the total loss assessment. Obviously, sometimes a vehicle is so violently damaged that there really is no choice but to call it a total loss. However, often insurance companies would rather assess a total loss then to attempt to repair and run the risk of finding additional damage once the repair has begun. For this reason, it is important to work with a stellar body shop and attorney to prevent being in the situation of having no vehicle and an outstanding car loan. Under Nevada law if the cost of repairing the vehicle exceeds 65% of the fair market value of the car it is considered a total loss by state law. In the state of Nevada, whether a car is a total loss is governed by Nevada Revised Statute 487.790. Specifically, NRS 487.790 states as:

NRS487.790“Total loss vehicle” defined.

      1.  “Total loss vehicle” means a motor vehicle:

      (a) Of a type which is subject to registration; and

      (b) Which has been wrecked, destroyed or otherwise damaged to such an extent that the cost of repair is 65 percent or more of the fair market value of the vehicle immediately before it was wrecked, destroyed or otherwise damaged, except that, for the purposes of this paragraph, the cost of repair does not include the cost of:

             (1) Painting any portion of the vehicle;

             (2) Replacing electronic components in accordance with the specifications of the manufacturer; or

             (3) Towing the vehicle.

      2.  The term does not include:

      (a) A nonrepairable vehicle;

      (b) A motor vehicle which is 10 model years old or older and which, to restore the vehicle to its condition before it was wrecked, destroyed or otherwise damaged and regardless of cost, requires the replacement of only:

             (1) The hood;

            (2) The trunk lid;

             (3) A fender;

             (4) Two or fewer of the following parts or assemblies, which may be bolted or unbolted:

                   (I) Doors;

                   (II) A grill assembly;

                   (III) A bumper assembly;

                   (IV) A headlight assembly; or

                   (V) A taillight assembly; or

             (5) Any combination of subparagraph (1), (2), (3) or (4);

      (c) A motor vehicle, regardless of the age of the vehicle, for which the cost to repair the vehicle is less than 65 percent of the fair market value of the vehicle immediately before the vehicle was wrecked, destroyed or otherwise damaged, except that, for the purposes of this paragraph, the cost of repair does not include the cost of:

             (1) Painting any portion of the vehicle;

             (2) Replacing electronic components in accordance with the specifications of the manufacturer; or

             (3) Towing the vehicle; or

      (d) A motor vehicle that was stolen and subsequently recovered if the motor vehicle:

             (1) Has no structural damage; and

             (2) Is missing only tires, wheels, audio or video equipment, or some combination thereof.

      3.  For the purposes of this section, the model year of manufacture is calculated based on a year beginning on January 1 of the calendar year in which the damage occurs.

      (Added to NRS by 1995, 1573; A 2003, 1911; 2005, 1245; 2011, 1663)

There is a lot of room for negotiation and argument within the terms of the statute. First, fair market value is always arguable. In order to determine what the fair market value of the vehicle is you can locate as many of the same vehicles for sale, referred to as comparables, to determine the sales prices.  The bluebook is really no longer effective in determining fair market value. With the Internet fair market value is determined by the for sale of comparable vehicles.

Once the fair market value has been determined, there are qualifiers Built into the statute is the total loss statute regarding paint repair and component parts. This is an area that insurance companies often ignore. The cost of all paint repairs can be deducted from the repair estimate for purposes of the 65%. This  can swing the value as to whether or not is a state loss under state law.

In addition to deducting the paint costs, many electronic component parts that may need to be replaced on your vehicle can also be deducted from the total loss repair cost in determining whether it’s a total loss. This is because replacing a part with a used part is just as effective and does not deter from the value of the vehicle or the integrity.   These parts generally include starters, alternators, batteries, power windows, power steering, headlights and other exterior lights, windshield wipers, defrosters, air conditioning systems, computerized engine diagnostics, cooling system repair & services, emissions repair, Fuel system injectors, fuel pumps & lines, and even water pumps.

What this means is that if the cost to repair your car is more than 65% of the fair market value of the vehicle, excluding the cost of paint repairs and component parts, it must be declared a total loss by state law.  As noted above, even though this definition may seem clear on its face, there are a lot of variables. These variables include determining what will be the actual cost to repair the car and deducting the appropriate exclusions under the statue.

CONTACT TheOneLawyer.com IF YOUR VEHICLE IS TOTAL LOSS

By contacting a lawyer immediately, you can receive the most money for your vehicle. At my office, we are happy to handle the total loss of your vehicle at no cost along with your personal injury claim.  Having worked in the insurance industry as an attorney for 9 years before opening our boutique law firm specializing in helping injured people, I reviewed thousands of total loss claims.   With extensive experience in the insurance field, I can help you review your total loss to maximize the money you get for your vehicle.

At TheOneLawyer.com, we are here to serve our community and provide legal services in the Henderson and Las Vegas area. We are a boutique law firm providing experienced and personal representation to injured clients.  At the Law Offices of Laura Payne-Hunt, TheOneLawyer.com we provide professional and personal service to each and every one of our clients on various legal matters and have over 15 years of experience in reviewing insurance policies and in Nevada insurance law.   If you have a question regarding any type of personal injury or paying your medical bills from an accident, please do not hesitate to call the offices of TheOneLawyer.com and speak directly to attorney Laura Marie Payne-Hunt, Esq. a Henderson Injury Attorney for over 15 years.  Laura is recognized as one of Nevada’s Top 100 Lawyers.  She has the experience and knowledge to obtain the maximum settlement you deserve.  Please call our office if you or a loved one is injured.  We can make sure that you receive the care you need and deserve and advise on how to preserve evidence.  

At our office, we are experienced in helping injured victims get the compensation they are entitled to.  Insurance companies never have the best interest of the injured person at the top of their priorities.  They want to pay as little on every claim as possible.  Having worked for an insurance company as an attorney for 9 years before opening my boutique law firm specializing in helping injured people, I have reviewed thousands of auto accident claims and policy provisions.   

At the Henderson and Las Vegas Accident injury law offices of TheOneLaweyer.com, Laura Marie Payne-Hunt and her staff are here to help you and your family in the event that accidents and tragedies occur.  For any of your legal needs, do not hesitate to contact our Henderson and Las Vegas Accident injury offices.  TheOneLawyer.com is a boutique, family-owned law firm that specializes in helping injured people and the community of Las Vegas and Henderson Nevada with legal issues involving auto accidents, wrongful deaths, slip and falls, truck accidents, injuries to children, bicycle accidents, dog bites, product liability claims, and all types of injury claims.  Please do not hesitate to call us anytime you have a legal question or you or a loved one has sustained an injury at 702-450-(HUNT) 4868 and text 24/7 at 702-600-0032. 

WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU GET IN AN ACCIDENT IN A COMMON CARRIER LIKE AN UBER or LYFT

FIVE THINGS TO KNOW IF YOU ARE INVOLVED IN AN UBER OR LYFT ACCIDENT

  1. Uber and Lyft coverage is excess to the at fault driver’s insurance;
  2. The Uber or Lyft driver must be at fault for the commercial coverage to take effect;
  3. If you drive for a TNC you must advise your insurance company to be covered;
  4. Coverages are different depending on the stage of the ride-share;
  5. Contact TheOneLawyer.com if you are involved in accident with an Uber or Lyft vehicle.

I often get asked about what happens if someone is in an accident while they are a passenger in an Uber vehicle. Common carriers like a Lyft and Uber are referred to as Transportation Network Companies (TNC’s). These are people who use their personal vehicles to transport passengers for a charge. Such rides are generally arranged through apps installed on the passenger’s phone or mobile device. The app allows the TNC drivers, partners  and passengers to coordinate rides and receive payment for services made electronically directly to the TNC.  The question arises as to what insurance is applicable in an accident when a driver is contracted and driving for Uber or Lyft or another common carrier. In this blog I will answer the most common questions regarding accidents involving Uber and Lyft vehicles.

How Is A TNC Driver Defined Under the Law?

There are several phases of TNC activity. Generally, a TNC driver starts their shift by logging into the app and advising the network that they are available to accept passengers for rides. Once the drivers have logged into the app, they will receive a request from a passenger and start their route to pick up the passenger. From that time, there is the point where the passenger enters the vehicle, and the transportation begins. Finally, the transport ends when the passenger is successfully dropped off at their destination. TNC drivers are not considered to be driving for the network when they are not logged onto the app. During those times they are on their personal time and not covered by Uber or Lyft coverage.  Therefore, just because a driver does drive for Uber or Lyft during certain periods, if that driver is not driving for Uber or Lyft at the time of an accident their personal auto insurance and limits apply to the accident.

Insurance Requirements for TNC Drivers in Nevada

When an Uber or Lyft driver is not driving for the company, they are governed by Nevada law that all drivers are governed by to maintain liability coverage for bodily injury and property damage pursuant to NRS 485.185. That statute requires minimum liability insurance in the amount of $25,000 per person, $50,000 per accident and $20,000 for property damage. However, once the driver logs into the app and becomes available for rideshare services the insurance requirement changes.  

Once the driver is logged in, coverage must be at least $50,000 per person and $100,000 per accident and $25,000 for property damage when they do not have passengers.  This is the coverage that is required once the Uber or Lyft driver becomes available to accept passengers.  However, once the driver is on route to picking up a passenger and until that passenger exits the vehicle, liability coverage is required at $1.5 million per accident. This coverage must be continuously provided by the company’s insurance coverage or the drivers insurance coverage. Uber and Lyft both have this coverage on their drivers in Nevada.

Does Personal Insurance Cover A TNC Driver?

The answer to this question is generally no. Your personal insurance will not cover you if you are driving for Uber or Lyft. In fact, it has become proper common practice for insurance companies to immediately ask when the accident occurred if anyone was driving for a common carrier at the time of the accident. That does not mean you cannot get coverage; it means that you must advise your insurance company specifically that you will be driving as a common carrier and they must issue you a policy as a common carrier driver. It is extremely important that if you are going to drive for Uber or Lyft you understand that you need to notify your insurance company and advise them of this new position. If you do not, it is the same as driving without any insurance at all while you are driving for Uber and Lyft. 

If you take such a job, call your personal insurance immediately and tell them that you will be driving and make sure that you see your new policy in writing that they have added this to the policy. We have seen several cases over the years where clients have advised they notified their insurance company, but the insurance company claims they did not have notice, it was not updated in the policy and there was no coverage. Do not let this happen to you if you decide to drive for Uber or Lyft.   Call your carrier, have them update your policy and make sure they email you an updated version of your policy so that you can see you are now listed as a common carrier driver.

What Coverages Are Available for Injured Victims in A TNC Accident?

If you were involved in an auto accident as a passenger in an Uber or Lyft vehicle or as a passenger in another vehicle which is not at fault and involved in a collision with an Uber or Lyft vehicle, the Uber or Lyft policy will be excess to the at fault driver’s personal policy. That means that the driver that is at fault should have coverage for the accident as a common carrier because they notified their insurance company of their common carrier position. The state minimum is $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident. Once the policy limits of the at fault driver are exhausted, the Uber or Lyft policy will become viable and damages up to the limits of the policy will be available.  Just as is the case with any accident involving non-common carrier drivers, it is always important to establish fault on the part of the Uber or Lyft driver in order to recover against the commercial policy of Uber or Lyft. If you or a loved one is involved in an accident, it is important to contact an attorney immediately to determine what policies are available to cover your damages and injuries. At the offices of TheOneLawyer.com we have over 18 years’ experience in helping injured clients. Laura Payne-Hunt worked for a major insurance company for over nine years and has the experience and knowledge to make sure that all policies available can be recovered against on behalf of her clients.

At TheOneLawyer.com, we are here to serve our community and provide legal services in the Henderson and Las Vegas area. We are a boutique law firm providing experienced and personal representation to injured clients.  At the Law Offices of Laura Payne-Hunt, TheOneLawyer.com we provide professional and personal service to each and every one of our clients on various legal matters and have over 15 years of experience in reviewing insurance policies and in Nevada insurance law.   If you have a question regarding any type of personal injury or paying your medical bills from an accident, please do not hesitate to call the offices of TheOneLawyer.com and speak directly to attorney Laura Marie Payne-Hunt, Esq. a Henderson Injury Attorney for over 15 years.  Laura is recognized as one of Nevada’s Top 100 Lawyers.  She has the experience and knowledge to obtain the maximum settlement you deserve.  Please call our office if you or a loved one is injured.  We can make sure that you receive the care you need and deserve and advise on how to preserve evidence.  

At our office, we are experienced in helping injured victims get the compensation they are entitled to.  Insurance companies never have the best interest of the injured person at the top of their priorities.  They want to pay as little on every claim as possible.  Having worked for an insurance company as an attorney for 9 years before opening my boutique law firm specializing in helping injured people, I have reviewed thousands of auto accident claims and policy provisions.   

At the Henderson and Las Vegas Accident injury law offices of TheOneLaweyer.com, Laura Marie Payne-Hunt and her staff are here to help you and your family in the event that accidents and tragedies occur.  For any of your legal needs, do not hesitate to contact our Henderson and Las Vegas Accident injury offices.  TheOneLawyer.com is a boutique, family-owned law firm that specializes in helping injured people and the community of Las Vegas and Henderson Nevada with legal issues involving auto accidents, wrongful deaths, slip and falls, truck accidents, injuries to children, bicycle accidents, dog bites, product liability claims, and all types of injury claims.  Please do not hesitate to call us anytime you have a legal question or you or a loved one has sustained an injury at 702-450-(HUNT) 4868 and text 24/7 at 702-600-0032. 

WHAT IS FLOOD INSURANCE AND WHAT WATER DAMAGE IS COVERED UNDER A STANDARD HOMEOWNERS POLICY

Five Things to Understand About Flood Insurance

1) A standard homeowner’s policy does not cover flood damage

2) There is a 30-day waiting period to make a claim once you purchase flood insurance;

3) Flood insurance is not very expensive;

4) You don’t have to live in a flood zone to have flood damage;

5) Flood insurance policies have limits just like homeowners’ policies.

Most people are surprised to learn that their regular homeowners policy does not cover flood damage. If you live in a location that is highly prone to floods,  your mortgage company may require you to carry flood insurance on your property if you have a note.  According to government statistics, floods are the most common and the costliest natural disaster.

Homeowners Insurance Does Not Cover Flood Damage

Sometimes it’s a fine line between understanding what is flood damage and what is damage from a general rainstorm. The best way to describe flood damage is that if water touches the ground and then enters your home it’s considered a flood and only flood insurance will pay for those damages. Therefore, if you live in a flood zone and the water rises and starts pouring through your home,  your homeowner’s policy will not cover that type of damage. However, if a tree falls on your roof during a rainstorm and heavy rains pour into your home from the ceiling that would be covered by your homeowner’s insurance. Water that comes from the sky and lands on the ground and then enters your home is considered a flood. If a pipe burst and causes water damage in your home that is generally covered as a sudden emergency under your homeowner’s policy.

You Cannot Wait for A Flood to Buy Flood Insurance.

Most flood insurance policies carry a 30-day waiting period. That means you cannot turn on the news and see that you are about to be flooded and call a flood insurance agent and purchase flood insurance to cover the imminent danger. Therefore, it is something that you need to consider in advance. Although not all regions are highly prone to flooding, one out of five flood claims come from moderate to low risk flood zones. And it is important to bear in mind that those are only the people that had flood insurance to make a claim. Therefore, many homeowners in those moderate to low flood zones sustained flood damage and had no coverage to cover their losses. I know that the news often reports that FEMA is coming in and government aid is on its way to people in the flood zones. It is important to note that usually that aid comes in the form of some type of government loan that you would have to pay back. It is generally worth investigating and I highly recommend that you look into whether you need flood insurance and the cost.  The average cost of flood insurance is about $700 per year.  Flood damage can often run into the tens of thousands of dollars.  

The Cost of Flood Insurance

The cost of a flood insurance ranges from $200 per year to $1,300 per year with an average cost at about $700 a year. These costs vary depending on the level of risk meaning how prone your property is to flood. However, if your property is highly prone to flooding it is likely well worth the cost of flood insurance. There are many factors that both government programs and private insurance companies use to determine flood insurance rates. According to FEMA, the most important factors that influence your rates are:

  • The Age of your Home
  • The value of your home
  • Whether or not you have a basement (finished basements often are not covered)
  • The Location of your personal property
  • The Location of your home’s lowest floor and its relation to the Base Flood Elevation
  • The deductible you chose.

The most significant factor is how susceptible your home is to being flooded. When you’re being underwritten for flood insurance, the company will consider far more than just what city or state your property is located. They will generally access whether or not your home is in a FEMA-designated flood zone, and if so, how hazardous a flood zone. There are three types of flood zones that FEMA has designated known as the A, B, and C zones. For more information on the flood zones, see https://www.fema.gov/pdf/nfip/manual201205/content/16_maps.pdf  FEMA has very specific zones throughout the country and you can order a map of your area on their website.  

Not All Flood Claims Happen in The High-Risk Flood Areas.

It is an interesting statistic that one out of five flood damage claims come from low to moderate risk flood zone areas. This means that even if you are in a low-risk area you could still suffer flood damage depending on the level of storms that hit. With global warming and the drastic change in weather patterns it is really unknown and unforeseeable where flooding will occur. The lower risk area that you live in, the lower the cost of flood insurance.

Ninety percent of all-natural disasters in the United States involve flooding, and flood damage strikes frequently in low or moderate risk areas. Homeowner’s policies do not cover flooding regardless of the risk level of your property.  You may think you are immune because you don’t live in a high-risk flood area.  However, even if you don’t live in a high flood risk area, you can be susceptible to danger from a flood.  It is a fact that 20 percent of all flood claims are filed in low to moderate flood risk areas.  Therefore, you should know how to prepare for the possibility of a flood, know your flood insurance options and obtain adequate coverage.

Flood Insurance Policies Have Limits

Just like a traditional homeowner’s policy, flood insurance policies will have limits on the amount that they cover for your dwelling, as well as your personal property. If you do purchase a flood insurance policy, it is important to examine those limits and make sure that the limits that you are purchasing will cover the value of the property in your home as well as the structure of your home in the event of a total loss from flooding. If you’re going to purchase insurance, it is always important to make sure that you have coverage that would cover you in the event of the worst-case scenario. Know the value of your home and the contents in your home.

At TheOneLawyer.com, we are here to serve our community and provide legal services in the Henderson and Las Vegas area. We are a boutique law firm providing experienced and personal representation to injured clients.  At the Law Offices of Laura Payne-Hunt, TheOneLawyer.com we provide professional and personal service to each and every one of our clients on various legal matters and have over 15 years of experience in reviewing insurance policies and in Nevada insurance law.   If you have a question regarding any type of personal injury or paying your medical bills from an accident, please do not hesitate to call the offices of TheOneLawyer.com and speak directly to attorney Laura Marie Payne-Hunt, Esq. a Henderson Injury Attorney for over 15 years.  Laura is recognized as one of Nevada’s Top 100 Lawyers.  She has the experience and knowledge to obtain the maximum settlement you deserve.  Please call our office if you or a loved one is injured.  We can make sure that you receive the care you need and deserve and advise on how to preserve evidence.  

At our office, we are experienced in helping injured victims get the compensation they are entitled to.  Insurance companies never have the best interest of the injured person at the top of their priorities.  They want to pay as little on every claim as possible.  Having worked for an insurance company as an attorney for 9 years before opening my boutique law firm specializing in helping injured people, I have reviewed thousands of auto accident claims and policy provisions.   

At the Henderson and Las Vegas Accident injury law offices of TheOneLaweyer.com, Laura Marie Payne-Hunt and her staff are here to help you and your family in the event that accidents and tragedies occur.  For any of your legal needs, do not hesitate to contact our Henderson and Las Vegas Accident injury offices.  TheOneLawyer.com is a boutique, family-owned law firm that specializes in helping injured people and the community of Las Vegas and Henderson Nevada with legal issues involving auto accidents, wrongful deaths, slip and falls, truck accidents, injuries to children, bicycle accidents, dog bites, product liability claims, and all types of injury claims.  Please do not hesitate to call us anytime you have a legal question or you or a loved one has sustained an injury at 702-450-(HUNT) 4868 and text 24/7 at 702-600-0032. 

WHAT KIND OF INSURANCE SHOULD I HAVE?

One of the most frequently asked questions I get from friends and family members as an insurance attorney handling people’s injury and property claims is “what kind of insurance do I have?” 

The most common statement a client makes when they come in the offices usually is, “I have full coverage.”

However, after reviewing thousands of insurance policies, it has become clear that most people do not know what “Full coverage” is. In past years, many people used insurance agents who were helpful in explaining what types of coverages people needed.  Agents would have assisted them in purchasing their insurance. If you can use an insurance agent that you know and trust, I would highly recommend that.  Understanding insurance coverages can be complex, and often a large increase in coverage comes with a very small rate increase. 

For that reason, it is extremely important to understand what insurance coverages for your automobile are available and what the different coverages mean if you are injured, or your property is damaged, or you have injured someone else.   Most auto insurance policies are relatively simple to understand if you know the terminology they use. I think insurance companies intentionally use vague and ambiguous language so that people do not know what they are really buying. The following are the type of coverages that you will be asked if you buy insurance online or by an agent when you go to purchase insurance. Your responses and your purchases can be critical to your well-being in the event that you or someone you love is injured in an accident.  There are several basic coverages.

LIABILITY COVERAGE

The first coverage that you purchase, which is required by law, is called liability coverage (often called bodily injury coverage).   What that means is the amount of money that your insurance company will pay for property damage and bodily injury for the adverse driver and passengers (a.k.a. third parties) in the event you cause an automobile accident. In Nevada, state minimum is 15/30/10. Most people do not know what that means either. When there are three numbers, the first number is the amount your insurance company will pay per person for bodily injury and the second number is the amount your insurance company will pay per accident for bodily injury. For example, if you get into an automobile collision and it is your fault and there is one person in the other vehicle, they can only obtain $15,000 from your insurance company. If there were two people in the vehicle, they could obtain $15,000 each. However, if they were three or more people in that vehicle, the $30,000 would be split between those people if they were injured. It is not rocket science to know that in today’s exorbitant world of medical billing, $15,000 does not go very far. The third number is the total amount your insurance company will pay for property damage to the other vehicle or property such as a damaged road sign because of the accident. If you purchase a minimum insurance policy, you could wind up being personally exposed. Meaning, if there’s not enough insurance coverage, the other driver could sue you and obtain a judgment against your personal assets to recover their damages. For this reason, it is extremely important to insure yourself and your family as high as you can afford to protect your personal assets. Meaning if you own your home, and you have savings accounts, you want to make sure that you have enough insurance. I often recommended umbrella policy to people which is usually a cost of approximately $12-$15 per month and will protect your assets.  An Umbrella policy provides a higher layer of coverage for your auto, home, boat, etc. on top of your limits, usually in the amount of a million dollars.

COLLISION COVERAGE

The second type of coverage which most people consider to be “full coverage” is collision coverage. Collision coverage means that payments will be made to fix your vehicle if your car is damaged in an accident. If you purchase collision coverage, that coverage will cover damage to your automobile. It is extremely important to know what your deductible is. Often, changing your deductible from $1000.00 down to $500.00 is as little as $8.00 to $10.00 on your overall premium. It is important that you check what you are paying for and what you could get for just a little bit more. When you go to Target, you can see all the items on the shelf, and you can see what all the items cost and their value so you can choose accordingly. Unfortunately, with buying insurance, they do not make it that simple.   You must ask these questions either of the agent or when you are buying online you need to change the deductibles and change your coverages and see how it affects your premium.  

MEDICAL PAYMENTS COVERAGE

A little-known coverage that many agents do not even mention, or offer is called Medical Payments coverage, and this can be extraordinarily important for you if you are in an accident. Medical Payments Coverage is usually a fixed amount anywhere from $1000.00, or $2,000.00, or $5,000.00 on up. It means that your insurance company will pay your medical bills regardless of whether you have health insurance if you are in an automobile accident and you’re injured. Medical payments coverage can be very important because often you may have large co-pays, especially for ambulance bills, from an accident. Health insurance often will not cover things like physical therapy as much as you need, or you may have large deductible on your health insurance policy. Medical payments coverage is generally an expensive coverage which will protect you from out-of-pocket medical expenses if you are in an accident. It is important to know that even if it is not your fault, it can take months or years to recover from the other driver. Your medical providers, (hospitals, ambulances, quick cares, etc.) will not wait until the claim is final to send you to collections. When purchasing insurance always look at what medical payments coverage is available and the cost. If it fits your budget, you should purchase medical payments to protect yourself. Another important issue to know about medical payments is that it is not an at fault coverage, meaning if you use your medical payments coverage on your policy, it is not counted as a claim against you for your rates.

UM/UIM COVERAGE

Another extremely important coverage that people often drop to save money is called UM/UIM. This means uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage. Uninsured is self-explanatory, it means that if someone without insurance hits you, you have coverage for your medical bills and injuries. Underinsured coverage means that if someone with a small policy, like the state minimum of $15,000 hits you and you are seriously injured, you can recover against your own policy after the $15,000.00 is paid from the other driver. In the state of Nevada, it is estimated that 13% of all drivers on the road do not have car insurance.  It is extremely important to protect yourself and your assets from reckless and illegal drivers. In the state of Nevada, when you purchase insurance, the insurance company is required to offer you UM/UIM benefits and if you reject the same, they must have you sign a waiver. Think carefully before you reject these benefits because if you are in a serious accident these benefits could protect you and your loved ones from undue financial burden.

RENTAL CAR COVERAGE

Also, there is the coverage for rental car benefits and towing. These are somewhat self-explanatory, however, there are a few tricks. When looking at your towing coverage always check the number of miles that they will tow your vehicle. Sometimes they have separate towing packages where they will only tow your vehicle 5 -10 miles and then you are at the mercy of the tow truck company for the rest of the bill. It is often pennies to change the policy to a better towing policy where they will tow you up to 100 miles.  It is similar with rental coverage. If you, like me, drive a large vehicle to take your family places and haul groceries, and you are need of a rental car from an auto accident, most policies will offer you the $20 a day, very basic economy car.  This may not fit your needs, and if it does not, it can be very costly to you to rent a larger vehicle. When purchasing rental insurance, you usually have the option of $20-$30 a day or $50 a day in rental coverage. Again, this is generally a very inexpensive change on the policy and when purchasing rental insurance, check to see the cost of having a better vehicle in the event that you need a rental car. Often it is less than five dollars.

At TheOneLawyer.com, we are here to serve our community and provide legal services in the Henderson and Las Vegas area. We are a boutique law firm providing experienced and personal representation to injured clients.  At the Law Offices of Laura Payne-Hunt, TheOneLawyer.com we provide professional and personal service to each and every one of our clients on various legal matters and have over 15 years of experience in reviewing insurance policies and in Nevada insurance law.   If you have a question regarding any type of personal injury or paying your medical bills from an accident, please do not hesitate to call the offices of TheOneLawyer.com and speak directly to attorney Laura Marie Payne-Hunt, Esq. a Henderson Injury Attorney for over 15 years.  Laura is recognized as one of Nevada’s Top 100 Lawyers.  She has the experience and knowledge to obtain the maximum settlement you deserve.  Please call our office if you or a loved one is injured.  We can make sure that you receive the care you need and deserve and advise on how to preserve evidence.  

At our office, we are experienced in helping injured victims get the compensation they are entitled to.  Insurance companies never have the best interest of the injured person at the top of their priorities.  They want to pay as little on every claim as possible.  Having worked for an insurance company as an attorney for 9 years before opening my boutique law firm specializing in helping injured people, I have reviewed thousands of auto accident claims and policy provisions.   

At the Henderson and Las Vegas Accident injury law offices of TheOneLaweyer.com, Laura Marie Payne-Hunt and her staff are here to help you and your family in the event that accidents and tragedies occur.  For any of your legal needs, do not hesitate to contact our Henderson and Las Vegas Accident injury offices.  TheOneLawyer.com is a boutique, family-owned law firm that specializes in helping injured people and the community of Las Vegas and Henderson Nevada with legal issues involving auto accidents, wrongful deaths, slip and falls, truck accidents, injuries to children, bicycle accidents, dog bites, product liability claims, and all types of injury claims.  Please do not hesitate to call us anytime you have a legal question or you or a loved one has sustained an injury at 702-450-(HUNT) 4868 and text 24/7 at 702-600-0032. 

WHAT DOES INSURANCE PAY IF MY CAR IS A TOTAL LOSS?

FIVE THINGS TO UNDERSTAND ABOUT A TOTAL LOSS

  1. Sometimes you cannot tell by looking if the car is a total loss
  1. You will not get to decide whether or not your car is a total loss
  1. Legally if the cost to repair is more than 65% of the car’s value, it is a total loss.
  1. The fair market value of the vehicle is negotiable, do not let the insurance company tell you it’s not.
  1. The loan on the car is not the fair market value so always but GAP insurance on a new car.

One of the most common misconceptions that we see in our office is what the meaning of total loss is in the context of an auto accident. Clients often think that total loss means they will get a new car. Unfortunately, that is not the reality. In fact, clients also think they can determine whether their car is, in fact, a total loss. Unfortunately, that is also not the case.

In the state of Nevada, whether a car is a total loss is governed by Nevada Revised Statute 487.790. Specifically, NRS 487.790 states as:

NRS487.790“Total loss vehicle” defined.

      1.  “Total loss vehicle” means a motor vehicle:

      (a) Of a type which is subject to registration; and

      (b) Which has been wrecked, destroyed or otherwise damaged to such an extent that the cost of repair is 65 percent or more of the fair market value of the vehicle immediately before it was wrecked, destroyed or otherwise damaged, except that, for the purposes of this paragraph, the cost of repair does not include the cost of:

             (1) Painting any portion of the vehicle;

             (2) Replacing electronic components in accordance with the specifications of the manufacturer; or

             (3) Towing the vehicle.

      2.  The term does not include:

      (a) A nonrepairable vehicle;

      (b) A motor vehicle which is 10 model years old or older and which, to restore the vehicle to its condition before it was wrecked, destroyed or otherwise damaged and regardless of cost, requires the replacement of only:

             (1) The hood;

            (2) The trunk lid;

             (3) A fender;

             (4) Two or fewer of the following parts or assemblies, which may be bolted or unbolted:

                   (I) Doors;

                   (II) A grill assembly;

                   (III) A bumper assembly;

                   (IV) A headlight assembly; or

                   (V) A taillight assembly; or

             (5) Any combination of subparagraph (1), (2), (3) or (4);

      (c) A motor vehicle, regardless of the age of the vehicle, for which the cost to repair the vehicle is less than 65 percent of the fair market value of the vehicle immediately before the vehicle was wrecked, destroyed or otherwise damaged, except that, for the purposes of this paragraph, the cost of repair does not include the cost of:

             (1) Painting any portion of the vehicle;

             (2) Replacing electronic components in accordance with the specifications of the manufacturer; or

             (3) Towing the vehicle; or

      (d) A motor vehicle that was stolen and subsequently recovered if the motor vehicle:

             (1) Has no structural damage; and

             (2) Is missing only tires, wheels, audio or video equipment, or some combination thereof.

      3.  For the purposes of this section, the model year of manufacture is calculated based on a year beginning on January 1 of the calendar year in which the damage occurs.

      (Added to NRS by 1995, 1573; A 2003, 1911; 2005, 1245; 2011, 1663)

What this means is that if the cost to repair your car is more than 65% of the fair market value of the vehicle, it must be declared a total loss by state law. However, even with this definition that would seem clear on its face, there are a lot of variables. Such variables include determining what will be the actual cost to repair the car as well as the actual value of the car. 

DETERMING TOTAL LOSS

I can generally look at a photograph and tell you if the vehicle is going to be a total loss. Feel free to call our office with any questions if you have been involved in accident involving a vehicle that has been deemed a total loss.  When estimating the damage, the insurance company will generally allow some leeway for hidden damage in determining whether to repair the vehicle or not. This means for example if your vehicle is worth $10,000 and the insurance company estimates the damage at $4,000, they will likely deem the car a total loss because if there is additional hidden damage found when repairs begin, it will rise to the level of total loss.       

Sometimes, if the client really wants the vehicle repaired, and it is close on the total loss versus fair market value, we can have their carrier repair the vehicle and the client will sign a waiver regarding future repair costs. This is not something we generally recommend but there are occasions that clients are very attached to their vehicles and do not want to send them to the salvage yard.   At the Law Offices of Laura Hunt, we listen to our clients’ needs and requests and assist throughout the property damage loss assessment and payment. We also do not take any fee for handling this portion of the case when handling the personal injury matter.  It is important when finding a personal injury attorney to discuss this matter up front.  Many personal injury attorneys do not help their clients with the property damage at all. At the Law Offices of Laura Hunt, we make sure you are fairly compensated for your vehicle or that it is fully repaired, and we do not charge for this service when handling the personal injury claim.

DETERMINING FAIR MARKET VALUE OF YOUR VEHICLE

The second part of a total loss claim is determining the fair market value of your car.  I generally explain this to clients as if you were going to sell your vehicle on the morning of the accident before the collision occurred, what would be the price that you would accept for the vehicle. The way we generally determine this number is to look at what we call in the business “comps “. This means comparable vehicles for sale. Most common vehicles can be searched easily on the Internet. Simply enter the year, make, and specific model of your vehicle and look for similar vehicles for sale. You will generally find a significant range in value often thousands of dollars depending on the vehicle.  We look for higher value comps that are as close to our client’s vehicle as possible to determine the fair market value. You want to compare things like options; for example, whether it has leather or cloth seats, whether it is turbo or not turbo, whether it has navigation or not, as well as mileage.

After you find the comparable vehicles for sale, print this information and be sure to include the name of the dealership or private seller on the documentation you print to reach them to verify the comparable sale. You can compare these with the amount the insurance company is offering you for the total loss of your vehicle and it should be comparable to these numbers.

GAP INSURNACE

When hen purchasing a new or newer vehicle, we urge our clients to obtain GAP insurance on their car loan. If the dealer offers this to you, you can research to compare rates with other carriers to make a comparison to what the dealer is offering you when you are buying the car.   You can do this on your phone at the dealership while in the process of purchasing the car. GAP insurance is insurance that protects you if your car is an accident, is a total loss, and has a fair market value of less than the loan balance.  Your insurance company or the other side will only pay the fair market value of the vehicle. Sometimes that is less than what is owed on the car. You could reach a situation where you still owe thousands of dollars on a vehicle you no longer have because the value was less than the loan. Unfortunately, this can and does happen. That is why we urge clients to have a GAP insurance to pay the gap in the fair market value and the amount of the loan balance. If you have already purchased a new vehicle and did not obtain gap insurance, it is something that you can add, and we urge you to do that.

CONTACT AN ATTORNEY IF YOUR VEHICLE IS TOTAL LOSS

By contacting a lawyer immediately, you can receive the most money for your vehicle. At my office, we are happy to handle the total loss of your vehicle at no cost along with your personal injury claim.  Having worked in the insurance industry as an attorney for 9 years before opening our boutique law firm specializing in helping injured people, I reviewed thousands of total loss claims.   With extensive experience in the insurance field, I can help you review your total loss to maximize the money you get for your vehicle.

At TheOneLawyer.com, we are here to serve our community and provide legal services in the Henderson and Las Vegas area. We are a boutique law firm providing experienced and personal representation to injured clients.  At the Law Offices of Laura Payne-Hunt, TheOneLawyer.com we provide professional and personal service to each and every one of our clients on various legal matters and have over 15 years of experience in reviewing insurance policies and in Nevada insurance law.   If you have a question regarding any type of personal injury or paying your medical bills from an accident, please do not hesitate to call the offices of TheOneLawyer.com and speak directly to attorney Laura Marie Payne-Hunt, Esq. a Henderson Injury Attorney for over 15 years.  Laura is recognized as one of Nevada’s Top 100 Lawyers.  She has the experience and knowledge to obtain the maximum settlement you deserve.  Please call our office if you or a loved one is injured.  We can make sure that you receive the care you need and deserve and advise on how to preserve evidence.  

At our office, we are experienced in helping injured victims get the compensation they are entitled to.  Insurance companies never have the best interest of the injured person at the top of their priorities.  They want to pay as little on every claim as possible.  Having worked for an insurance company as an attorney for 9 years before opening my boutique law firm specializing in helping injured people, I have reviewed thousands of auto accident claims and policy provisions.   

At the Henderson and Las Vegas Accident injury law offices of TheOneLaweyer.com, Laura Marie Payne-Hunt and her staff are here to help you and your family in the event that accidents and tragedies occur.  For any of your legal needs, do not hesitate to contact our Henderson and Las Vegas Accident injury offices.  TheOneLawyer.com is a boutique, family-owned law firm that specializes in helping injured people and the community of Las Vegas and Henderson Nevada with legal issues involving auto accidents, wrongful deaths, slip and falls, truck accidents, injuries to children, bicycle accidents, dog bites, product liability claims, and all types of injury claims.  Please do not hesitate to call us anytime you have a legal question or you or a loved one has sustained an injury at 702-450-(HUNT) 4868 and text 24/7 at 702-600-0032.