DID YOU KNOW YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY MUST OFFER YOU COVERAGE FOR YOUR MEDICAL BILLS?

Three Things your insurance company is required to do:

  1. Offer you UIM/UM benefits equal to your liability coverage;
  2. Offer you  medical payments coverage in the amount of $1,000.00;
  3. Obtain your written rejections if you do not purchase these coverages.

Auto insurance is complex and multi-faceted. There are a number of coverages that make up what people call their auto insurance. Throughout my  blogs, I have focused on different areas of insurance law. This blog will focus on what is known as the “higher offer rule” in Nevada. This rule requires auto insurance companies to offer you underinsured motorist coverage in the same limits and amounts as your comprehensive collision coverage.  It also requires insurance companies to offer $1,000.00 in medical payments coverage to you for your medical bills.

As of July 1, 2018, the minimum motor vehicle liability coverage for Nevada increased to $25,000 in bodily injury per person and $50,000.00 per accident and $20,000 in property damage per accident. This is commonly cited as 25/50/20. It is highly recommended by the Law Offices of Laura Payne Hunt to purchase limits greater than that if you are able to. This insurance is called liability insurance and protects you if you are liable for an accident against damage to other people. However, you also have the option of purchasing UIM coverage which covers your own injuries in the event that the other driver does not have enough insurance or has no insurance at all. 

http://doi.nv.gov/Consumers/Automobile-Insurance/

The law is very clear and specific regarding this issue in the state of Nevada.  The legislature enacted the following statute to allow consumers to understand their options when it comes to purchasing auto insurance in Nevada: 

NRS 687B.145  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.

. . . 

2.  Except as otherwise provided in subsection 5, insurance companies transacting motor vehicle insurance in this State must offer, on a form approved by the Commissioner, uninsured and underinsured vehicle 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 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. Uninsured and underinsured vehicle coverage must include a provision which enables the insured to recover up to the limits of the insured’s own coverage any amount of damages for bodily injury from the insured’s insurer which the insured is legally entitled to recover from the owner or operator of the other vehicle to the extent that those damages exceed the limits of the coverage for bodily injury carried by that owner or operator. If an insured suffers actual damages subject to the limitation of liability provided pursuant to NRS 41.035, underinsured vehicle coverage must include a provision which enables the insured to recover up to the limits of the insured’s own coverage any amount of damages for bodily injury from the insured’s insurer for the actual damages suffered by the insured that exceed that limitation of liability.

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 a crash. 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.

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This statute requires an auto insurer to give their customer notice on an approved form that they can purchase medical payments coverage and underinsured motorist benefits. It is important to point out that they are required to offer you $1000.00 in medical payments coverage but you can purchase much higher limits than that.  At the personal injury Law Offices of Laura Payne-Hunt, we highly advise our clients to purchase a minimum of $5,000.00 in medical payments coverage. 

The statute mandates the insurance company  offer IUIM/UM coverage to an insured person in the amount equal to the limits of their liability bodily injury coverage.  This means that if you purchase liability limits in the amount of 100/300, they insurance company must offer you UIM/UM coverage in the amount of 100/300.  The insurance company has the duty to prove that they made this offer at the time insurance was purchased and to maintain the appropriate forms. The insurance company is also required to use language understandable  to the layman in these forms. 

 In Nevada, all carriers generally use the same form because it needs to be approved by the Nevada Department of insurance.  After the policy is purchased, although the insurance company is not required to re-offer the coverage at the time of renewal, “Each renewal must include a copy of the form offering these coverages.“.   It is important to review your insurance policies regularly to make sure that the coverage that you have is the best needed for your family. If you have any questions regarding any insurance policies or coverages,  please don’t please feel free to call the personal injury Offices Of Laura Payne-Hunt. We have been practicing in insurance more for over 20 years and can answer any questions that you have regarding your auto insurance policies and coverages.

Although insurance companies do not like to publish their rates, the chart below, from Insure.com identified the average annual UM coverage rate of the 20 most popular cars in seven states using available rates from eight national insurance carriers.   This cost can vary based on your vehicles, other policies, age of drivers, and a number of other underwriting factors.  However, this chart gives a general idea of cost of obtaining UIM/UM insurance.  

State Average price of UM coverage
California$105
Florida$267
Massachusetts$18
Maine$23
Ohio$46
Texas$110
Oregon$49

As you can see, the difference between Massachusetts and Florida is significant.  The cost of UIM/UM coverage can vary dramatically by location. This is because Massachusetts has the lowest percentage of uninsured motorists in the country at around 4 percent.  However, Florida has the second-worst, ranking with 24 percent of their drivers uninsured. Insurance companies rates differ state to state based upon numerous factors. In order to get the best rate for your family, comparing companies is critical. Do your research.   There are numerous websites that can help you check and compare rates of different insurance companies. I highly recommend that you only go with a larger carrier. At the personal injury Law Offices of Laura Payne-Hunt, Esq., I tell my clients, “if you have not seen a commercial for the company, don’t buy insurance from them”!

If you have a question regarding UIM/UM coverage and/or any questions regarding any personal injury, whether from a car accident or a slip and fall or any combination of injuries, please don’t hesitate to call The Law Offices of Laura Payne Hunt, PC, and Henderson Injury Attorneys for over 13 years. Please call our office if you or if 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. If you have been in any type of accident and have questions, please don’t hesitate to contact our Henderson and Las Vegas Accident injury offices today. 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 reviewed thousands of auto accident claims and policy provisions.   

          At the Henderson and Las Vegas Accident injury Law Offices of Laura Payne Hunt, PC we 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 Henderson offices. The Law Offices of Laura Payne Hunt is a boutique, family owned law firm in Henderson that specializes in helping injured people and the community with legal issues involving auto accidents, wrongful deaths, slip and falls, truck accidents, injuries to children, bicycle accidents, dog bites, 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.