WILL MAKING A CLAIM ON MY AUTO INSURANCE POLICY RAISE MY RATES?

One of the questions we often get from clients is “Will making a claim on my insurance raise my auto insurance rates here in Nevada? We encourage clients to make their property damage claim on their own policy because your insurance company has a contract with you to act in good faith and repair your vehicle properly.  The adverse insurance company, aka the insurance company of the driver that caused the automobile collision, does not a have a statutory obligation to act in good faith towards you when adjusting your claim. However, many of our clients are reluctant to contact their own insurance company, fearing that they will suffer a rate increase as a result.

In addition to property damage claims, we often encourage clients to make claims for their UIM coverage on their own policy when their injuries exceed the coverage of the adverse driver. This is a common occurrence in the state.  Nevada recently raised the state minimum insurance policy to 25/ 50 / 20. Although a few states such as Texas and Maine have higher minimum limits requirements, Nevada is now in line with most states as far as state requirements for minimum limits for liability insurance coverage. 

The short-hand terminology of 25/50/20 means that there is $25,000 per person in coverage available for an auto accident and $50,000 total per accident for all claimants.   Therefore, if there are two injured people they can each collect $25,000.00 but if there are more than two injured people, the $50,000 must be split between all of them and no one person can collect more than $25,000.00 for their injuries from that policy, regardless of their medical bills. 

With the staggering cost of medical care in the state of Nevada,  especially in Las Vegas and Henderson for treating trauma patients for emergency care, $25,000 often does not go very far in a serious accident. When this occurs many drivers have been wise enough to purchase what is called UM/UIM Insurance. This is coverage that you carry on your own policy that covers you for your injuries in the event the other driver is not insured at all or does not have enough insurance to pay your damages.  Although clients worry that their rates will increase, Nevada has a statute specifically on point protecting Nevada drivers who sustain personal injuries in this 

situation.  NSR687B.385  protects Nevada drivers from insurance companies improperly raising their rates for non-at fault claims. 

Specifically in Nevada NRS 687B .385 states as follows:

An insurer shall not cancel, refuse to renew or increase the premium for renewal of a policy of motor vehicle insurance covering private passenger cars or commercial vehicles as a result of any claims made under the policy with respect to which the insured was not at fault.

In addition to the Nevada revised statute, pursuant to the Nevada administrative code which governs the practices of insurance companies, the state legislature has clearly outlined what insurance companies can and cannot do when it comes to an unjustifiable rate increase.  The pertinent section of the Nevada Administrative Code (NAC), 687b.850 provides as follows:

1.   An insurer shall not cancel, refuse to renew or increase the premium charge for the liability coverage under a policy of motor vehicle insurance upon renewal of the policy of motor vehicle insurance because of an accident that is not a chargeable accident.

2.   Each insurer shall file with the Division its definition of a “chargeable accident” and shall use the filed definition. The insurer’s definition of a “chargeable accident” may include only those accidents for which the insured is 50 percent or more at fault.]

3.   Each filing of a rate for a policy of motor vehicle insurance submitted to the Division must define a “chargeable accident” in terms of a monetary amount of damage.

4.   An insurer may not define a claim made under the comprehensive portion of a policy of motor vehicle insurance as a chargeable accident in order to increase the premium for the policy or to cancel the policy, but the insurer may use a series of such claims to discontinue comprehensive coverage or to offer a higher deductible for comprehensive coverage upon the renewal of the policy.

It is clear in the code that the insurance company cannot refuse to renew your policy or increase your premium for your automobile insurance for an accident that is not “a chargeable accident“. Often times, we have experienced insurance companies trying to list an accident as “chargeable” on their own insured’s insurance policy when it was clearly not their own insured’s fault. We have even seen insurance companies’ list accidents as chargeable to their own insured when they are fighting liability on behalf of their insured in the courts. Many personal injury law firms will not assist clients with this matter when it  arises and will advise clients to contact their insurance agents themselves. I have helped numerous clients over the years and have had this designation reversed by my clients own insurance company when it was improperly listed as a chargeable accident under their policy. I help clients at every level and through every facet of their personal injury case. With nearly 20 years’ experience in the field, I pride myself on maintaining a boutique law firm dedicated to protecting the rights and interests of my clients.

The statute and the code are clear on their face. The statute states that insurance companies are not allowed to raise rates in Nevada for their policy holders that make under insured or uninsured motorist claims. These claims are claims that are not result of the fault of their insured policyholder.  The Supreme Court has addressed the statute and upheld the language of the statute, although the insurance companies have tried to fight this statue claiming it is unconstitutional. In the case of Reinkemeyer vs Safeco Ins. Company, 16 P 3d 1069, 117 Nev. 4. (2001), the Nevada Supreme Court held that this statute which prohibits an  insurer from canceling, not renewing, or increasing premiums for a policyholder of a casualty or property insurance policy as a result of making a claim for which the insured was not at fault is not facially unconstitutional under the state due process clause. Therefore, NRS 687B.385 protects Nevada policy holders from rate increases or attempts by insurance company to cancel their policy when they make a claim for which they are not at fault for the accident.

With a large percentage of Nevada drivers being uninsured or underinsured and  given the low policy limit requirements in the state, you need an attorney that can recover all damages on your behalf and make sure you are fully compensated for the injuries that you sustain. Laura Payne Hunt has been representing injured people for over 15 years and worked directly for the insurance companies for years prior to helping injured people.  My experience in insurance coverage law and personal injury law has helped my clients recover substantial damages for the injuries they have sustained.

If you have a question about  any type of insurance policy or  accident involving a 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 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 auto 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.