Car Insurance in Nevada

Five quotes and 40 minutes could save me $767.

On average, Nevada’s auto insurance rates are pretty consistent with the rest of the country. For those living in cities like Las Vegas, however, the state’s relaxed alcohol laws and pumped-up entertainment culture drive annual premiums almost $300 higher the rest of the state. Residents don’t have to take this as absolute, though. According to my research, there are hundreds of dollars in savings just waiting to be found.

When comparing my quotes for the state’s minimum coverage, I discovered over $700 of difference between only 5 insurance agencies. GEICO was the best car insurance company for me with a quote of $616, and State Farm was the only provider within $100 of GEICO. Now this doesn’t mean that these companies will be your cheapest option too. Insurance agencies use a wide variety of factors to calculate rates, and no two drivers will ever be the same.

Insurance companies use things like location, age, make and model, and many other factors to produce rates specifically for each customer. The best way to find cheap car insurance is to put in the work. I’d recommend checking as many companies as you have time and patience for (five at the very least)

If you gather all of your quotes using online tools, you should find a relatively quick and easy process. If you must call the company to obtain a quote, you may find the process extended by a few minutes. One way to keep call time to a minimum is to gather all  information pertinent to your vehicle (make, model, year, etc) and your driving history ahead of time.

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Our Top 5 Picks for the Best Car Insurance in Nevada

I started my search search by getting quotes from these five companies — they all meet my criteria for customer service and financial stability — and I’d recommend them to anyone in Nevada.

Insurer My quote
GEICO $616
State Farm $657
Liberty Mutual $980
The Hartford $1,384
American Family Insurance $1,329

No one needs the additional stress of squabbling with their provider during an accident. That’s why I chose the insurers that have the highest JD Power rankings for the Southwest region of the country and an A.M. Best rating of “Excellent” or greater. JD Power is a global marketing information services firm that awards grades based on customer service, and A.M. Best is an organization that scores insurance companies based on their financial solvency. So between the two, you can rest assured you’ll be treated well, and that your provider actually has the money to pay your claim.

When I looked at the data, there was a ridiculous $767 range in my quotes. GEICO was the cheapest at $616 per year, with State Farm at a relatively close second. After that, things went downhill quickly. Liberty Mutual landed just short of $1,000 but The Hartford and American Family Insurance broke the metaphorical ceiling with a rate of $1,329. Perhaps these companies hold their customer service reputation at a higher value than the others, but whatever the reason it just goes to show how volatile the market can be and how important it is to shop around.

If it were me, I would think about using some of those possible savings to upgrade my coverage and become better insured. Not only do companies often reward you for choosing better policies with discounts, you will probably find yourself fully appreciative of the extra coverage in the event of a collision as well.

Even If You’re Happy, It’s Best to Shop for a New Policy Every Couple of Years

As of the last few years, insurance providers have begun to calculate rates based on much more than a driver’s risk. The practice — called price optimization — is a profit maximizing technique that allows an insurer to estimate the likelihood its customers will comparison shop. A study by Earnix, found 68 percent of strategic price changes (over the course of a year) were directly related to driving up profitability. Insurance companies analyze a tremendous amount of your data like credit scores, web shopping habits, and social media activity to predict how likely you are to shop for better rates. Then, they can charge you just enough to maximize profit, but not so much that you find the payment uncomfortable.

Price optimization is one of the greatest incentives to shop around for better coverage each year. Not only will it help you find potential savings; it will keep your current provider from attempting to gouge you with incremental price hikes. Think about it: Insures take notice when you apply for quotes, and they definitely don’t want to lose you as a customer.

If you are concerned with price optimization on your policy or have noticed incremental or unexplainable increases in your premium, contact your agent and see what’s up. Even better, you could address a letter to your senator.

States like Washington and Florida (15 in total) have released bulletins addressing the use of price optimization based on non-risk factors (i.e. willingness to look for better prices). Unfortunately, Nevada has not taken any official steps to thwart price optimization by auto insurance agencies. So, for now, it’s up to the drivers themselves to avoid becoming a victim.

Nevada’s Minimum Coverage

The Bare Minimum

Nevada requires a relatively low amount of Liability insurance on any registered vehicle. Drivers  need $15,000 bodily injury coverage per person, $30,000 bodily injury coverage per accident, and $10,000 property damage coverage (that’s 15/30/10 in insurance speak).

The Best Car Insurance is Not Just Cheap Car Insurance

Maintaining higher coverage than the state’s minimum policy is actually a very good idea. Here’s why:

  • Every 17.9 years the average driver will have an accident. It’s only safe to assume you are not an exception.
  • The average cost of an accident that causes a disabling, but nonfatal injury, equals $79,400. Hitting a more expensive car, or causing more extensive bodily damage can send this number through the roof.

Let’s imagine I hit someone and injure them. Nevada’s bottom-of-the-barrel cheap car insurance requirements could leave a $60,000 bill hanging over my head — and that’s assuming only one person in the wreck was injured. Not to mention any property damages that exceed $10,000 become my responsibility as well. Coverage worth its salt starts at 50/100 for bodily injury and $50,000 for property damage. Most bills will not exceed these levels by much, but if the worst happens, things will be far more manageable.

I investigated the cost of upgraded coverage for several companies and some of the policies were over $700 more each year. Fortunately, I was able to find a 50/100/50 policy from GEICO that only exceeded the minimum policy cost by $200, and over 18 years, that is roughly $3,600 extra in total premium payments. Compare that to $60,000 in damages and possible bankruptcy, and the benefits of upgrading your policy are incredibly obvious.

If You Skip Coverage, It’ll Cost You

Like some other states Nevada has a database which keeps the records of all registered cars in state and cross references them against their proof of insurance. If the database finds a vehicle without coverage, a letter will be sent to the owner. The individual will have 15 days to reply to the letter with proof of insurance or their registration will be revoked. Reinstatement of registration will cost $250 the first time. If this happens more than once, rates will keep increasing up to $750.

If that person were to be caught driving that vehicle with suspended registration and no insurance coverage, he or she could be charged up to $1000 fine depending on how long the insurance had been lapsed. And in the event of a third violation, that driver’s license will be suspended for 30 days.

Worse yet, if they are involved in an accident totalling more than $750 worth of damages, one’s license and registration can be terminated on the spot no matter how many violations you have.

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Beat the Average Premium: 9 Ways to Snag Cheap Car Insurance Rates

Since there are a ton of factors that affect your rates, there are also a lot of ways to drive your costs down. Take a look at the average premium costs for in ten major cities in the state and a few ways you might be able to beat the average. (Just getting a few quotes and comparison shopping will put you way ahead of the game.)

Nine ways to save on auto insurance

 

FAQs

Why are Nevada’s rates so expensive?

There are two main things that help Nevada earn its title as the 12th most expensive state in the country: relaxed alcohol laws and Las Vegas. There are no mandated cut-off hours for the sale of alcohol. There’s even an acceptable level of blood alcohol content (0.02) for people under 21 years old — which is interesting given the state’s legal drinking age is in fact 21 years old. (And speaking of, alcohol related crash fatalities saw almost no improvement from 2009 to 2013.) Between those two regulations, or lack thereof, it’s easy to understand why companies find residents more risky to insure.

What to Expect
Average Monthly Premiums
United States $139
Nevada $130
Las Vegas $164
North Las Vegas $157
Henderson $145
Sparks $110
Reno $110
Carson City $98
Source Quadrant

Secondly, the city of Las Vegas has an insanely high average premium ($164 a month). In fact, it’s almost $250 more a year than Henderson, the next most expensive location. That said, it wouldn’t be farfetched to assume that Vegas’ rates alone bump the entire state’s average up by a few points.

The good news is that there is hope for Nevadans. Since 2009, the state has been on a climb from the 9th most expensive state for car insurance to the 12th due to new texting traffic laws and an increase of seat belt use (up by 4 percent).

What if I’m not a full-time resident?

According to the American Automobile Association, registration and maintenance of Nevada insurance laws only come into effect once you become a resident and must be done within 30 days of becoming one. Residency is acquired once you have a legal residence there, operate or are employed in business there, or simply declare residency to gain benefits not offered to non-residents.

If you’re simply visiting one of the state’s many scenic attractions, you don’t have to worry about registration unless you plan to be on location for an aggregate of 30 days. The only exception to this rule is for active military.

The Bottom Line

No one wants to pay more than you have to for auto insurance coverage, especially if averages are already high. Take the time to shop around, compare quotes, and investigate more than the minimum coverage — it’s the only way you’re going to find the best car insurance for you.

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Enter your zip code to compare rates from some of my top recommendations.

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