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If Nevada mandates insurance hike, would it harm or help?

Nevada legislators are reportedly torn in two directions on a proposal to increase the state's minimum auto insurance levels.

On one hand, lawmakers acknowledge that current insurance levels are too low to adequately address the high costs of medical care for accident injury victims. On the other hand, legislators worry that raising insurance costs, especially during tough economic times in this state, will cause increasing numbers of motorists to simply drive without insurance.

Assemblyman Mark Sherwood of Henderson said "it sucks to be poor." It would undoubtedly "suck" even more to be forced to pay an extra $300 per year to adequately cover expenses in car crashes.

Sherwood rejects the bill as harmful to the poor.

Assemblywoman Dina Neal of North Las Vegas said she knows people who are employed and making $36,000 per year who have trouble paying their car insurance bills.

"This has nothing to do with the recession," she said. "We are working-class people living on fixed incomes."

The bill to raise the minimum amount of insurance needed to legally operate a motor vehicle in Las Vegas was proposed by Assemblyman William Horne.

Horne was injured in a motor vehicle collision in which the other motorist had only the minimum amount of liability coverage mandated by law. Liability insurance pays for damage done to other drivers and other vehicles, rather than any injuries you may suffer or damage your vehicle may sustain.

A new, higher limit would raise car insurance premiums from 18 percent to 54 percent, depending on a variety of factors including driver age, insurance company, driving record and where the driver lives.

Insurance company lobbyists said the percentage of uninsured drivers would rise if the bill is passed.

Drivers are now required to have insurance covering $15,000 for injuries or death for one person and $30,000 for the injuries or deaths of all people in a crash. Property damage coverage is currently at a minimum of $10,000.

The new law, if enacted, would raise the totals to $50,000 for a single person, $100,000 for all people injured or killed, and $25,000 for vehicle damage.

Resource: Ely News: "Bill would increase insurance minimum coverage": March 4, 2011

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