Is There Enough Insurance?

By Paul R. Kirst, Esq.

At Craig P. Kenny & Associates we provide outstanding legal representation and you can count on us achieving the best possible results for you. However, there are sometimes limits to what we can accomplish – policy limits to be specific!

When you purchase automobile insurance you must decide not only how much coverage to purchase, but also which coverage to purchase. While you get to make the decision as to how much coverage you need to protect yourself, you are unfortunately at the mercy of those you share the roads with as to how much insurance they buy…insurance designed to protect you. Fortunately there are minimum requirements that, in 2018, were increased from 15/30/10 or $15,000 for bodily injury per person, $30,000 for all persons for bodily injury per crash and $10,000 for property damage per crash to the new minimums of 25/50/20 or $25,000 for bodily injury per person, $50,000 for all persons for bodily injury per crash and $20,000 for property damage per crash. For a more detailed discussion of that change please see Larry Mittin’s December 2018 article, “The Pros & Cons of increased minimum car insurance limits.”

Despite the increased minimum limits, you may find that the other party simply does not have enough coverage to cover the costs of medical care associated with your injuries – or your related general damages (generically referred to as “pain and suffering”). Worse yet, you may not know if the other party had enough insurance until you are well into your treatment.

First, a brief – and cursory – history. Prior to 2015 injured parties or their counsel were required to disclose to insurance companies updates on their medical condition, treatment, and bills. In turn, insurance companies were required to disclose the policy limits of the driver responsible for the accident. This process was mandated under Nevada Revised Statute 690B.042. Under the provisions of that statute an injured party did not need to guess what insurance was available to protect them.

NRS 690B.042 was repealed in 2015, leaving injured parties with no sure way to determine what coverage might be available through the responsible driver. While private vendors sprang into action to fill this void, the information they provided was not (and is not) always 100% dependable.

Fast forward to 2019 when new legislation was enacted to address the pitfallsm of uncertainty – to both the insurance companies (who could no longer rely on timely disclosure of injury related information) and to injured parties, who could no longer count on knowing the amount of available coverage. Under the new law, which went into effect on October 1, 2019, if an insurance company requests an authorization to gather an injured party’s medical records and if that authorization is signed and returned to the insurance company by the injured party, then the insurance company must disclose the policy limits.

Again, however, the statute is relatively new and the attorneys and insurance companies are still trying to work out its details, meaning, and application. As such, there is still some uncertainty as well as vendors offering to determine the available coverage when it is not disclosed by the insurance company.

The above leads to the inevitable conclusion that it is in your – and your family’s – best interest to take matters into your own hands and purchase additional insurance to protect you and your family. Such coverage includes MedPay and UM/UIM – but that is a discussion for another day and another article. Until then, talk to your agent and get the skinny on those two types of coverage.