What To Do If You’re In a Car Accident Without Insurance But Not At Fault In Nevada

Driving without insurance in Nevada has serious consequences on its own—but you could face additional financial and legal repercussions after an accident.
Written by Melanie Krieps Mergen
Reviewed by Shannon Martin
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If you’re found at fault for a car accident in
Nevada
without a car insurance policy of your own, you could be on the hook for paying for others’ damages and injuries out of pocket. In many cases, you’ll also be responsible for additional fines and fees, and in severe cases, you could face criminal charges.
It would be an understatement to say that car accidents are enough of a bummer on their own. But if you don’t have
car insurance
, you could end up dealing with an additional set of legal and financial woes on top of an already difficult situation. Of course, the same is also true if you’re insured, but the at-fault driver isn’t.
So, what happens if you’re involved in a car accident in Nevada and one of you doesn’t have insurance? Here’s an overview of what you can expect in different scenarios.
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What to do if you’re in a car accident without insurance in Nevada and not at fault

Car insurance is required by law in Nevada, and going without it can leave you with hefty legal and financial consequences. 
First and foremost, if you get into an accident in Nevada, you must remain at the scene. No one wants to pay penalties for not having insurance, but regardless of fault, the consequences of fleeing the scene of a car accident would be far more disastrous—especially when injuries or fatalities are involved. (And because of Nevada’s reporting requirements from insurance providers, it’s quite possible the DMV could already be aware of your lack of insurance anyway.)
Additionally, if you leave the scene and law enforcement responds, they won’t be able to record your account of what happened—which could become a problem when it comes time to determine fault.
Nevada law
requires that, after an accident, the driver of any vehicle involved must:
  • Exchange information with the other driver(s), including their name, address, and vehicle registration number
  • Provide the same information to any law enforcement responding to the scene
  • Provide “reasonable assistance” to anyone injured in the accident
Failing to comply with those requirements could result in a category B felony charge with a prison sentence of two to 20 years and a fine of $2,000 to $5,000. Additional charges could apply for each injury or fatality that occurs as a result of the accident.
So, if it wasn’t already clear enough: don’t leave the scene! Here’s how to respond instead:
  • Move vehicles to the side of the road when its safe to do so (this is required by law, too)
  • Check yourself and others for injuries
  • Call 911 if necessary, or call local law enforcement’s non-emergency line if there are no injuries and no threats to public safety
  • Exchange information with other drivers as required by Nevada law—and get insurance information, too
  • Get contact information from other witnesses, if possible
  • Document the scene of the accident with photos, videos, and other means—this can help you later if any disputes about fault arise later
  • If law enforcement is responding to the accident, wait for their okay before leaving the scene
If you’re not at fault for the accident, the at-fault driver’s liability insurance should cover applicable expenses for repairs or medical bills after you file a claim. If the other driver is also uninsured, you may have to file a lawsuit to recover damages.

Who decides fault in a car accident in Nevada?

Insurance companies determine who is at fault after an accident. They’ll use information from the accident report submitted by law enforcement, as well as any other available evidence to make their determination.
That’s why it’s important to document evidence at the scene—any additional information you can provide in your claim with the other driver’s insurance company could help your case if you weren’t at fault.

Do you need to report a car accident in Nevada? 

Not necessarily. If there were no injuries or deaths in the accident and there was less than $750 in damage, you might not need to 
That said, assessing the cost of certain damage at the scene can be difficult, and you’ll still want to exchange the necessary information with other drivers involved.
You must submit a
traffic crash report form
to the Nevada DMV within 10 days of the accident if no police report was made and there was death, injury, or more than $750 in damages.

What if you’re at fault?

The penalties that come with driving without insurance in Nevada can be costly, but as we’ve mentioned above, fleeing the scene could leave you with far more serious charges.
Because Nevada is a
modified comparative negligence state
, you’ll be financially responsible for your portion of the other driver’s damages. If you are deemed 51% percent negligent or more for the accident, you won’t be able to claim damages from any other parties involved. However, if you don’t have insurance, the not at fault driver can file a lawsuit against you to recover these damages. 
In addition to any legal and financial consequences from the accident itself, you’ll also be responsible for the applicable penalties for going without insurance, which we’ll get to below.

What if you’re hit by an uninsured driver in Nevada?

What if you have car insurance, but another driver involved in the accident doesn’t?
As stated above, if you’re deemed less than 51% at fault, the at-fault driver is responsible for covering their portion of your damages. If they’re without insurance, you can sue them for damages, but if they can’t pay for them upfront, you could wait a long time for a payout.
And in Nevada, an estimated 10.4% of drivers were uninsured in 2019, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III). So while your chances of being involved in an accident with an uninsured motorist here may lower than other states, they’re certainly not zero.
That’s why some drivers opt to add
uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage
(UM/UIM) to their policy. These can help cover your expenses for medical bills, loss of income, home care, and more if the at-fault driver is either uninsured or lacks sufficient coverage.
Additional options that could help protect your bottom line are
medical payments (MedPay)
coverage and
collision coverage
. MedPay provides the initial payments toward medical bills for you and your passengers regardless of who is at fault. Once this limit is exhausted, the UM/UIM coverage will kick in when applicable. 
Collision coverage is the only way to have your vehicle repaired from a hit-and-run or an uninsured driver. You would receive a payment to either repair your car or replace it up to the
actual cash value (ACV)
of the vehicle,
minus the collision deductible

Penalties for driving without insurance in Nevada

As a driver in Nevada, you’re required to carry a minimum amount of car insurance coverage—and going without comes with costly consequences. 
What they are will vary depending on the circumstances, including how long you’ve gone without insurance and how many times you’ve been without it within a five-year period, but they can include:
While it might be the case in some states, there’s no grace period for lapsed insurance coverage in Nevada. If the DMV finds you’ve gone just one day without insurance, your registration could be suspended, and you’ll have to pay a fee to reinstate it.
For a first offense, going 30 days or less without insurance could cost you a reinstatement fee of $250 at the DMV, while 181 days or longer could cost you that same fee plus an additional penalty for a total of $1,250. If you’ve gone 91 days or more without insurance, you’ll also be required to maintain an SR-22 insurance policy.
A second offense within five years could cost you anywhere from $500 to $1,500, plus the SR-22 requirement if you’ve gone more than 91 days without a policy.
The consequences escalate further after a third offense within five years. Fines and fees can range from $750 to $1,750, and regardless of how long you’ve gone without insurance, the SR-22 requirement applies—as does a license suspension of at least 30 days.
Especially when you get to the higher end of these penalties, the fines and fees start to look like the cost of an insurance premium themselves, making it a lot less costly to make sure you have the right amount of insurance coverage in the first place.
Plus, car insurance providers licensed in Nevada are required to validate policies with the DMV, and the department will regularly check with your provider to confirm your policy is still active, so there’s no easy way to go under the radar without car insurance in Nevada. 

Minimum required car insurance in Nevada

So, what’s the
minimum amount of car insurance
you’re legally required to carry in Nevada?
You’ll need to have at least the following amount of liability coverage in these areas:
While having this minimum amount of coverage is an important start, more serious accidents can easily exceed these amounts. That’s why experts often recommend raising these limits to $100,000 per person, $300,000 per accident for bodily injury liability, and $100,000 for property damage liability. You’ll have much more financial protection, and your premium can stay affordable in many cases.
Another consideration: liability coverage won’t pay for damage to your own vehicle. That’s where
collision coverage
or
comprehensive coverage
can come in. In combination, these two coverages can protect your car in many scenarios, from crashes to theft, vandalism, fire, or natural disasters.

Driving without insurance can increase premiums

While each provider weighs rating factors differently, driving history is always a significant part in
determining the cost of your car insurance premium
—and whether a provider will be willing to cover you at all.
This makes one final reason not to go without car insurance in Nevada. If you get
caught without car insurance
, insurance companies could deem you a higher risk and charge you more for premiums after a violation—for years. 
Long story short: adequate coverage is always ideal, but carrying the minimum required car insurance in Nevada is necessary.
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