Insurance

Depending on where you live and what type of lifestyle you lead, you may need different types of insurance coverage to adequately protect you, your loved ones, and/or your property from loss or damage.

While some types of insurance are similar from state to state, others may vary slightly according to a state’s laws, policies, and practices. In Nevada, all forms of insurance are regulated by the Department of Business and Industry, Division of Insurance (DOI) in Carson City. DOI is in charge of insurer solvency, market conduct, and rate requests and is responsible for answering customer inquiries.

Types of Insurance to Consider

Health Insurance

Whether you get your insurance through your employer or privately, there are several options available to Nevadans. There are also several insurance agencies to help you navigate what you and your family will need for health insurance. Click here to see a list from the Chamber’s member directory. Some questions to consider:

  • Where are the medical offices and hospitals in the network located?
  • How are referrals to specialists handled?
  • What arrangements does the plan have for emergency care?
  • What health care services are covered?
  • What preventive health care services are covered?
  • Are there limits on medical treatments or other services?
  • How much is the health insurance premium?
  • What, if any, are the co-payments for specific services?
  • How much more will it cost to use non-network physicians?
  • What is the deductible and coinsurance for non-network care?
  • Is there an out of pocket maximum?
  • How many doctors are there to choose from?
  • Are doctors in the network private or group practice physicians?

(Source: Orgill/Singer Insurance Agency)

Workers’ Compensation Insurance

Workers’ compensation insurance provides wage replacement and medical benefits to employees injured or who have become ill during the course of their duties. For most business owners, this insurance coverage is mandatory. This type of insurance also protects the business owner from legal exposure.

The Metro Chamber provides a competitive workers’ compensation benefit program for its members through First Choice. Click here for more information on the program and how your business could potentially save up to 5 percent on base rate premiums.

Life Insurance

Life insurance provides a financial safety net for your family in the event of your death. There is no federal income tax on the payout of life insurance policies, ensuring your family receives its benefits in full.

The first step in choosing the best plan for your needs is to make a list of all of your family’s financial responsibilities. From there you can estimate the amount of money your family would need to satisfy financial obligations and make a lifestyle transition after your death. An insurance agent can help you choose the type of insurance policy that best fits your needs. Here are examples of standard coverage options:

  • Term insurance is coverage for a specific period of time
  • Permanent insurance covers the insured for an entire lifetime
    While a term insurance policy can be renewed after expiration, its premium will rise accordingly. Permanent insurance is not a progressive type of policy, meaning you won’t have to pay more as you get older.

Common permanent life insurance plans have a “cash value” option that offers the insured a number of choices. For instance, if you cancel your insurance coverage, the cash value option will pay out the lump sum of the premium.

It’s also possible to “borrow” against a life insurance plan (based on the total amount of the cash value) and use it as collateral. The “loan” will still require interest and, if not paid back in full, can reduce the amount of death benefit your family would ultimately receive in the event of your death. A permanent life insurance policy allows you to add additional insurance, or “riders,” to help specifically tailor your coverage to meet your needs. For more information, visit the following websites:

iii.org
The Insurance Information Institute offers clear and basic definitions for insurance coverage types.

doi.state.nv.us
The Nevada Division of Insurance details current information on insurance guidelines and restrictions for the state and provides updated news on legislation pertaining to the insurance industry.

Auto Insurance

As part of Nevada’s compulsory financial responsibility law, every motorist in Nevada is required to carry auto liability insurance. The minimum amount of liability insurance that satisfies Nevada law is:

  • $15,000 for any one person killed or injured in an accident caused by the policyholder;
  • $30,000 for bodily injury or death of two or more persons on any one accident;
  • $10,000 for injury to or destruction of property of others in any one accident

Depending on the amount of driving you do or the amount of protection you want, liability insurance may not be enough. Following is a list of the most common types of insurance coverage available to motorists:

  • Bodily Injury Liability protects you against the financial consequences of loss arising from injury to another person, up to the dollar amount stated in your policy.
  • Property Damage Liability is similar to bodily injury, except it protects you against a claim for damage to another person’s automobile or property.
  • Collision Insurance pays for damage to your vehicle caused by impact with another object or an overturn, irrespective of fault.
  • Comprehensive Insurance pays for damage to your vehicle caused by something other than a collision or upset.
  • Uninsured/Underinsured Motorists Insurance (UM/UMI) provides injury coverage to you and your passengers up to your policy limit if you’re involved in an accident caused by the owner or operator of an uninsured vehicle. This insurance also provides protection against a hit-and-run or when the at-fault driver’s policy limits are insufficient to cover losses.

You must present a Nevada Evidence of Insurance card to register your vehicle. The card must be presented at most registration transactions: first-time, renewals, reinstatement and license plate changes. It must be carried in your vehicle at all times and presented to any law enforcement officer upon request.

Sometimes when you purchase new insurance or renew your policy, the policy number changes and/or the insurance company name changes. These changes must be reported to DMV as soon as possible. Nevada has no grace period. A one day lapse in your insurance coverage will result in a possible suspension of your registration. The minimum penalty is a $251 reinstatement fee.

Homeowner’s Insurance

A homeowner’s insurance policy is actually several types of coverage combined for homeowners, condominium owners, and renters. A standard policy typically provides fire, lightning, windstorm, theft, and liability coverage. Various types of “optional coverage” are then made available to tailor the policy to meet a homeowner’s specific needs. Under a typical policy, the first type of property to be covered is the main physical dwelling. In addition to living quarters, this includes structures such as attached and detached garages, additions, tool sheds, and other similar buildings.

All homeowner’s policy forms include liability coverage, which protects you in the event you are sued by someone who claims your negligence injured them or damaged their property. If a suit is filed, your insurance company covers the cost of your defense, whether you are found liable or not. If you are found liable, your insurer will pay damages assessed against you up to the liability coverage limits on your policy.

Here are some ways to potentially save money on your homeowner’s insurance deductible:

  • Increase your deductible. This is the amount of money you have to pay toward a loss before insurance money takes effect. If you can afford to pay slightly higher deductibles, you can save more on your premiums.
  • Purchase your home, life, and auto policies from the same firm. Many companies will offer you a discount for multiple forms of coverage.
  • Are you buying a new home or an older home? A newer home is likely to be in better condition, with newer electrical and plumbing installments. Because of this, companies may offer discounts.
  • Don’t insure your land – just your home. It’s not necessary to include the cost of your land when obtaining insurance. Only your home and its contents are at risk for fire, theft and other losses.
    Invest in security systems, such as burglar alarms and smoke detectors. These security measures can reduce your insurance premiums.
  • If you smoke, quit. Studies show that more that 23,000 home fires are caused every year as a result of smoking. For this reason, many firms offer discounts to non-smokers.
  • Ask your agent whether you qualify for special rates or discounts. Companies have different criteria for rate quotes. You may qualify for a special rate based on your age, the number of years you’ve been with the company or other factors.
  • If you belong to a business organization, alumni association, or professional society, you may qualify for special rates. The Metro Chamber has several member insurance agencies that can assist you with your policy needs.
  • Review your policy every year. If you’ve added or removed expensive items within your household, it could affect your rates.

Source: Orgill/Singer Insurance Agency

Flood Insurance

Contrary to popular belief, it does rain in Las Vegas, and some areas of the valley are susceptible to flash flooding. In Nevada, flood insurance is excluded under standard homeowner and renter policies. However, flood insurance is available to all residents of Clark County and the incorporated cities within its boundaries, regardless of whether a property is located within a flood plain. Policies covering damages to personal property are available to renters, as well as homeowners.

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