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What are the penalties for a lapse of auto insurance in Nevada?


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Question: I recently moved and in the process missed the bill to pay my car insurance and a DMV insurance verification letter.  What penalties will I receive from the state for the lapse in coverage? What should I do now?  I’m in Nevada.

Answer:  The consequences for a lapse in auto insurance coverage can include vehicle registration suspension, driver’s license suspension, fines and reinstatement fees -- not to mention possible jail time if you’re cited for driving without insurance. That's why even in the chaos of moving -- whether from one part of town to another or to a whole new city -- you need to make certain that your essential bills are taken care of. 

Nevada, like many other states, has no grace period for auto insurance (not even for one day).

It also has an electronic verification system set up for auto insurance. The Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) was quickly informed by your auto insurance provider when your policy was canceled for non-payment and sent you the verification letter that you didn’t respond to.

The next step by the Nevada DMV is to send you a certified letter to notify you that your vehicle’s registration will be suspended, effective 10 days after the date of that letter. To reinstate your registration, you'll need to provide proof of current auto insurance coverage and take care of your penalties associated with your lapse in coverage.

How long you've been without car insurance makes a difference, both in penalties from the state and whether you can renew your old policy instead of obtaining a new one.

In July 2011, a new system of tired fees and fines went into effect for Nevada motorists found with a lapse in auto insurance (per Nevada Statutes 482.557).

For a first offense:

  • A lapse of 1-30 days results in $250 reinstatement fee.
  • A lapse of 31-90 days results in $250 reinstatement fee and $250 fine.
  • A lapse of 91-180 days results in $250 reinstatement fee and $500 fine, plus you must file an SR-22.
  • A lapse of 181 days or more results in $250 reinstatement fee and $1,000 fine, plus you must file an SR-22.

If this isn’t your first time with a lapse in auto insurance, then your penalties are more severe.

For a second offense:

  • A lapse of 1-30 days results in $500 reinstatement fee.
  • A lapse of 31-90 days results in $500 reinstatement fee and $500 fine.
  • A lapse of 91-180 days results in $500 reinstatement fee and $500 fine, plus you must file an SR-22.
  • A lapse of 181 days or more results in $500 reinstatement fee and $1,000 fine, plus you must file an SR-22.

Third or subsequent offense:

  • A lapse of 1-30 days results in $750 reinstatement fee, plus driver’s license suspension of a minimum of 30 days.
  • A lapse of 31-90 days results in $750 reinstatement fee and $500 fine, plus a driver’s license suspension of a minimum of 30 days.
  • A lapse of 91-180 days results in $750 reinstatement fee and $750 fine, plus you must file an SR-22 and a driver’s license suspension of a minimum of 30 days.
  • A lapse of 181 days or more results in $750 reinstatement fee and $1,000 fine, plus you must file an SR-22 and a driver’s license suspension of a minimum of 30 days.

Some auto insurers will reinstate your policy up to 30 days after the lapse if you sign a statement of no loss. Doing this may come with reinstatement fees, plus you’ll normally need to pay for a certain number of months upfront (two to six usually).

If your policy was canceled longer than 30 days ago or your previous provider doesn’t want you back, then you’ll need to shop around for a new policy. Due to your cancellation for nonpayment and lapse in coverage, your rates will likely be higher than you were paying before.

Even so, by comparison shopping for your next car insurance policy, you should be able to find an auto insurer that is pricing competitively for your risk factors. Get quotes with multiple insurers; the difference between companies can be hundreds of dollars.

And remember not to drive until you get your registration and insurance issues taken care of. Nevada law enforcement officers are mandated to remove the license plates from any vehicle they find with suspended registration and they may also impound the car. And a citation for driving without insurance could result in a license suspension and court-assessed fines.

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1 Responses to "What are the penalties for a lapse of auto insurance in Nevada?"
  1. Roman

    Road trip! I am going on trip with my female dog named Flicka. Will my insurance covered her if she got hurt in a car accident?

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