The State of Nevada, along with most other states, requires auto insurance be carried on every registered motor vehicle. Known as compulsory auto insurance, this law (NRS 485) exists to ensure that motorists take financial responsibility for any damage or injury caused by their negligence behind-the-wheel. Compulsory auto insurance laws benefit the public, much like workers compensation laws, by requiring that a minimum amout of coverage be provided to injured persons, or to repair damaged property.
Despite this law, Nevada still has a problem with uninsured motorists driving vehicles illegally on our streets. In 2009, the IRC estimated 13% of all vehicles in Nevada were operating without insurance. The good news? That number has fallen from prior years, which have been over 17%, depending on who conducts the study. Much of the credit for this decline can be attributed to our Department of Motor Vehicles, and the LIVE (Liability Insurance Verified Electronically) database system.
DMV’s LIVE program is an update to the old IVP system that required insurance companies send in policy data via computer tapes or diskettes. Nowadays, all of your auto insurance policy information is transmitted electronically to the DMV and matched up to your registration. The stated goal of LIVE is to keep uninsured motorists off the road by suspending the registration of vehicles that do not have an active auto insurance policy.
Keep in mind that LIVE is a computer system and things do occasionally go wrong. If you have ever gotten a postcard from DMV that says your auto insurance is “unverified” and you know the policy is active, then something has gone wrong. Occasionally we find the policy holder name does not exactly match to the registration. Or, the VIN on the policy might have an error that creates a mismatch. Whatever the reason, the fix is usually simple and requires only a phone call to our office.
If you actually did have a lapse in auto insurance coverage, expect to pay a fine to reinstate your license plates. The fines for a coverage gap changed in 2011 and are now much more severe. For a first offense of less than 30 days lapse, the reinstatement fee is $250 per vehicle. If the lapse is over 30 days a tiered fine is also charged, ranging from $250 to $1,000. If the lapse is 2nd or 3rd offense, the reinstatement fees and fines are much higher – up to $1750 per vehicle. An SR-22 filing will be also be required if the lapse in coverage is over 91 days.