Las Vegas Sun

April 20, 2024

Bill to provide cheaper insurance to low-income drivers advances

CARSON CITY -- A bill to offer lower-cost auto insurance to low-income families in Clark County has been passed by the Senate Commerce, Labor and Energy Committee.

The vote was 4-3 on Friday with Republicans opposed. The measure faces an uncertain future since it would have to gain a two-thirds majority in the Senate. Democrats outnumber Republicans 11-10.

The two-thirds majority is required because the program would be financed by a 50-cent fee on every insurance policy on a private car in Nevada.

Current law requires a motorist to have minimum coverage for bodily injury or death at $15,000 per person and $30,000 for two or more people per accident, and $10,000 to cover property damage. Assembly Bill 299 would reduce that required coverage to $10,000 per person and $20,000 for two or more people per accident, and property damage coverage at $3,000.

A family with an income of 250 percent below the federal poverty level would qualify for the insurance but would have to show an income tax return. Figures released by the state Friday show the jobless rate in Clark County at 12.1 percent for April, the highest in the state among metropolitan areas.

If passed and signed by the governor, it would become effective July 1, 2012.

A representative of State Farm Insurance Co. told a previous hearing that the lower coverage would result in a savings to policyholders of about $50 annually.

To qualify, a person must be at least 19 years old with three years of driving experience and no more than one demerit for a moving traffic violation or not more than one accident involving property damage in which he or she was found to be at fault.

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