Car insurance providers look carefully at the new law in Las Vegas and how that may affect car insurance premiums. The new law in Vegas, put into effect this week, prevents police from responding to minor car accidents, or fender benders. City police have used over 250 man hours per week responding to such accidents up until this new law was enacted. Police will not have more time to respond to more pressing police calls.
The auto insurance industry worries that the access to insurance fraud without police presence is much greater which will cause rates to rise within the city, according to Michael Geeser of the Nevada Insurance Council. Other cities such as San Diego, San Fransisco and Los Angeles have similar fender bender laws. Geeser continues, “If you have a habitual red light runner and they cause accidents that are not injury-related, than that goes unnoticed by the insurance industry, because they only note citations.” Marked impact on car insurance premiums in San Diego, San Fransisco or Los Angeles due to the change in police response policy has not been reported. Although Los Angeles ranks worse than Las Vegas in an Allstate Insurance study of the top 200 cities’ driver’s accident rate. Las Vegas comes in at 130, Los Angeles at 181.
While car insurance premiums are dependent on many different factors including type of car driven, previous driving record, and area in which a person lives, this new law in Las Vegas could lower the bill of habitual offenders and raise the cost to good drivers. In 2013 Metro police recorded 114 deaths caused by an automobile accident, 99 in 2012 and 62 in 2011. Auto fatalities are on the rise, which is the main concern of the police. “Fatalities are more important than property-damage crashes. We need to focus more on preventing fatalities.” said Capt. Mark Tavarez of the Metropolitan Police Department’s Traffic Bureau.
Drivers involved in a minor auto accident are expected now to take pictures, trade information, and file forms with their insurance providers which is directly causing the concern of the industry over potential fraudulent activity which will consequently cause a rise in insurance premiums. This rise in premiums comes at a time when skepticism around how rates are calculated is feverish among the population.
Nevada ranked 8th in the country in highest car insurance premiums as of 2012 due to the sharp rise of auto accident related fatalities and the high rate of auto theft, where the state ranks 2nd.