Nevada Legalizing Recreational Marijuana Could Lead to a Rise in Car Insurance Premiums

upset man sitting in front of car wreck

Nevada’s recent legalization of recreational marijuana could lead to a rise in car insurance premiums.

A 2.7% uptick in car accident rates has been registered in states where marijuana has been legalized, compared to their counterparts that haven’t yet taken this step, where figures have remained flat. Insurance companies are likely to attempt to offset this higher risk by raising premiums.

Insurers use a wide range of factors to determine risk and calculate premiums. The higher the risk, the more likely the insurer is to have to pay out on a claim and the higher the premium will be.

One of the factors they take into account is location. Drivers have to pay more if they live in an area with a higher number of auto accidents, due to the increased risk of being involved in a crash.

As Nevada has legalized marijuana for recreational purposes, insurance companies will likely implement a blanket increase in premiums. In states where marijuana is only legal for medical use, insurers can apply targeted increases to those drivers who pose a higher risk due to their use of marijuana in the treatment of their medical condition. In states like Nevada, though, this is not an option.

Marijuana Classed Similarly to Alcohol for DUIs

Nevada state law treats marijuana the same as alcohol regarding driving under the influence, with the penalties being just as severe. Unlike alcohol, though, even a minimal trace of marijuana in a driver’s blood will be classed as a DUI.

A recently passed law fixes an issue where innocent drivers could be accused of a marijuana DUI. Previously, saliva and urine screenings were acceptable to test for the presence of marijuana, but the compounds that appeared didn’t have any effect on the brain and could remain in the system for weeks. The new law states only blood screenings are acceptable, and only psychoactive compounds should be tested for whose presence would indicate recent usage.

Anyone who has been convicted of driving under the influence of marijuana can expect their car premiums to rise. If the driver is convicted multiple times, the insurer might opt to cancel the policy.

In the event of a car crash, the driver can also expect to pay out damages, as any auto accident attorney in Las Vegas will be able to secure a judgment in favor of the other party. In the worst case scenario, they could go to prison.