The most recent data from the Insurance Research Council (IRC) estimates that approximately a little over 14% of the driving population is uninsured. The IRC is a purely independent, nonprofit organization committed to providing educational and academic classes, professional certifications, and insightful research work for the property-casualty insurance business.
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Moreover, although there was a steady decrease in the number of uninsured motorists for the past 4 years, in 2008 the number spiked up to 14.3%. In 2009 the numbers leveled off a bit to 13.8 percent%.
What is the cause of the rise in uninsured drivers?
Unfortunately, with the economy tanking the way it has over the last several years, people have cut costs where they think they can get away with it. And, although there are tough laws in many states fining and even imprisoning individuals for driving without auto insurance, people are still willing to take the chance that they will not get caught for this financial digression.
But there seems to be a direct correlation between to the percentage of individuals who carry auto insurance and the financial strength of the U.S. economy. With the levels of prosperity the U.S. saw in the mid-2000s, there was a steady drop in uninsured motorist rates. Since 2008, rates seem to be rising in regard to the decline of America’s overall financial picture.
What’s my state’s uninsured motorist percentage?
According to the IRC, the list below shows the percentage of uninsured motorists in 2009. These numbers are of course estimates, but are based upon the ratio of uninsured motorist claim frequency versus bodily injury claim frequency.
- Mississippi: 28%
- New Mexico: 26%
- Tennessee, Oklahoma, and Florida: 24%
- Alabama: 22%
- Michigan: 19%
- Kentucky and Rhode Island: 18%
- Indiana, Washington, Arkansas, Ohio, and Georgia: 16%
- Washington D.C., Colorado, California, Maryland, Texas, and Wisconsin: 15%
- Missouri and North Carolina: 14%
- Nevada, Minnesota, Alaska, and Louisiana: 13%
- Arizona: 12%
- Iowa, Montana, Hawaii, New Jersey, New Hampshire, West Virginia, Virginia, Delaware, and South Carolina: 11%
- Wyoming, Oregon, Kansas, and Connecticut: 10%
- North Dakota and South Dakota: 9%
- Utah, Idaho, and Nebraska: 8%
- Vermont and Pennsylvania: 7%
- New York: 5%
- Maine and Massachusetts: 4%
So there are six states where you have more than a 1 in 5 chance of finding an uninsured motorist on the road, there are three states where you have a 1 in 20 chance (or better) in coming across an uninsured motorist. Moreover, according to these numbers, 21 states, and the District of Columbia, in 2009 had uninsured motorist percentages above the national average. So, if you drive through the U.S. on a road trip, you’d have a 1 in 7 chance of encountering an uninsured in 42% of states, if you get into a car accident.
What do you do to combat this uninsured motorist epidemic?
Unfortunately, the motorists who abide by the auto insurance laws of their state will feel the financial burden of all of these uninsured drivers out on the roads. While you may look at the prior list regarding uninsured motorists and see that your state is one of those with a lower percentage than the national average, the idea of you not having uninsured or under insured vehicle insurance is sheer lunacy.
Even in a state like New York, where there is only a 5% chance you’ll have an accident with another vehicle whose driver is not insured, why would you take the risk? Plus, there are numerous bordering states around New York where the drivers from those areas frequent New York regularly for travel or work. And, if you live in New York, but get into an accident with a person from Connecticut, you now go from having a 1 in 20 chance for this person to uninsured to a 1 in 10 chance.
So, depending on what your financial and budgetary constraints are, you should seriously look into finding out what adequate coverage for underinsured and uninsured motorist insurance is for your area. While none of us think about ever getting into an accident, there were 5.5 million car accidents in 2009 alone. And if you do the math that would mean nearly 770,000 of those accidents were involved with an uninsured driver.
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