The number of drivers without car insurance, referred to as uninsured motorists by most insurance carriers, is rising nationally. Almost 1 in 8 drivers, or 13%, did not carry car insurance in 2015 despite it being required in 49 states. This was up from a national average of 12.3% in 2010.
These results were published in a study conducted by the Insurance Research Council study co-sponsored by Hanover Insurance Group. The top 5 states include Florida (26.7%), Mississippi (23.7%), New Mexico (20.8%), Michigan (20.3%) and Tennessee (20.0%). The bottom 5 include Maine (4.5%), New York (6.1%), Massachusetts (6.2%), North Carolina (6.5%), and Vermont (6.8%). Texas was in 16th place with 14.1% of all drivers being uninsured.
Despite the rising numbers of drivers without car insurance rising nationally, two states can take pride in the number of uninsured motorists declining, Oklahoma and New Mexico. In 2012, drivers without car insurance in the OK state numbered 25.9% (falling to 10.5%) and New Mexico’s uninsured motorist number 29.8% of all drivers in 2006.
Uninsured motorists put all insured drivers and their car insurance companies at greater risk by leaving the vehicle owner and their company responsible to cover repairs and medical bills when an uninsured motorist causes the accident. According to Daniel Halsey, the Personal Lines President at Hanover, the average cost of an uninsured motorist claim is $20,000 and that figure doesn’t include the cost to repair property damage to the victim’s vehicle.
The solution to this negative trend of people driving without car insurance is greater enforcement by each state’s law enforcement and regulatory agencies. Texas local and state law enforcement professionals do ticket anyone they pull over who can’t provide valid proof of current car insurance. The state regulatory agency monitoring car insurance sends notices to any licensed driver shown to have cancelled their policy and not replaced it. Even car finance and lease companies call me to confirm a client has current coverage in place.
Even with these measures, many people choose to drive without car insurance. This means it’s incumbent on those of us who have car insurance to carry uninsured / under insured motorists coverage on our policies, even if collision coverage has been dropped (this makes the policy a liability policy). Carrying uninsured motorists’ coverage provides medical coverage for us and our passengers if someone without car insurance hits us. It also usually includes property damage coverage with a lower deductible, so we can have our car or truck repaired without it breaking us financially.
What do you think? How would you solve this problem? Share your thoughts, questions, and experiences with me on my Facebook, Google +, and LinkedIn pages. I’d love to hear from you!