New Estimates Show 1 in 7 Drivers Lack Auto Insurance Coverage

The Insurance Research Council (IRC) has released its latest report on national and statewide uninsured motorist rates, which indicates that the proportion of motorists who drive without car insurance declined slightly between 2008 and 2009.

In the IRC’s previous report researchers predicted that the rate would rise during this period due to increases in the unemployment rate. But the rate instead rose one half of a percentage point between 2007 and 2008, and then declined one half of a percentage point in 2009, bringing it back to the 2007 level.

The IRC estimates that 13.8 percent of drivers in 2009 lacked coverage.

A number of industry authorities, including the senior vice president of the IRC, say that some motorists’ choice to drive without a policy restricts all drivers’ access to the cheapest car insurance prices.

“Despite laws in many states requiring drivers to maintain insurance, about one in seven motorists remain uninsured,” says Elizabeth Sprinkel, the IRC’s senior vice president. “This forces responsible drivers who carry insurance to bear the burden of paying for injuries caused by drivers who carry no insurance at all.”

Rates of Drivers without Auto Insurance Many of the states with the highest and lowest rates in the previous report, published in 2009, have maintained their positions.

Mississippi and New Mexico still top the list for the highest proportions of uninsured drivers, and Massachusetts and Maine have kept their spots at the bottom of the list.

The IRC produces the estimates by taking the number of filed bodily injury liability claims — which would be filed after injury crashes in which the at-fault driver had insurance — and comparing that with the number of filed uninsured motorist claims — which would be filed after injury crashes in which the at-fault party had no coverage.


About John Pirro
John Pirro is a licensed fire and casualty insurance agent specializing in various aspects of the auto insurance industry. He worked in the auto body repair industry before taking a reporting position at Online Auto Insurance News.

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