Unless you live in the “Live Free or Die” state (NH) or the “Sic Semper Tyrannis” state (“Thus Always to Tyrants” – VA), state law requires you to have car insurance. However, on average, one in eight drivers don’t comply with this law. What can you do to protect yourself from this dangerous hazard?
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How bad is the uninsured motorist problem?
According to the most recent report published by the Insurance Research Council, 13% of drivers (one in eight) was uninsured in 2015. Since 2015 a couple of significant changes have taken place that ValChoice believes is likely to drive this number higher.
- Car insurance rates have significantly increased. This has the affect of making insurance less affordable for some drivers
- The pandemic of 2020 has resulted in a significant increase in unemployed drivers.
These two facts could drive the percentage of uninsured motorists on the road higher. Consequently, all drivers need to make sure they have adequate protection from uninsured motorists.
To put into perspective how bad the uninsured motorist problem is, think about being at a four-way stop. If there are two cars at each of the four stop signs, one of these drivers does not have insurance.
What’s the impact of uninsured motorists?
Though most states require drivers to have car insurance, there are still motorists who take their chances and drive without coverage or with insufficient coverage. Nationwide, an estimated 13 percent of drivers are uninsured, and, in a handful of states, that figure tops 20 percent, according to the Insurance Research Council. With such high uninsured motorist rates, know how to protect yourself from an uninsured driver is necessary.
States have threatened uninsured drivers with fines, license plate confiscation and other penalties. Some states are even using databases to better identify motorists who lack insurance.
Still, the problem persists, and it can be costly for responsible drivers who do have insurance.
If you have an accident with a driver who doesn’t have insurance or lacks sufficient coverage, you could find yourself on the hook for thousands of dollars in medical expenses and repair costs, regardless of who’s at fault.
Protect Yourself from an Uninsured Driver
There is extra insurance drivers can buy to protect themselves from uninsured motorists. Nearly all car insurance companies offer this. It is optional. However, if you don’t have this insurance, you will likely personally have to pay the expenses.
Many readers may be thinking “I can just sue the person who caused the accident.” Unfortunately, that rarely works. Oftentimes, uninsured motorists are uninsured because they’re short on money. If they have no money or assets, there is nothing that can be recovered in a law suit.
Buying uninsured and underinsured motorists’ coverage can ease your fears and pay off if you have an accident. The insurance pays for medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering from injuries sustained in a car wreck. If you purchase uninsured motorist property damage insurance, you also get coverage for vehicle repairs and damage to valuables that were in your car at the time of the accident.
Though states require drivers to have auto insurance, the liability requirements vary greatly from state to state. In states that have low minimum insurance requirements, drivers often don’t have the coverage to deal with a serious car accident. If you live in one of those states, you should verify what limit of uninsured and underinsured motorists’ coverage you have. Mississippi, Alabama, California, New Mexico, Arizona and Tennessee traditionally have had the highest percentage of uninsured motorists.
Considerations When Buying Uninsured Motorist Insurance
I personally have been in two accidents caused by others. One an uninsured driver, one an underinsured (not enough insurance to cover the expenses) driver.
The Uninsured Driver
This was a minor accident. The uninsured driver rear-ended us and caused about $2,000 of damage. The insurance company was excellent. They promptly took care of everything and waived our collision deductible.
The Underinsured Driver
This was when I was hit while riding a bicycle. My insurance covered me as a bicyclist for an underinsured motorist. However, the experience was a nightmare. They refused to pay. I had to hire an attorney. That accident is the reason I founded ValChoice.
The point of these two personal stories, always make sure you’re with a good insurance company. How do you do that? If your free rating from the button above wasn’t good, then click the button below to find the best insurance companies in your state.
Want to know a fair price for your car insurance?
Every consumer is bombarded with advertisements about car insurance. Most advertisements focus on how they have the best price. How can all of these companies have the best price? Well, they can’t. Instead, they’re betting that if they get you to call them, they can win your business. Know what a fair price is before calling. Use our car insurance calculator.