Everybody Pays for Uninsured Drivers in the US
Every US state has financial responsibility laws which do two basic things:
- These laws establish minimum required liability insurance rules for the state. Some states require more than property and bodily injury insurance too. For example, some states require personal injury protection.
- These laws establish fines and other penalties for motorists who are caught driving without proper coverage.
Some cities even impose additional penalties on top of state laws. For example, Dallas, Texas has a law that cars can be impounded if the driver if stopped without insurance. This is in addition to Texas fines for violations.
Everybody brings up New Hampshire as an exception, but this is not really true. Vehicle owners may apply for an exception to the New Hampshire financial responsibility rules, but liability coverage is strongly suggested. The exception may not be granted or revoked for several reasons too.
Facts About Uninsured Motorists in the United States
- Percent of United States Uninsured Motorists Accidents: 14%
- Estimated national rate of uninsured motorists: 16%
- States with highest rates drivers without proper coverage: Mississippi, Alabama, California, New Mexico, Arizona, and Tennessee
- Most common reasons for driving without coverage: Premiums too high or cannot afford premiums
These uninsured motorist statistics were verified in 2013, and they came from the California Department of Insurance. What is interesting is the demographic profile of a fairly young male driver might also match the profile of somebody that insurers consider a higher risk driver. See what they have to say about uninsured motorists by state for the states with the highest and lowest percentages.
Uninsured Motorists By State (Highs and Lows)
|States with the Highest Percent of Uninsured Motorists|
|New Mexico||24 %|
|States with the Lowest Percent of Uninsured Motorists|
|New York||7 %|
|North Carolina||8 %|
|Reasons Cited for Not Having Insurance|
Your Insurance May Be More Expensive Because of Uninsured Motorists
One Dallas Morning News article stated that the reason that Texas insurance rates were rising was because of collision policies having to pay for accidents with uninsured motorists. The Lone Star state has a higher than average number of drivers without insurance on the roads, though recent efforts like TexasSure have reduced the number in the last several months.
If you are struck by a driver without adequate coverage, your own vehicle’s collision policy may pick up the tab after you pay a deductible. You may also choose to add additional uninsured motorist coverage for an additional cost.
Uninsured Motorists Are Still Liable For Damages
If you cause an accident, the lack of coverage will not relieve you of responsibility for bills. You may still be pursued by the damaged party of the damaged party’s insurance company for compensation. This will be in addition to any woes you may faced because of penalties for breaking the law and damages to your own vehicle. You will surely be required to provide, at least, proof of insurance before being able to legally drive again.
What Are Insurance Requirements From State to State?
Each state sets their own requirements. While these are similar across America, they are not identical from state to state. This article on BestRatesUS.com discusses the things that auto liability protects vehicle owners against, and it also has a list of state minimum property and bodily injury liability insurance requirements.
Some states, like California, may even have different minimums depending upon a vehicle owner’s ability to pay. Other states require more than basic property and injury coverage as well. It is simple enough to find your own state’s insurance department website or speak with a local agent to find out the rules in your own area.