It appears that a tremendous number of vehicles on our nation’s highways are not covered by liability insurance and are therefore uninsured. Across the United States, chances are roughly one in seven that a driver is uninsured. The estimated percentage of uninsured motorists stood at 13.8 percent in 2009, according to a new study from the Insurance Research Council (IRC). The group said the percentage declined four straight years before rising to 14.3 percent in 2008 and then dropping slightly in 2009.
The six states estimated to have the highest percentage of uninsured drivers are Mississippi with 28%, Alabama with 26%, and New Mexico with 26%, Tennessee with 24%, Oklahoma with 24%, and Florida with 24%. This is according to new estimates from IRC that are based on 2009 data. The five states estimated to have the lowest percentage of uninsured drivers are Massachusetts with 4.5%, Maine with 4.5%, New York with 5%, Pennsylvania with 7%, and Vermont with 7%. The research group says the economic downturn is likely a major factor in the brief increase in 2008.
In the ITC’s new study, Uninsured Motorists, 2011 Edition, the estimates are based on the ratio of uninsured motorist (UM) insurance claim frequency to bodily injury claim frequency. UM claims are made by individuals who are injured in accidents caused by uninsured drivers. Bodily injury claims are made by individuals injured in accidents caused by insured drivers. The study confirms that the magnitude of the uninsured motorist problem varies from state to state. Elizabeth A. Sprinkel, senior vice president of the IRC, had this to say:
Despite laws in many states requiring drivers to maintain insurance, about one in seven motorists remain uninsured. This forces responsible drivers who carry insurance to bear the burden of paying for injuries caused by drivers who carry no insurance at all.
The IRC study examines data collected from nine insurers, representing approximately 50 percent of the private passenger auto insurance market in the U.S. The IRC provides research on public policy issues affecting insurance companies and their customers. It is supported by property/casualty insurance organizations. Persons who do have insurance covering them and their vehicles should carry the highest amount of uninsured motorist coverage available to them. In the event an insured driver is involved in a motor vehicle crash with another driver who is either uninsured or under-insured, that becomes critically important.
Source: Insurance Journal
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