One in eight drivers on the road is currently uninsured, according to the Insurance Information Institute.
In 2019, the latest year studied by the Insurance Research Council, Mississippi had the most problems with uninsured drivers – 29.4% of Mississippi residents did not have auto insurance. The following states also ranked among uninsured drivers:
- Michigan (25.5%)
- Tennessee (23.7%)
- New Mexico (21.8%)
- Washington (21.7)
- Florida (20.4%)
- Alabama (19.5%)
While it’s hard to know why so many people on the road are willing to take a chance, here are five possible reasons why there are so many drivers on the road without auto insurance.
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The most common reason for driving without insurance is cost. When the going gets tough and funds are low, people still need a roof over their heads, grocery shopping, and come and go to work.
Yet the problem with skipping auto insurance because of the expense is how expensive it can be to get caught without it. For example, suppose a driver is taken out without insurance in Colorado, one of the states with the strictest auto insurance laws. Here’s what it will cost to drive without insurance:
- A fine of $ 500 (minimum)
- Four points against the license (which makes an insurance policy even more expensive)
- Up to 40 hours of community service
- License suspended until proof of insurance provided
And if someone is caught without car insurance again, the penalties are more severe.
There’s a reason teens have to pay more for insurance. Young drivers are more likely to be in an accident than older drivers. They don’t have the life experience that reminds them that bad things happen. This feeling of “it can’t happen to me” is even strong enough to convince some drivers that they don’t need to pay for insurance.
3. Nothing to lose
If a driver is without funds and feels that there is nothing to lose financially, it may be a good idea not to purchase insurance. But the problem is, there is always something to lose. Suppose an uninsured driver has several people in the car and is involved in an accident which results in injury. In addition to figuring out how to pay medical bills, the driver is now responsible for injuries sustained by others. Lawsuits, foreclosed wages and emotional stress are byproducts of life without insurance.
4. “Others will pay” mentality
Some drivers mistakenly believe that all insured drivers have uninsured motorist coverage. This is not true. While some drivers pay for the additional coverage (and some states require it), an uninsured driver can’t assume every driver does. In any case, if there is an accident and the uninsured driver is at fault, the other driver can sue them to pay damages and cover medical bills.
5. It can be complicated
There is no doubt that some insurance jargon is complicated and it takes some time to understand the difference between liability and full coverage. Additionally, people might be confused as to the auto insurance coverage they need. Either way, the best thing for drivers to do is spend some time familiarizing themselves with the insurance terms and “buying” a policy that meets their state’s requirements and personal needs.
If you’re currently uninsured and aren’t sure you can afford an insurance policy, here are some ideas that may help:
- Shop around and get multiple auto insurance quote. Not only does shopping allow you to find out which company offers the most comprehensive coverage at the lowest price, it also gives you the ability to bring your financial concerns to an agent. The best auto insurance companies have insurance agents working in your area and may be able to direct you to financial resources designed to help people afford auto insurance.
- Find out if usage-based insurance can save you money. Usage-based programs use technology (like your cell phone or GPS) to track your driving behavior. If you’re a safe driver, this technology can help assure an insurer that you don’t need high-risk auto insurance. This could help minimize your insurance costs.
- Increase your deductible and lower your coverage limits. Even though you will have to pay more out of pocket if you file a claim, you can save a lot on premiums.
While it’s not fun, auto insurance offers peace of mind. This is enough to make buying the best cheap insurance worth it.