Nobody’s going to argue that sometimes an insurance company will sell you insurance that you don’t really need. It is possible to be over insured, but even if you think that you’re covered you might actually be underinsured. Car insurance is one of the most complicated policies that you can buy, and an experienced, honest insurance agent can help you to be prepared for things you don’t think will ever happen. You would be surprised how many drivers are rolling around on the road without any insurance at all. And whether you are insured or not, meeting one by accident can be a disaster.
In 2012 the costs of uninsured motorist claims reached $2.6 billion. That’s a staggering amount, considering that 49 out of 50 states and the District of Columbia mandate that drivers carry some type of insurance. Even with penalties, more drivers are going uninsured than ever before. The largest reason is that insurance can be out of reach for those who are struggling financially, not just those below the federal poverty line. In many cases, being able to drive is enough keep them employed in order to support their families, but not enough to cover insuring the vehicle.
Enforcement of these laws varies from state to state, and in some cases there simply aren’t enough resources being allocated to make sure that the laws and penalties are applied. However even when the laws are enforced, they are at times enforced unfairly. The Indy Star reported on a lawsuit brought by the ACLU on behalf of Indiana drivers who had their licenses suspended because they could not prove that they had insurance – but none of them were legally obligated to have insurance at the time their licenses were suspended. In some cases those who had their licenses suspended did not even own a car. Other states have limited the amount of damages that an uninsured driver involved in a car accident can obtain, instituting a “no pay/no play” rule that can also unfairly target a driver who is not at fault in the accident.
For those who do have insurance, it may seem that it’s unfair to require that they protect themselves against the uninsured. However adding uninsured motorist insurance to your automobile insurance policy can cover you for even the most unexpected occurrences. In some states such as Oklahoma the insurance Institute estimates that more than one in four drivers is uninsured. In fact, the top 10 states for uninsured motorists are:
- New Mexico
- Rhode Island
The states with the lowest number of uninsured drivers are:
- New York
- North Dakota
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
However even if you live in one of these states, there is always the chance that you will meet an uninsured motorist by accident. Don’t take chances – make sure that you’re covered.