5 Surprising facts about uninsured motorists

Thursday, July 19, 2012

You probably wouldn’t be surprised to learn that nationwide, one in seven drivers is uninsured. That’s about 14%. So it probably wouldn’t be shocking to hear that uninsured motorists cause 14% of car accidents. That seems about right. Here are some facts that might be more jolting:

  1. According to California Highway Patrol (CHP) records, in California, while uninsured motorists account for fewer than 28% of drivers, they account for 55.1% of fatal accidents and 44.6% of bodily injury.
  2. Looking at a profile of these motorists, 28% of registered vehicles are owned by drivers between the ages of eighteen and twenty-nine and they account for 52% of uninsured vehicles.
  3. 21% of uninsured motorists say they can’t afford insurance, meaning that the financial burden of an accident will fall on the insured driver.
  4. 48 % of uninsured motorists are renters, so they do not own property with value significant enough to attach in a law suit to recover damages.
  5. Forty-one percent of drivers age 25 to 39 reported texting while driving. In 2010 alone, over 3,000 people were killed in distracted driving crashes.

Some of these statistics may be frightening enough to make you double your insurance coverage immediately, but just in case they are not, consider the number of people who carry only state-mandated minimum coverage. Some cheap insurance coverage is only one notch above no coverage at all. For example, in Arizona, drivers are required to carry a minimum of $10,000 to cover property damage. But if your car is valued at $24,000 and it is totaled in an accident, you will only receive $10,000 in damages. How will you make up the loss of $14,000?

Fortunately, most insurance companies offer uninsured motorist and under-insured motorist coverage to help avoid catastrophic loss if you are hit by one of these drivers. While slightly different in function, they usually come together in a package. Uninsured motorist coverage extends to both drivers that have no insurance and hit-and-run incidents. Under-insured coverage means that the cheap insurance carried by the driver at fault will be liable for the damages up to the extent of coverage, but then your insurance will kick in to cover the balance.

As an addition to your existing policy, the average cost of uninsured motorist coverage, or under-insured motorist coverage is about $40 per year for $100,000 in coverage. Speaking of cheap insurance that means a little over $3 per month added to your premium bridges the gap between low or no insurance benefits to coverage for the full amount of damages or medical care up to $100,000! That’s a bargain in any language!

According to Insurance Research Council estimates, drivers in the United States have a 14% chance of being hit by an uninsured driver. These drivers bet on the odds that they will not have an accident. Are you willing to roll the dice and bet they won’t hit you?

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