The Insurance Research Council (IRC) released a new study recently which found that, as of 2009 the estimated percentage of uninsured drivers on America’s roads was 13.8, a number which had declined from 2004 through 2007, then increased to 14.3 percent in 2008.
The states with the highest estimated percentage of uninsured motorists are, in ascending order, Florida, Oklahoma, and Tennessee (24% for each), New Mexico (26%) and Mississippi (28%), while the states with the lowest percentage of drivers who have no auto insurance are (in descending order), Pennsylvania and Vermont (7%), New York (5%), Maine, and Massachusetts (4.5% each).
One of the major factors in these numbers, says IRC, is the economy. People who can’t afford insurance are dropping it, and this was happening more often in 2008. In the words of IRC’s senior vice president Elizabeth A. Sprinkel, “The leveling trend in the percentage of uninsured motorists is an unfortunate consequence of the economic downturn and illustrates how virtually everyone is affected by recent economic developments.”
The study based its findings on the ratio of uninsured motorist (UM) insurance claim frequency to bodily injury (BI) claim frequency. Sprinkel said, “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.”
Data for the study was collected from nine insurance companies, which represented roughly half the market for private passenger auto insurance in the United States.
The IRC provides research on public policy issues affecting insurance companies and their customers. It is supported by property/casualty insurance organizations