Every state has laws requiring motorists to have insurance. But far too many motorists ignore those laws and drive without insurance. If an uninsured motorist causes an accident, the driver with insurance may have to use his or her own uninsured motorist insurance to recover for injuries.
This can be a problem if the insured driver’s losses exceed the limits of the policy coverage. It can leave the insured driver with no recourse and unpaid bills from an accident that was not his or her fault. A study released in April 2011 by the Insurance Research Council showed that the number of uninsured motorists is on the rise. Experts cite economic reasons for the increase. It is important to know how this trend can impact other drivers.
Uninsured Drivers Increasing
The Insurance Research Council report showed that as many as one in every seven drivers in the U.S. is driving without insurance, or about 14.2 percent of total drivers. In Illinois, the report showed that about 15 percent of drivers are uninsured even though the state requires drivers to have liability insurance.
Causes of the Increase
Industry analysts believe that the recession is a major factor in the rise in uninsured drivers. The four years prior to 2008 saw falling numbers of uninsured drivers, and then the rate shot up to 14.3 percent for 2008. The numbers dipped slightly to 13.8 in 2009 but rose again for 2010.
The correlation between the economy and the number of uninsured drivers shows that when the economy slows many people can no longer afford to pay their insurance premiums but continue to drive. The study showed that a one percent increase in a state’s unemployment rate will increase the percentage of uninsured drivers in the state by two-thirds of a percent.
How the Increase of Uninsured Drivers Affects Illinois Drivers
Uninsured drivers cost other drivers money. As the number of uninsured drivers on the roads swells, people with insurance are paying higher premiums for the uninsured motorist portions of their policies – even if they are not involved in accidents. Insurance companies pass on their costs for uninsured motorist claims to the consumers. Insurance company statistics show that an uninsured motorist is 10 times more likely to be involved in an accident than an insured driver, so the company passes the risk of loss onto those who buy policies from them.
Contact an Attorney
Being involved in a motor vehicle accident is stressful enough without having to worry about which insurance company is going to pay for the damage. If you have been involved in an accident with an uninsured driver, contact an attorney who can pursue proper compensation for your injuries.