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How Many People Drive without Automobile Insurance?

We live in a world full of statistics. You hear them cited on the radio and television continuously. Some are very important, and some – not so much. For example, if you have ever wondered how many adults still sleep with a “comfort object,” it is about 35 percent. (Apparently, not all parents give away the children’s stuffed animals when they grow up!) Interesting, but not particularly important.

On the other hand, have you ever considered how many times a person drives drunk before getting caught? According to the publication Bestlife, the average first-time drunk driver drove under the influence in excess of 80 times before their first arrest. That’s meaningful and scary.

Another statistic worth considering involves the prevalence of uninsured drivers on our roads. In this article, we will consider how many people are out there driving around without insurance.

How many drivers are totally uninsured?

According to the Insurance Research Council, approximately one of every eight drivers (specifically, 12.6 percent) drove without insurance in America in 2019. (PDF) As bad as that sounds, the Insurance Information Institute reported that it actually represented a slight improvement from 2017, when the percentage of uninsured drivers had reached 13.1 percent.

Interestingly, our neighbor Washington finished fifth worst, with 21.7 percent of drivers being uninsured. California came in tenth worst, with 16.6 percent of drivers being uninsured. Oregon fared better than average, with an estimated 10.7 percent of drivers being uninsured.

What are Oregon insurance requirements?

Notwithstanding these high uninsured motorist rates, governments have attempted to address the problem by passing minimum automobile insurance requirements. These requirements vary by state. Oregon law mandates the minimum coverages listed below:

  • $20,000.00 per crash for property damage to the property of others
  • $15,000.00 per person personal injury protection (sometimes called “PIP”)
  • $25,000.00 bodily injury liability for a single person
  • $50,000.00 per crash bodily injury liability to others (for multiple people in a single accident)
  • $25,000.00 per person uninsured (and underinsured) motorist coverage (sometimes called “UM” or “UIM”)
  • $50,000.00 per crash uninsured motorist coverage

Keep in mind that these are only the minimum coverage requirements. Many drivers choose to carry much higher policy amounts than the minimums required by law.

The importance of insurance

It is difficult to overstate the important role that insurance plays in society. When someone negligently causes injury to another person, adequate insurance helps to make sure that the injured person can be made whole. It addresses the important public policy of financial responsibility.

Insurance plays another important role. It helps protect each of us from financial ruin in the event that we negligently harm another person in an automobile accident. Driving without insurance would make it difficult for many responsible people to sleep at night.

Final takeaway

Having the drivers on our roads carry insurance is essential. Our government has taken important steps to require all drivers to be insured.

In fact, Oregon is more progressive than many states by requiring drivers to carry personal injury protection and uninsured motorist coverage. Next, anything that helps enforce mandatory insurance laws is certainly helpful. Finally, all drivers would be wise to confer with insurance professionals to determine if they are carrying an adequate amount of insurance.

In the end, probably the only real way to guard against uninsured (or underinsured) drivers who lack assets is to carry our own uninsured motorist coverage in sufficient amounts.

Call with questions

If you have been injured in a car accident, you may have questions about your legal rights and how to proceed. Similarly, you may have questions about insurance and how it works.

Sometimes, you have coverage from policies that you haven’t even thought about. However, multiple insurance policies can also create complicated legal questions. The experienced personal injury attorneys at Nelson MacNeil Rayfield are here to answer those questions for you in a free consultation.

We fight for our clients to hold wrongdoers accountable for their actions. In the end, we believe that is the best way to keep the roads safer for everyone.