Uninsured Motorists

Uninsured Motorists

Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage reimburses policyholders in an accident involving an uninsured, underinsured or hit-and-run driver. Twenty-one states and the District of Columbia have mandatory requirements for uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage. A handful of states, including Texas and Utah, have passed laws and begun to develop and implement online auto insurance verification systems to identify uninsured motorists.

In 2009, 13.8 percent of motorists, or about one in seven drivers, were uninsured, according to a 2011 study by the Insurance Research Council (IRC). This marks a drop from 2008 when the percentage rose to 14.3 percent after declining for four straight years. The study found that the uninsured motorist problem varies greatly from state to state. At the extremes, Mississippi had the highest uninsured motorist ratio, at 28 percent, and Massachusetts had the lowest, at 4.5 percent. The IRC measures the number of uninsured motorists based on insurance claims, using a ratio of insurance claims made by people who were injured by uninsured drivers relative to the claims made by people who were injured by insured drivers.

UNINSURED MOTORISTS, 1990-2009 (1)

Year Percent
1990 15.4%
1991 15.1
1992 15.6
1993 16.0
1994 15.1
1995 14.2
1996 13.8
1997 13.2
1998 13.0
1999 12.7
2000 13.4
2001 14.2
2002 14.5
2003 14.9
2004 14.6
2005 14.5
2006 14.3
2007 13.8
2008 14.3
2009 13.8

(1) Percentage of uninsured drivers, as measured by the ratio of uninsured motorists (UM) claims to bodily injury (BI) claims frequencies.

Source: Insurance Research Council.

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TOP TEN HIGHEST AND LOWEST STATES BASED ON ESTIMATED PERCENTAGE OF UNINSURED MOTORISTS, 2009 (1)

Rank Highest Percent uninsured Rank Lowest Percent uninsured
1 Mississippi 28.0% 1 Massachusetts 4.5%
2 New Mexico 25.7 2 Maine 4.5
3 Tennessee 23.9 3 New York 5.4
4 Oklahoma 23.9 4 Pennsylvania 6.6
5 Florida 23.5 5 Vermont 7.1
6 Alabama 21.8 6 Nebraska 7.8
7 Michigan 19.5 7 Idaho 7.9
8 Kentucky 17.8 8 Utah 8.2
9 Rhode Island 17.6 9 South Dakota 8.6
10 Indiana 16.3 10 North Dakota 9.1

(1) Percentage of uninsured drivers, as measured by the ratio of uninsured motorists (UM) claims to bodily injury (BI) claims frequencies.

Source: Insurance Research Council.

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ESTIMATED PERCENTAGE OF UNINSURED MOTORISTS BY STATE, 2009 (1)

State Uninsured Rank (2) State Uninsured Rank (2)
Alabama 21.8% 5 Montana 11.4% 25
Alaska 13.0 21 Nebraska 7.8 38
Arizona 11.9 23 Nevada 13.2 20
Arkansas 16.0 11 New Hampshire 10.9 27
California 15.0 15 New Jersey 11.2 26
Colorado 15.2 14 New Mexico 25.7 2
Connecticut 9.5 33 New York 5.4 41
Delaware 10.8 28 North Carolina 13.5 19
D.C. 15.3 13 North Dakota 9.1 34
Florida (3) 23.5 4 Ohio 15.7 12
Georgia 15.7 12 Oklahoma 23.9 3
Hawaii 11.2 26 Oregon 10.4 30
Idaho 7.9 37 Pennsylvania 6.6 40
Illinois 14.9 16 Rhode Island 17.6 8
Indiana 16.3 9 South Carolina 10.7 29
Iowa 11.5 24 South Dakota 8.6 35
Kansas 9.8 32 Tennessee 23.9 3
Kentucky 17.8 7 Texas 14.9 16
Louisiana 12.9 22 Utah 8.2 36
Maine 4.5 42 Vermont 7.1 39
Maryland 14.9 16 Virginia 10.8 28
Massachusetts 4.5 42 Washington 16.1 10
Michigan 19.5 6 West Virginia 10.8 28
Minnesota 13.0 21 Wisconsin 14.6 17
Mississippi 28.0 1 Wyoming 10.3 31
Missouri 13.7 18      

(1) Percentage of uninsured drivers, as measured by the ratio of uninsured motorists (UM) claims to bodily injury (BI) claims frequencies.
(2) Rank calculated from unrounded data.
(3) In Florida, compulsory auto laws apply to personal injury protection (PIP) and physical damage, but not to third party bodily injury coverage.

Source: Insurance Research Council.

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AUTOMOBILE FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY LIMITS AND ENFORCEMENT BY STATE

State Insurance required (1) Minimum liability limits (2) Insurer verification of insurance (3)
AL BI & PD Liab 25/50/25 c, d
AK BI & PD Liab 50/100/25 a
AZ BI & PD Liab 15/30/10 a, b
AR BI & PD Liab, PIP 25/50/25 b, d
CA BI & PD Liab 15/30/5 (4) a, b, d
CO BI & PD Liab 25/50/15 a, d
CT BI & PD Liab 20/40/10 a
DE BI & PD Liab, PIP 15/30/10 a, b, c, d
DC BI & PD Liab, UM 25/50/10 a, c, d
FL PD Liab, PIP 10/20/10 (5) a, d
GA BI & PD Liab 25/50/25 a, d
HI BI & PD Liab, PIP 20/40/10 a
ID BI & PD Liab 25/50/15 none
IL BI & PD Liab, UM 20/40/15* a, b, c
IN BI & PD Liab 25/50/10 a
IA BI & PD Liab 20/40/15 a
KS BI & PD Liab, PIP, UM,UIM 25/50/10 a,c
KY BI & PD Liab, PIP 25/50/10 (5) a, d
LA BI & PD Liab 15/30/25 a, d
ME BI & PD Liab, UM, UIM  50/100/25 (6) b
MD BI & PD Liab, PIP (7), UM, UIM 30/60/15 a
MA BI & PD Liab, PIP, UM, UIM 20/40/5 a, d
MI BI & PD Liab, PIP 20/40/10 a
MN BI & PD Liab, PIP, UM, UIM 30/60/10 a, c
MS BI & PD Liab 25/50/25 a, d
MO BI & PD Liab, UM 25/50/10 a, c, d
MT BI & PD Liab 25/50/10 d
NE BI & PD Liab, UM, UIM 25/50/25 a, b, d
NV BI & PD Liab 15/30/10 a, d
NH FR only, UM 25/50/25 (6) a
NJ BI & PD Liab, PIP, UM, UIM 15/30/5 (8) a, d
NM BI & PD Liab 25/50/10 a, c
NY BI & PD Liab, PIP, UM 25/50/10 (9) a, d
NC BI & PD Liab, UM, UIM (10) 30/60/25 a, d
ND BI & PD Liab, PIP, UM, UIM 25/50/25 c
OH BI & PD Liab 25/50/25 a, c
OK BI & PD Liab 25/50/25 a, c, d
OR BI & PD Liab, PIP, UM, UIM 25/50/20 a, c
PA BI & PD Liab, PIP 15/30/5 a
RI BI & PD Liab 25/50/25 (5) d**
SC BI & PD Liab, UM 25/50/25 a, d
SD BI & PD Liab, UM, UIM 25/50/25 a
TN BI & PD Liab 25/50/15 (5) a, d
TX BI & PD Liab 30/60/25 a, d
UT BI & PD Liab, PIP 25/65/15 (5) d
VT BI & PD Liab, UM, UIM 25/50/10 c
VA BI & PD Liab (11), UM, UIM 25/50/20 a, b, c, d
WA BI & PD Liab 25/50/10 a
WV BI & PD Liab, UM 25/40/10 a, d
WI BI & PD Liab, UM, UIM 25/50/10 a
WY BI & PD Liab 25/50/20 c, d

(1) Compulsory Coverages:
      BI Liab=Bodily injury liability
      PD Liab=Property damage liability
      UM=Uninsured motorist
      PD=Physical damage
      Med=First party (policyholder) medical expenses
      UIM=Underinsured motorist
      PIP=Personal Injury Protection. Mandatory in no-fault states. Includes medical, rehabilitation, loss of earnings and funeral expenses. In some states PIP includes essential services such as child care.
      FR=Financial responsibility only. Insurance not compulsory.
(2) The first two numbers refer to bodily injury liability limits and the third number to property liability. For example, 20/40/10 means coverage up to $40,000 for all persons injured in an accident, subject to a limit of $20,000 for one individual, and $10,000 coverage for property damage.
(3) a. Insurer must notify Department of Motor Vehicles or other state agency of cancellation or nonrenewal.
      b. Insurer must verify financial responsibility or insurance after an accident or arrest.
      c.Insurer must verify randomly selected insurance policies upon request.
      d. Insurers must submit entire list of insurance in effect, which may be compared with registrations at a state agency. Also known as a computer data law. Also includes cases where insurers are required to report new issues and/or renewals.
(4) Low-cost policy limits for low-income drivers in the California Automobile Assigned Risk Plan are 10/20/3.
(5) Instead of policy limits, policyholders can satisfy the requirement with a combined single limit policy. Amounts vary by state.
(6) In addition, policyholders must also carry at least $2,000 for medical payments.
(7) May be waived for the policyholder but is compulsory for passengers.
(8) Basic policy (optional) limits are 10/10/5. Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage not available under the basic policy but uninsured motorist coverage is required under the standard policy.
(9) In addition, policyholders must have 50/100 for wrongful death coverage.
(10) Mandatory in policies with UM limits exceeding 30/60.
(11) Compulsory to buy insurance or pay an Uninsured Motorists Vehicle (UMV) fee to the state Department of Motor Vehicles.

*Effective January 1, 2015, Illinois’ limits will rise to 25/50/20.
**Companies will begin submitting monthly records to the Department of Insurance on November 7, 2014

Source: Property Casualty Insurers Association of America; state departments of insurance and motor vehicles.