In most states, car insurance is required by the Department of Motor Vehicles to drive on U.S. roads legally. However, not everyone always buys this coverage, and if they are in a car accident, it can create a serious issue when they don’t have a car insurance company to help with filing a claim. While the number of uninsured drivers in the U.S. has declined over time, many motorists still drive without the minimum required insurance they need.
Important uninsured motorist statistics
Uninsured drivers remain a problem for American drivers, with several states charging more in average insurance premiums to cover the additional risk of loss. These are the latest statistics involving uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage in the U.S.
- About one in eight drivers was uninsured in 2018. (IRC)
- 12.6% of all U.S. drivers were uninsured in 2018. (IRC)
- 13.1% of motorists were uninsured in 2017. (IRC)
- Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage costs insured drivers about $13 billion in the U.S. (IRC)
- Mississippi has the most uninsured drivers, while New Jersey has the least number of uninsured drivers. (IRC)
In this article:
- Uninsured motorist statistics 2021
- Percentage of uninsured drivers by state
- States that require uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage
- Protect yourself from uninsured motorists
Uninsured motorist statistics 2021
Uninsured motorists remain a problem in the U.S., with the latest statistics showing that uninsured drivers are not only common but costly as well.
- The District of Columbia and twenty states require uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage to account for the risk of uninsured drivers on the road.
- The average cost of this coverage was $78 per insured vehicle and more than $13 billion in paid premiums nationwide in 2016. (IRC)
- According to the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators, 82% of uninsured drivers either cannot afford car insurance or have a vehicle that is inoperable or unused.
- One main reason for the number of uninsured drivers is the recent economic downtown. (AAMVA)
IRC Vice President David Corum makes an interesting point about uninsured drivers. “Uninsured drivers increase the cost of insurance for those who comply with their state’s insurance requirements, and that’s not fair. Keeping auto insurance affordable is more difficult when a significant number of drivers refuse to carry their fair share of the costs.”
How many uninsured drivers are in the US?
With 215 million drivers in the U.S., there is a large proportion of uninsured drivers in the country. There are approximately 32 million uninsured drivers in the U.S., equal to about one in eight drivers, says the IRC.
2018 and 2019 both had lower numbers of uninsured motorists than in 2017 when rates were at a nine-year high at 13.1 percent. The average national rate of uninsured motorists is 12.6 percent, but 21 states and the District of Columbia all rate higher than the national average.
Percentage of uninsured drivers by state
Data from 2015 to 2019 shows that the rate of uninsured motorists only increased by 1.2 percent. However, there are significant shifts in insurance coverage when you consider the rate of uninsured drivers by state. While Michigan and Delaware had fewer uninsured drivers over time, other states like Washington, Rhode Island and Mississippi all stand out for increases as high as almost seven percent.
These states had the highest rates of uninsured drivers on the road:
New Jersey, Massachusetts and New York all have the fewest number of uninsured drivers by state:
The IRC provides a breakdown of uninsured motorist rates by state.
Uninsured Motorist Rates by State
|State||Uninsured motorist rates by state|
|District of Columbia||19.1%|
States that require uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage
Surprisingly, many states in the U.S. do not require any uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage at all. Currently, 20 states and Washington, D.C. require some form of this auto insurance coverage. The required amount of coverage varies. For example, many states require bodily injury coverage, while only some require property damage coverage. It’s important to be aware of your state’s minimum required car insurance before you purchase a new policy.
State by State Requirements for Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage
|State||Uninsured coverage required||Underinsured coverage required|
|Bodily injury per person||Bodily injury per accident||Property damage||Bodily injury per person||Bodily injury per accident||Property damage|
|District of Columbia||$25,000||$50,000||$5,000; subject to $200 deductible||–||–||–|
|South Carolina||$25,000||$50,000||$25,000 with $200 deductible||–||–||–|
|Vermont||$50,000||$100,000||$10,000 with $150 deductible||$50,000||$100,000||$10,000 with $150 deductible|
|Virginia||$25,000||$50,000||$20,000 with $200 deductible||$25,000||$50,000||$20,000 with $200 deductible|
Protect yourself from uninsured motorists
As legislation continues to drive auto insurance coverage for motorists nationwide, researchers hope to see continued decreases of uninsured motorists in the U.S. In the meantime, protecting yourself against uninsured motorists means buying a car insurance policy with the right coverage you need for your state. The best car insurance companies offer full coverage for some of the cheapest car insurance, so you can afford to add on all of the uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage.