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Uninsured Drivers: State by State

Where does your state rank in uninsured drivers?

Across the United States, if someone is injured in an auto accident, the chances are about one in seven that the at-fault driver is uninsured. According to a recent Insurance Research Council (IRC) study, the estimated percentage of uninsured motorists increased nationally from 12.7 percent in 1999 to 14.6 percent in 2004. However, the magnitude of the uninsured motorists problem varied widely from state to state.

The recently released study, Uninsured Motorists (2006 Edition), examines trends from 1999 to 2004 in the percentage of uninsured drivers by state. In 2004, the five states with the highest uninsured driver estimates were Mississippi (26 percent), Alabama (25 percent), California (25 percent), New Mexico (24 percent), and Arizona (22 percent). The five states with the lowest uninsured driver estimates were Maine (4 percent), Vermont (6 percent), Massachusetts (6 percent), New York (7 percent), and Nebraska (8 percent).

IRC estimates the uninsured driver population using a ratio of insurance claims made by individuals who were injured by uninsured drivers to claims made by individuals who were injured by insured drivers. The study contains recent statistics by state on uninsured motorists claim frequency, bodily injury claim frequency, and the ratio of uninsured motorists to bodily injury claim frequencies.

"Even though most states require drivers to maintain insurance, the problem persists," said Elizabeth Sprinkel, senior vice president of IRC. "Responsible drivers who purchase insurance end up paying for injuries caused by uninsured drivers."

The IRC study examined data collected from eleven insurers, representing approximately 58 percent of the private passenger auto insurance market in the U.S.

Estimated Percentage of Uninsured Motorists by State in 2004

Mississippi 26% Missouri 12%
Alabama 25% Maryland 12%
California 25% Connecticut 12%
New Mexico 24% Kentucky 12%
Arizona 22% Delaware 12%
Tennessee 21% Wyoming 11%
District of Columbia 21% Minnesota 10%
Florida 19% Louisiana 10%
Washington 18% Virginia 10%
Nevada 17% West Virginia 10%
Michigan 17% Pennsylvania 10%
Texas 16% South Carolina 10%
Illinois 16% Georgia 10%
Ohio 15% New Jersey 9%
Alaska 15% Utah 9%
Colorado 15% Idaho 9%
Oklahoma 15% South Dakota 8%
Rhode Island 14% New Hampshire 9%
Wisconsin 14% North Dakota 9%
Arkansas 14% North Carolina 8%
Hawaii 13% Nebraska 8%
Kansas 13% New York 7%
Montana 12% Massachusetts 6%
Iowa 12% Vermont 6%
Oregon 12% Maine 4%

(Source: IRC)