Washington Uninsured Motorist Rate Unchanged at 16%

By | May 4, 2011

The percentage of uninsured drivers in Washington has remained stable in spite of the economic downturn, according to the Insurance Research Council (IRC).

A newly released IRC study, “Uninsured Motorists, 2011 Edition,” shows Washington’s 2009 uninsured motorist rate at 16 percent, 10th highest in the country but unchanged since 2007. The stable percentage runs counter to historical trends that show uninsured motorist rates rising along with unemployment.

The national uninsured motorist average is 13.8 percent. The five states with the highest UIM rates are Mississippi (29 percent), New Mexico (26 percent), Tennessee (24 percent), Oklahoma (24 percent) and Florida (24 percent).

An earlier IRC study found that unemployment rates historically have a strong correlation with uninsured motorist rates. An increase in the unemployment rate of one percentage point is associated with an increase in the uninsured motorist rate of more than three-fourths of a percentage point. Based on current unemployment rate projections, the national average is expected to rise when 2010 data is analyzed.

Karl Newman, NW Insurance Council president said if drivers are involved in an accident with an uninsured driver and don’t have optional uninsured motorist coverage, they may be left paying for the damage or having to take the responsible person to small claims court. His group encourages customers to talk with their agents or insurance company about their insurance needs and consider purchasing UM coverage.

“In these difficult economic times, there are a number of ways [customers] can save money on your insurance without eliminating [their] ncial safety net,” Newman said.

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