Although auto policies were created to protect drivers, many people still take the huge risk of driving without insurance coverage. According to the National Safety Council, each year 1 out of 11 drivers will be involved in some type of motor vehicle crash. The council also states that the average costs of non-disabling injuries is over $70,000 per person with the average death estimates at more than $1, 400,000. Each year, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gathers highway loss statistics under six insurance coverage requirements within each state:
- Bodily Injury Liability Coverage
- Collision Coverage
- Comprehensive Coverage
- Liability Coverage and Property Damage
- Medical Payment Coverage
- Personal Injury Protection Coverage
All drivers should have some form of these types of insurances stated above, especially with the unpredictable nature of driving accidents. Even with the potential to get injured or injure or kill another driver, many motorists take extreme chances and may encounter one or more of the following risks:
- Drunk Drivers
- Teen Drivers
- Older Drivers
- Distracted Drivers
- Speeding Drivers
- Vehicle Theft
- Weather Risks
Higher Risk Drivers and Other Risks
The potential for financial loss, property damage, and injury or death is great for all drivers, including good drivers. With these risks, comes a potential to encounter specific types of drivers that can make the risks of driving without car insurance much greater.
Driving Under the Influence
Drunk drivers are a huge risk for any driver on the road, especially those without car insurance. According to Columbia University, more than 56 percent of vehicle crashes between 2005 and 2009 that resulted in death were the direct result of someone driving under the influence:
- Combination of Drugs and Alcohol
Encountering a driver that is under the influence happens more often than many drivers may think. Here are some fast facts:
- Alcohol-related crashes occur every 30 minutes
- Injuries occur every two minutes from alcohol-related crashes
- Males drivers age 21 to 34 have higher incidents of impaired driving
Although teen drivers represent a smaller portion of the driving population, because of their inexperience with driving, their potential for causing an accident is four times greater than that of older and more experienced drivers.
Mature drivers pose the highest risk of causing an accident other than teen drivers. Because the population of older adults is increasing, the potential risk for those that do not have car insurance will be greater.
With the increase of technology in cars and cell phones, the risk of potential accidents also increases. Drivers are often distracted by many things:
- Talking on a cellphone
- Reading GPS maps
- Adjusting the car radio
- Talking with passengers
- Grooming in the mirror
- Reaching for food or drinks
Although the National Maximum Speed Limit was retracted in 1995 and most states have consequently raised their speed limits, speeding is still a factor in 1 out 4 crashes according to the National Safety Council.
Although most insurance companies will pay for the costs of a replacement vehicle for drivers with full comprehensive coverage, the potential for theft is still great for certain vehicles:
- Chevrolet Silverado
- Cadillac Escalade
- Dodge Charger
- Ford F-250 4WD
- Chrysler 300
The unpredictability of weather can pose a risk for uninsured motorists. Without insurance, they lose the potential to get their car or truck repaired or replaced by an insurance company. Many insurance companies cover damages caused by various natural disasters:
- Hail Damage
- Tree Branch Damage
- Flood Damage
- Hurricane Damage
- Tornado Damage
State Penalties for Uninsured Motorists
Even though property damage, injury, and death are extreme risks for both insured and uninsured motorists, state penalties for drivers with minimum liability coverage or full coverage have many other unwanted consequences:
Most states have created or increased the fines that uninsured motorists must pay if they are caught without coverage. Some states even provide officers with scanning technology that will allow them to quickly identify both insured and uninsured motorists on the road. Fines may also increase after the first offense. As a result, the only way to avoid costly fines is to get car insurance.
Uninsured drivers could face the high cost of legal fees that may result from a court case concerning a car crash that involved property damage, injury or death. The cost of retaining a lawyer or attorney is an expense that may be avoided with full comprehensive insurance coverage.
If a driver does not have insurance in a no-fault state, he or she will not be covered against accidents, injuries or property damage. In this case, each driver will need to fork out his or her own money to pay for medical expenses or property damage.
Although a court case could result even if a driver has car insurance, it’s more likely that a driver will incur a court case and out-of-pocket expenses if they do not have any insurance coverage. In these types of cases, the other motorist may want to reclaim costs that are not covered by their insurance company from the driver at fault.
Uninsured motorists are responsible for paying the costs involved in a financial settlement for fatal car crashes, sustained or permanent bodily injury and extreme property damage.
Repair and Replacement of Vehicle
Insurance companies often pay to repair or replace a vehicle after an accident. If a driver does not have full coverage insurance, they will need to pay for these costs on their own.
Car Impounding and Vehicle Towing Fees
A police officer can demand that a vehicle is impounded because the driver does not have the minimum amount of car insurance that is required by their state. Not only will the uninsured driver have to obtain car insurance to recover the vehicle, but they will also have to pay for vehicle towing fees along with state fines.
Loss of Drivers License, Suspension, and Seized Tags
One of the most unwanted risks of driving without car insurance is the removal or suspension of a drivers license. Repeat offenders can lose their license or have it suspended for up to one year. They can also have their vehicle tags seized by the state.
Although first offenders may get away with just paying a fine, repeat offenders may pay a higher risk for driving without car insurance. Although not required, some states leave it up to the judge to send a non-compliant uninsured motorist to jail, especially if they have caused a serious accident or caused extreme property damage.