Uninsured Motorist Statistics By State [2024]

The national rate of driving while uninsured may have dropped from a recent high, but uninsured motorists can still cost other drivers a pretty penny.

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Updated May 13, 2024
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If you’re in a car accident and the other driver is at fault, generally, their insurance will pay for your repair and medical bills. But what happens when the other driver doesn’t have insurance — or enough insurance — to cover the costs of an accident?

The number of uninsured vehicles on the road has decreased in recent years. However, many still operate a car without insurance or the minimum required amount of insurance, leaving you at risk.

Let’s look at some uninsured motorist statistics to see how much they cost insured drivers, the percentage of uninsured drivers by state, and how uninsured driving has changed over recent years.

In this article

Key takeaways

  • Minimum levels of auto insurance coverage are required in 49 states and the District of Columbia before someone can legally drive a vehicle.
  • The uninsured motorist population has increased by 1.2% to roughly 28 million drivers.
  • Mississippi has the highest uninsured motorist rate at 29.4%.
  • Only 3.1% of New Jersey drivers didn’t have auto insurance, the lowest in the country.
  • 21 states and the District of Columbia had uninsured motorist rates higher than the countrywide rate of 12.6%.

One in eight drivers doesn't have insurance

There were more than 228.6 million licensed drivers in the U.S. in 2019 (the most recent data available), according to the Federal Highway Administration. 12.6% of those drivers either did not have insurance or did not have enough insurance to cover accident damages. This was down slightly from a nine-year high of 13.1% in 2017. 

Source: Insurance Research Center, Insurance Information Institute, USAfacts.org

The uninsured motorist rate increased by 1.2%

Although the uninsured motorist rate increased by only 1.2% nationally between 2015 and 2019, several states had more significant increases during this time.

Washington saw a 6.9% increase in the rate of uninsured motorists between 2015 and 2019, while Rhode Island and Mississippi rose 6.8% and 6.4%, respectively.

Conversely, New Jersey, which currently has the lowest uninsured motorist rates in the nation, had an 11.8% decrease in uninsured drivers, Texas had the subsequent largest decline (5.8%), followed by New Hampshire (3.8%) and Delaware (2.9%).

Source: Insurance Research Council, Forbes

Mississippi has the highest uninsured motorist population

Mississippi had the highest uninsured motorist population in 2019 at 29.4%, followed by Michigan (25.5%), Tennessee (23.7%), New Mexico (21.8%), and Washington state (21.7%). New Jersey, Massachusetts, and New York had the lowest percentages of uninsured drivers, at 3.1%, 3.5%, and 4.1%, respectively.

Source: Insurance Research Center, Insurance Information Institute, USAfacts.org

North Dakota sees the highest spike in uninsured drivers

According to data from the Insurance Research Council and Forbes, North Dakota came in at 21 on the IRC’s list of states with the most uninsured drivers in the country and saw a 6.2% increase between 2015 to 2019.

In 2015, 6.8% of drivers in North Dakota drove without insurance, well below the then-national average of 11.3%. In 2019 that number increased to 13% of North Dakota drivers driving without insurance, just slightly above the national average.

The second highest increase was from Mississippi, rising by 5.7% in 2019, and Michigan was in third place with a 5.2% increase.

Source: Insurance Research Council, Forbes

Insured drivers pay more than $13 billion for UM/UIM coverage 

People with insurance paid an average of $78 extra per insured vehicle in 2016 to protect themselves from property damage and medical bills caused by uninsured drivers.

Although having insurance is a legal requirement in every state except New Hampshire, 82% of the estimated 28 million people who drive without insurance say that they can’t afford to insure their vehicles, so they drive without it.

Driving without insurance can result in severe penalties, even for first-time offenders, ranging from fines and points against your license to suspension and jail time.

Source: Insurance Information Institute, Insurance Research Center, Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Institute, Progressive Auto Insurance

Rising insurance costs may be a factor in driving uninsured

Insurance costs, along with other goods and services, have risen in recent years and may make it harder for people to afford basic liability and collision coverage.

According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), the average yearly cost of auto insurance has increased from $789.29 in 2010 to $1,070.47 in 2019.

The American Automobile Association (AAA) estimates that in 2021, full coverage insurance cost $1,353 for a small sedan and $1,292 for a compact SUV. The most significant increases in auto insurance occurred in 2016 and 2017, where costs rose 5.4% (or an average of $945.02) and 6.7% (or $1,008.52) per year, respectively.

Source: Insurance Information Institute, National Association of Insurance Commissioners

The cost of insurance by state does not correlate to the number of uninsured motorists, however

In 2019, Alabama had the 7th highest percentage of uninsured motorists in the nation (19.5%), but the average cost of insurance was $906.36, putting them 29th for average insurance costs in the U.S.

For comparison, insurance in New Jersey cost $1,395.53 in 2019 (the 6th highest average insurance premiums) but the state had the fewest uninsured motorists in the country. Louisiana had the highest average insurance cost in 2019, at $1,557.22, but only 11.7% of its population drove without insurance, ranking them 26th in the III’s estimated percentage of uninsured motorists by state.

Maine had the lowest average cost, at $696.37 in 2019, and ranked fourth lowest on the III’s list of uninsured motorists, at 4.9%.

Source: Insurance Information Institute, American Automobile Association (AAA)

21 states require uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage

Twenty-one states require at least minimum amounts of uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage as part of their insurance requirements.

New Jersey has a relatively low minimum requirement — just $15,000 of UM coverage, $5,000 of which is for property damage coverage — compared to other states like Vermont and Maine, which require $50,000 to $100,000 in uninsured motorist coverage to drive legally.

Sources: National Association of Insurance Commissioners, Insurance Information Institute, State of New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance

No-pay, no-play laws may slightly reduce the number of uninsured drivers

No-pay, no-play regulations limit uninsured drivers’ right to sue for certain types of damage after an accident.

According to an Insurance Research Council (IRC) 2012 study (the most recent data available), having no-pay, no-play laws may reduce the rate of uninsured motorists by 1.6%.

Eleven states currently have these laws, although every state has a different set of rules. Louisiana requires uninsured motorists to pay the first $10,000 in out-of-pocket medical expenses and the first $10,000 in property damage before they can sue the other driver.

In New Jersey, uninsured drunk drivers or people who intentionally committed other crimes are prohibited from filing lawsuits for economic or noneconomic (i.e., pain and suffering) damages.

Source: Insurance Information Institute, Insurance Research Council

Percentage of uninsured motorists by state, ranked

State Percent uninsured
Mississippi 29.4%
Michigan 25.5%
Tennessee 23.7%
New Mexico 21.8%
Washington 21.7%
Florida 20.4%
Alabama 19.5%
Arkansas 19.3%
District of Columbia 19.1%
California 16.6%
Rhode Island 16.5%
Missouri 16.4%
Colorado 16.3%
Alaska 16.1%
Indiana 15.8%
Maryland 14.1%
Kentucky 13.9%
Oklahoma 13.4%
Wisconsin 13.3%
Idaho 13.2%
Ohio 13.0%
North Dakota 13.0%
Georgia 12.4%
Arizona 11.8%
Illinois 11.8%
Louisiana 11.7%
Iowa 11.3%
Kansas 10.9%
South Carolina 10.9%
Oregon 10.7%
Virginia 10.5%
Nevada 10.4%
Minnesota 9.9%
Hawaii 9.3%
Nebraska 9.3%
West Virginia 9.2%
Vermont 8.8%
Montana 8.5%
Delaware 8.5%
Texas 8.3%
South Dakota 7.4%
North Carolina 7.4%
Utah 6.5%
Connecticut 6.3%
New Hampshire 6.1%
Pennsylvania 6.0%
Wyoming 5.8%
Maine 4.9%
New York 4.1%
Massachusetts 3.5%
New Jersey 3.1%
Source: Insurance Research Council

Uninsured/underinsured motorist requirements by state

State Insurance required Minimum liability limits
Connecticut Uninsured motorist, underinsured motorist 25/50
D.C. Uninsured motorist 25/50
Illinois Uninsured motorist, underinsured motorist 25/50
Kansas Uninsured motorist, underinsured motorist 25/50
Maine Uninsured motorist, underinsured motorist 50/100
Maryland Uninsured motorist, underinsured motorist 30/60
Massachusetts Uninsured motorist 20/40
Minnesota Uninsured motorist, underinsured motorist 30/60
Missouri Uninsured motorist 25/50
Nebraska Uninsured motorist, underinsured motorist 25/50
New Hampshire *Auto insurance is not required by New Hampshire, but if you purchase it, it must include uninsured motorist coverage at limits equal to your liability coverage 25/50
New Jersey Uninsured motorist, underinsured motorist 15/30
New York Uninsured motorist 25/50
North Carolina Uninsured motorist, underinsured motorist 30/60
North Dakota Uninsured motorist, underinsured motorist 25/50
Oregon Uninsured motorist 25/50
South Carolina Uninsured motorist 25/50
South Dakota Uninsured motorist, underinsured motorist 25/50
Vermont Uninsured motorist, underinsured motorist 50/100
Virginia Uninsured motorist, underinsured motorist 30/60
West Virginia Uninsured motorist 25/50
Sources: III.org, state insurance department websites, accurate as of January 10, 2023

Saving on your auto insurance costs

Finding the best car insurance coverage that protects you from perils like uninsured motorists is only half the battle — you also want to get a good deal. Having the right car insurance coverage is one of the best ways to ensure you’re financially prepared for whatever the road throws at you. To find the best price on your auto coverage, consider the following:

Shop around

Insurance companies offer different rates for the same types of coverage, so be sure to get multiple quotes before deciding on a policy. Remember that the lowest price may not be the cheapest option if you don’t get the coverage you need. Compare coverages and policy limits, pay attention to customer service reviews, and compare rates from multiple types of insurance companies.

Bundle your insurance policies

Many insurance companies offer additional savings if you insure two or more cars through the same company or purchase your auto insurance with other policies, like home or renters insurance. Compare multi-policy rates to get the best deal while maintaining the proper coverage.

Keep a good credit history

Many insurers use your credit history to determine your insurance premium since statistics suggest that those with better credit are safer drivers. Check your credit history regularly to ensure you haven’t been the victim of identity theft and pay your monthly bills on time to help you maintain a strong credit history.

Take advantage of discounts

Most insurance companies offer low-mileage discounts, as well as additional savings for driving a car with added safety features, keeping a clean driving record, and even taking a defensive driving course. If you have a student on your insurance policy, you may also receive a discount if they complete driver's education classes or have a high GPA each semester.

Raise your deductible

Raising your deductible, or the amount you pay before insurance kicks in after an accident, can help you save significant money on your insurance premiums. However, before raising the amount, ensure that you have enough savings to cover your new, higher deductible so that you aren’t scrambling for cash after an accident.

Bottom line

Uninsured motorists cost insured drivers more money through higher premiums, additional required coverages like uninsured or underinsured motorist protection, and even potentially expensive repair or medical bills.

Maintaining your auto insurance coverage is an essential part of protecting yourself financially. If cost has become an issue, search for a policy offering your state's required minimums for the lowest price and consider raising your deductible rather than going without insurance altogether.

Sources

1. Insurance Information Institute - Facts + Statistics: Uninsured motorists

2. Insurance Research Council - One in Eight Drivers Uninsured

3. Federal Highway Administration - Policy and Governmental Affairs Office of Highway Policy Information Highway Statistics 2019

4. National Association of Insurance Commissioners - Uninsured motorists

5. Insurance Information Institute - Facts + Statistics: Auto Insurance

6. USAFacts.org - Licensed Driver Facts

7. Insurance Information Institute - Automotive Financial Responsibility Laws By State

8. Forbes - Here’s Why Uninsured Drivers Are Running Up Your Insurance Bill

9. State of New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance - Filing an Uninsured/Underinsured Motor Property Damage Claim

10. Insurance Information Institute: Background on Compulsory Auto/Uninsured Motorists

11. United States Department of the Treasury Federal Insurance Office - Study on the Affordability of Personal Automobile Insurance January 2017

12. AAA - Your Driving Costs 2021

13. Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association: Uninsured Motorist - Colorado

14. Progressive Auto Insurance - What are the consequences of driving without insurance?

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Author Details

Kate Daugherty

Kate Daugherty is a professional writer with a passion for providing others the head start they deserve on their financial journeys. Largely self-taught, Kate relied on books, blogs, and trial-and-error to learn how to budget and save for the future, all while working to pay back about $15,000 in student loans.