All but two states require that drivers have car insurance, yet a recent MarketWatch Guides study found that one in eight drivers (12.5%) were uninsured. It ranked the states with the highest percentages of uninsured drivers, and none of them included the two where insurance is optional.

Though not technically a state, the District of Columbia (D.C.) had the most uninsured drivers, with 25.2% lacking coverage. MarketWatch attributes some of that delinquency to the astronomical insurance costs in the region, which averages $644 for minimum-liability coverage.

The rankings are from 2022, the most recent year for which data was available.

The top 10 states with the most uninsured drivers:

  1. District of Columbia: 25.2%
  2. New Mexico: 24.9%
  3. Mississippi: 22.2%
  4. Tennessee: 20.9%
  5. Michigan: 19.6%
  6. Kentucky: 18.7%
  7. Delaware: 18.1%
  8. Georgia: 18.1%
  9. Colorado: 17.5%
  10. Ohio: 17.1%

Though it landed fifth on the list, Michigan had the highest average monthly and annual insurance costs, at $134 and $1,604, respectively. Delaware, at No. 7 on the list, had the largest fines for a first offense of driving without insurance, with drivers potentially receiving a six-month license suspension and a fine of up to $1,500.

Insurance is not required in New Hampshire and Virginia, but the “Live Free or Die” state had one of the lowest numbers of uninsured drivers, with just 7.8% driving without coverage. Wyoming had the smallest number at 5.9%, and Idaho was second, tied with Maine at 6.2 percent.

States with the fewest uninsured drivers:

  1. Wyoming, 5.9%
  2. Idaho, 6.2%
  3. Maine, 6.2%
  4. Utah, 7.3%
  5. Nebraska, 7.8%
  6. New Hampshire, 7.8%
  7. North Dakota, 7.9%
  8. Kansas, 8%
  9. South Dakota, 8%
  10. Minnesota, 8.7%

Though it’s scary to think about sharing the road with people who can’t or won’t get car insurance, the good news is that most major insurers offer uninsured motorist coverage — and as these numbers indicate, it’s coverage you’d be wise to have. It can protect you if you’re involved in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver and the other party can’t pay for the damages or injuries you sustained in the crash. Uninsured/underinsured coverage is also required in many states, so there’s a good chance you already have it.

Other interesting findings: 

  • Delaware has the highest fines for uninsured drivers — $1,500 for a first offense, and a six-month license suspension.

  • Missouri’s fines are the most lenient, with first offenders fined just $20, though your license will be suspended until you provide proof of insurance.

  • In Maryland, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Arkansas, Georgia, Connecticut, and South Dakota, you risk jail time for driving without insurance. In Connecticut, the maximum sentence is 5 years!

 



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