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Combined with distracted driving stats, recently shared car insurance data has me even more worried about safe driving. According to the data, 14% of American drivers are actively driving without car insurance. What’s more, more than 15% of insured drivers aren’t carrying adequate coverage. Of course, this increases the financial risks for everyone on the road. What’s going on?

Car Dealership Guy shared the somber stats on X, and it got me thinking about the “why” here. It’s not “new” news that insurance rates have skyrocketed for U.S. drivers post-pandemic. Many U.S.-based auto insurance companies posted quarterly losses in 2023 and requested not-so-small rate hikes in many states. Car repairs and medical expenses are rising as well.

We’ve reported that more than 80% of Americans can’t afford a new car. As such, the data that many folks are going without car insurance in general makes some sense. However, liability coverage is required by law in most states. In fact, as of 2023, New Hampshire and Virginia are the only states that don’t require it. But, lienholders almost always require collision insurance.

A yellow wooden toy car on a flat surface with a toy umbrella placed open on the car roof

We’re all well aware of the nightmarish costs of medical services these days, and many of us are aware that collision repairs can easily creep into thousands of dollars or, of course, completely total a car. To think that so many folks either don’t have any coverage or have limited coverage, driving might start feeling like a game of Russian roulette, no?

The National Safety Council (NSC) estimated that in 2022, a car crash resulting in only physical damage to the car cost about $6,100. In crashes with evident injuries, the cost rose to about $42,000. Since the average American is involved in 3-4 crashes in their lifetime, and the chance of getting into an accident while using a cell phone increases your risk by 400%, carrying sufficient car insurance is key. What’s more, EVs are proving costlier to repair after a collision.

We’ve got to figure this out. As the amount of uninsured drivers rises and we tire of the level of expense it takes just to survive, I hope we figure out the right combo of affordability and legal requirements. “Affordability” here must extend to medical costs in general, of course, or insurance companies will continue to feel pressure to raise rates.