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Are your roads filled with uninsured drivers?

During hard economic times, expensive car insurance rates discourage many drivers from purchasing even basic liability auto insurance policies.  To protect yourself, consider carrying uninsured motorist (UM) and underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage.

UM will pay for injuries when someone without car insurance causes an accident or when you're struck by a hit-and-run driver. UIM takes effect when someone else causes an accident but doesn't have enough insurance to cover your costs. UM and UIM policies also pay for lost wages if you are injured and can’t immediately return to work.

A new report from the Insurance Research Council (IRC) reveals exactly where UM coverage could be a wise bet.

The IRC says the percentage of uninsured drivers generally rises along with the unemployment rate and currently stands at 13.8 percent. Here’s a look at the states where the need for uninsured motorist coverage is greatest:

State

Uninsured %

Unemployed %

Mississippi

28

10.4

New Mexico

26

6.7

Florida

24

10.7

Oklahoma

24

5.5

Tennessee

24

9.8

Alabama

22

10.0

Michigan

19

10.9

Kentucky

18

9.5

Rhode Island

18

10.8

Arkansas

16

8.2

Georgia

16

10.1

Indiana

16

8.5

Ohio

16

9.0

Washington

16

9.3

California

15

12.0

Colorado

15

8.5

District of Columbia

15

10.8

Illinois

15

9.5

Maryland

15

7.2

Texas

15

8.4

Wisconsin

15

7.8

Missouri

14

8.7

North Carolina

14

10.1

Alaska

13

7.7

Louisiana

13

7.6

Minnesota

13

7.2

Nevada

13

12.9

Arizona

12

9.4

Delaware

11

8.1

Hawaii

11

6.1

Iowa

11

6.0

Montana

11

7.7

New Hampshire

11

5.2

New Jersey

11

9.5

South Carolina

11

10.9

Virginia

11

6.1

West Virginia

11

8.1

Connecticut

10

9.1

Kansas

10

6.5

Oregon

10

9.5

Wyoming

10

5.8

North Dakota

9

3.3

South Dakota

9

4.7

Idaho

8

9.4

Nebraska

8

4.1

Utah

8

7.5

Pennsylvania

7

7.8

Vermont

7

5.7

New York

5

8.0

Maine

4.5

7.7

Massachusetts

4.5

7.6

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