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While many drivers are aware of the importance of car insurance, recent reports have shown the number of uninsured drivers is rising. Despite the fact that the overwhelming majority of state laws regarding auto insurance require drivers to carry coverage, many do not, potentially risking fines, arrest and license suspension, while putting other drivers in danger.

According to CNW Research, the number of people driving without auto insurance rose 0.7 percent between 2009 and 2010, increasing from 17.4 percent to 18.1 percent. There also appears to be a correlation between the unemployment rate and the number of uninsured drivers. As individuals lose their jobs, paying for coverage becomes more of a burden and driving without auto insurance may seem like a more appealing alternative.

The impact of a high number of uninsured drivers can be devastating both for individual states and their residents. A state’s auto insurance premiums may increase if a number of individuals begin foregoing insurance and cause accidents. Additionally, states may lose funds from individuals not paying their registration fees or ignoring other related services for which proof of insurance is required, cutting funding for local towns, schools and other programs.

State laws regarding auto insurance

Each state’s auto insurance laws are different, requiring different amounts of minimum auto insurance coverage. However, many believe that every state in the U.S. requires drivers to have an auto insurance policy. In actuality, New Hampshire has no mandatory auto insurance policy law.

But even drivers there are still legally responsible for any damages they cause, and risk a lawsuit if they don’t have coverage. New Hampshire drivers who wish to drop coverage must prove that, in the event of an accident, they would be able to financially cover any resulting expenses, including injuries and vehicle damage, which would have otherwise been covered by the auto insurer. In addition, if they are involved in a significant at-fault crash, they will be required to buy insurance for the next three years.

As the number of individuals driving without auto insurance rises, insured drivers should be sure they are protected in the event one of those uninsured drivers causes an accident. Most insurers provide the option of uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage, which helps cover expenses related to accidents with those without insurance or sufficient coverage amounts. Finding the most affordable auto insurance provider offering this type of policy can be simple by getting an online auto insurance quote to determine the monthly premiums for the optional coverage.