More Uninsured Drivers on Country's Roads

On behalf of Robinette Legal Group, PLLC

As the economy stalls and unemployment rates rise, people make adjustments to their budgets and do the best they can to get by. But as a study by the Insurance Research Council (IRC) suggests, many people attempt to save money by cutting costs in the wrong places.

The IRC report estimates that by the end of 2010, one in every six drivers in the United States will be uninsured. In 2007, eight percent of drivers in West Virginia did not carry auto insurance -- that's one in 12 motorists. New Mexico had the highest rate of uninsured motorists at 29 percent.

Though a variety of factors go into a person's decision to not purchase insurance, the strongest correlation is the unemployment rate. Nationally, for every one percent rise in unemployment, the rate of uninsured motorists rises by .75 percent.

West Virginia Requires Liability and Uninsured Motorist Insurance

Like other states, West Virginia has mandatory insurance requirements. According to the Office of the Insurance Commissioner, West Virginia drivers are required to carry both liability and uninsured motorist insurance. For liability coverage, the policy must have, at a minimum, $10,000 for property damage, $20,000 for bodily injury and $40,000 total injury. Uninsured motorist coverage amounts are the same. Though these are the minimum requirements, experts advise that it is best to purchase coverage well beyond these limits, as the total injury costs and property damage in serious accidents can often exceed the policy amounts.

If you have been involved in a car accident with an uninsured driver, you do have options. Though you will not be able to collect on the other driver's policy, your own policy may cover your medical costs associated with the accident. A lawsuit against the other driver may also be an option. Discussing your options with an experienced personal injury attorney is the best way to protect your rights and interests, before you find yourself embroiled in an insurance dispute with your insurer.