We all know driving can be dangerous, but in some states it’s more dangerous to your wallet than others. If another driver crashes into your car, can you be sure that driver has insurance, and, if so, enough to cover the damages?
The answer to this question varies from state to state. The proportion of drivers with no insurance ranges from a high of 25.9 percent of drivers in Oklahoma to only 3.9 percent in Massachusetts.
There are also significant differences in insurance requirements that can protect your finances after an accident. States require varying amounts of minimum liability coverage, which protects others when a driver causes an accident. States may also require insurance for medical expenses (medical payments coverage or personal injury protection) and coverage to protect you against uninsured or underinsured drivers.
When it comes to uninsured drivers and insurance requirements, is your state safer or riskier? WalletHub crunched the numbers and ranked the 50 states and the District of Columbia. You can find out how your states rates below.
Most and Least Risky States for Drivers' Wallets: Main Findings
States Ranked from Safest to Riskiest
Liability Insurance Requirements
Other Types of Insurance Required
Estimated Percent of Uninsured Drivers
|9||South Carolina||25/50/25||UMBI, UMPD||7.7|
|T-13||North Carolina||30/60/25||UMBI, UMPD||9.1|
|19||West Virginia||20/40/10||UMBI, UMPD||8.4|
|22||District of Columbia||25/50/10||UMBI, UMPD||11.9|
“Liability Insurance Requirements” represent (in thousands of dollars) the minimum bodily injury coverage per person, bodily injury coverage per accident, and property damage coverage per accident required.
Under “Other Types of Insurance Required”:
- MPC is Medical Payments Coverage
- PIP is Personal Injury Protection
- UMBI is Uninsured Motorist Coverage for Bodily Injuries
- UMPD is Uninsured Motorist Coverage for Property Damage
There is no correlation between a state’s liability insurance requirements and the percentage of drivers lacking insurance in that state:
Setting minimum coverage requirements at certain levels can affect more than just a driver’s insurance premium. To further educate consumers, we asked a panel of experts to share their insight on the various impacts of high coverage minimums. Click on the experts’ profiles to read their bios and responses to the following key questions:
- When a state sets higher minimum levels of coverage, does it make the roads safer?
- When there are higher minimums, how does it affect premiums for safe drivers?
- When coverage minimums are higher, how does it affect the proportion of drivers who are uninsured?
Ask the Experts
Ranking liability car insurance to protect others
- Bodily Injury Liability Insurance (per person): 1 point for every $5,000 of required coverage.
- Bodily Injury Liability Insurance (per accident): 1 point for every $10,000 of required coverage.
- Property Damage Liability Coverage: 1 point for every $5,000 of required coverage.
- Points for each of the three insurance types above were added together to determine rankings for this category.
Ranking other forms of insurance to protect you and your car
- Medical-Related Coverage: 6 points if personal injury protection or medical payments coverage is required.
- Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage: 3 points for uninsured bodily injury coverage and 3 points for uninsured property damage coverage is required, for a total of 6 possible points.
- Points were added together for a total possible 12 points for this category.
Ranking the percentage of uninsured drivers in each state
- The Insurance Research Council published estimates of the proportion of uninsured drivers in each state in 2012. This data was used to calculate a score ranging from 0 to 25. A state with no uninsured drivers would get a perfect score of 25. A state with 25 percent or more uninsured drivers would get a score of 0.
- Points for all three categories above were summed together to determine an overall safety ranking by state.
New Hampshire, New Jersey and Virginia insurance requirements
- Three states give drivers additional options besides the standard minimum requirements, but in all three states few drivers choose them, so they are not reflected in the table above or the rankings.
- New Hampshire drivers have the option to decline insurance, provided they can demonstrate that they have adequate funds to cover expenses arising from an accident.
- Virginia drivers have the option to pay a $500 annual uninsured motor vehicle fee in lieu of obtaining auto insurance.
- New Jersey drivers can choose a “basic policy” that includes no bodily injury liability coverage, $5,000 of property damage liability coverage, and personal injury protection; however, over 98 percent of New Jersey policies are “standard policies” with the minimums shown above.
Sources: Data for insurance requirements were obtained from state insurance departments. Uninsured driver estimates are from an Insurance Research Council study published in “Uninsured Motorists, 2014 Edition.”