As Money Woes Rise, Drivers Let Insurance Lapse

Jobless Americans can't afford insurance
By Peter Fearon,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 16, 2008 10:14 PM CST
Police investigate the scene of a fatal accident near Huntsville, Tenn. A sport utility vehicle full of high school cheerleaders collided with an oncoming car.   (AP Photo/WBIR-TV)
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(Newser) – As the unemployment rate climbs, so, too, does the number of drivers letting their car insurance lapse, the Wall Street Journal reports. One industry group says several hundred thousand drivers dropped their insurance in the last year alone. A study two years ago pegged the percentage of uninsured drivers at 15% nationally, and that figure is sure to rise when the new report comes out next month.

Even those who buy insurance often buy the absolute minimum required by law. "A good proportion of people on the road are either uninsured or under-insured, and so you have to protect yourself," said Robert Hartwig, president of the Insurance Information Institute. "Your odds of being in an accident with an uninsured driver are substantial."