More People Dropping Auto Policies, Economy To Blame

A sour economy apparently means a greater risk of you getting into a car accident with someone with no auto coverage.  A report recently published by the Insurance Research Council suggests those who are strapped for cash are dropping their auto insurance policies to save money.

Uninsured drivers already run rampant in Texas and here in the Panhandle region.  Clark Damon, an Allstate agent in Amarillo, says "you'll have clients that, when they call to turn in a claim, they say 'every time I make a claim I'm hit by someone with no auto insurance' so it's a fairly frequent thing."

Allstate reports 21 thousand of its Texas customers had an accident with an uninsured driver last year.

Damon says, "the problem of uninsured drivers is going to get worse as the economy goes through problems we are seeing right now."

The Insurance Research Council predicts by next year, one in six drivers will be using roadways with no auto insurance.

Jerry Johns with the Southwest Insurance Information Service says, "they could do 300, 400 thousand dollars' worth of damage if there's physical injury involved it could get even worse. If it lingers a long time, up to one million dollars."

Which is why if cutting costs is necessary, industry experts warn not to cut auto insurance.

Johns says, "it's a time when people need to keep their auto policies enforced, because there is enormous liability out there."

It is also illegal.  All but two states require drivers have car insurance.

The Research Council's report shows a direct correlation between a one percent increase in unemployment and a 3/4 increase in the number of uninsured drivers.

Right now in Texas, an estimated four million people are driving uninsured on the road.

Agents and industry insiders alike say the best way to protect yourself is through uninsured motorist coverage.