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Lynne McChristian       
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Florida Has Among the Highest Uninsured Motorists Rates in the U.S.

TAMPA, February 12, 2009 —Nearly one in four Florida drivers may be driving without insurance, according to a recent study, and that number could rise by as much as five percentage points next year as the economic downturn causes unemployment rates to increase, according to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.).

A new study by the Insurance Research Council (IRC) reported that approximately 23 percent of Florida drivers are uninsured, the fifth highest percentage of uninsured drivers in the nation.  The IRC study also found a strong correlation between the percentage of uninsured motorists and the unemployment rate.  Nationally, the IRC forecasts that the percentage of uninsured motorists will likely rise from 13.8 percent in 2007 to 16.1 percent in 2010.

Based on Florida’s current unemployment rate projections, the I.I.I. projects the percentage of uninsured Florida drivers will likely rise from 23 percent in 2007 (latest data available) to as high as 28 percent in 2010.

The states with the highest number of uninsured drivers in 2007 were New Mexico (29 percent), Mississippi (28 percent), Alabama (26 percent), Oklahoma (24 percent) and Florida (23 percent). The five states with the lowest uninsured driver estimates were Massachusetts (1 percent), Maine (4 percent), North Dakota (5 percent), New York (5 percent) and Vermont (6 percent).

Florida law requires drivers to carry automobile insurance and levies fines and suspends the license, vehicle registration and vehicle tag for those caught driving without it. With more uninsured drivers on the road, the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) suggests that responsible drivers make sure they have adequate amounts of uninsured (UI) or underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage to financially protect themselves.

“Uninsured drivers create risks for themselves and for all drivers, and that means purchasing just the minimum amount of required coverage may not be enough,” said Lynne McChristian, Florida representative for the I.I.I. “Purchasing uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage will pay for medical expenses and lost wages after the limits of a minimal policy are paid out.”

Uninsured motorist coverage applies when an at-fault driver has no liability insurance or inadequate coverage. It pays for injuries to you, your family members or any other person in your car that were caused by an uninsured or underinsured motorist. Florida law requires a minimum of $10,000 personal injury protection and $10,000 for property damage liability.

For additional information on this subject, go to Facts and Statistics: Uninsured Motorists. For information on automobile insurance requirements in Florida, check the Automobile Insurance Guide available from the Florida Dept. of Financial Services.

For additional information about insurance, go to the I.I.I. Web site and www.InsuringFlorida.org.

The I.I.I. is a nonprofit, communications organization supported by the insurance industry.

Insurance Information Institute
4775 E. Fowler Avenue
Tampa, FL 33617
(813) 675-1054