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Cracking Down on Uninsured Drivers: What the State of Indiana Is Doing to Tackle the Issue? And How Uninsured Motorist are Costing Millions of Dollars per Year per State

When it comes to the enforcement of mandatory car insurance, most states continue to grapple with the issue of what should be done to those that drive without it. With roughly 16 percent of its drivers being uninsured according to the Insurance Research Council, the state of Indiana has decided that it is time to take action.

Indiana Formed Study Groups to Reduce Uninsured Drivers

The state has formed a study group to look at possible solutions that can be instituted to lower the total percentage of drivers that drive without car insurance. The state currently has the tenth most uninsured drivers in the United States, though it should be noted that there are a number of states within 2-3 percentage points of Indiana.

So what does the state have in mind to reduce its number of uninsured drivers to the 4 or 5 percent figures achieved by Massachusetts, Maine, and New York? Well, lawmakers have yet to come up with a specific plan. However, many speculate that drivers in Indiana will face some drastic changes over the next year or two.

Those changes could involve a statewide database that documents what kind of coverage a driver has, as well as stiffer penalties to those that drive without car insurance. Some lawmakers have even suggested that coverage limits are raised to compensate for those that do not have insurance.

Uninsured Motorist Rate by State & City

StateState Uninsured Motorist RateCity with Highest Uninsured Motorist RateCity Uninsured Motorist Rate
Alaska 13.2%Anchorage15.9%
Arizona 10.6%Prescott Valley16.6%
Arkansas 15.9%Fayetteville15.3%
California 14.7%Brea11.8%
Connecticut 8.0% Milford10.4%
Delaware 11.5%Dover19.6%
Florida 23.8% Sarasota 30.3%
Georgia 11.7% Marietta14.3%
Hawaii 8.9%Honolulu8.9%
Idaho 6.7%Idaho Falls7.3%
Illinois13.3%Carol Stream14.6%
Indiana 15.2%Greenwood18.9%
Iowa 9.7%Cedar Rapids6.9%
Kansas 9.4%Lenexa12.4%
Kentucky15.8%Bowling Green18.4%
Louisiana 13.9%Baton Rouge13.9%
Maine 4.7%Portland5.9%
Maryland 12.2% Hagerstown16.5%
Massachusetts 3.9% Leominster4.5%
Michigan 21.0%Dearborn Heights29.8%
Minnesota 10.8%Edina14.7%
Mississippi 22.9%Meridian27.4%
Missouri 13.5%Cape Girardeau13.5%
Nebraska 6.7%Bellevue6.7%
Nevada 12.2%Carson City16.9%
New Hampshire 9.3%Concord10.7%
New Jersey 10.3%Sayreville12.7%
New Mexico 21.6%Rio Rancho24.2%
New York 5.3%Troy5.3%
North Carolina 9.1%Hickory10.1%
North Dakota 5.9% Grand Forks6.4%
Ohio 13.5%Cleveland Heights13.5%
Oklahoma 25.9% Moore27.3%
Oregon 9.0%Beaverton9.0%
Pennsylvania6.5%State College6.5%
Rhode Island 17.0%Pawtucket19.1%
South Carolina 7.7%Greenville7.9%
South Dakota 7.8%Rapid City7.8%
Tennessee 20.1% Smyrna22.7%
Texas 13.3% Coppell13.3%
Utah 5.8%Sandy5.8%
Vermont 8.5%Burlington9.0%
Virginia 10.1%Blacksburg14.4%
Washington 16.1% Bremerton18.4%
West Virginia 8.4%Charleston8.4%
Wisconsin 11.7%Brookfield12.5%
Wyoming8.7% Casper10.7%

How Big is the Issue of Uninsured Drivers in Indiana?

Not everybody agrees, though, that something needs to be done about the number of uninsured drivers. Some of those in the group, including Jon Zarich, the vice president of the Insurance Institute of Indiana, believe that those calling for stiffer penalties and a full-fledged crackdown are overreacting. His reasoning is based x-largely on the fact that the national average hovers at around 14 percent, which is not far off the Indiana figure.

What are the Penalties of Driving without Car Insurance in Indiana?

OffenseFine & FeeDriving Privilege Penalty
First Offense$250 reinstatementDriver's license suspended for at least 90 days.
Second Offense$500 reinstatementDriver's license suspended for one year; registration can also be suspended for one year.
Third and Subsequent Offenses$1,000 reinstatementDriver's license suspended for one year; registration can also be suspended for one year.

Drivers are Going to Drive & Auto Insurance Premiums Are Expensive for Some

Zarich went on to point out that Florida continues to have an uninsured driver rate of 25 percent despite having one of the most advanced insurance verification systems in the country. Clearly, Indiana lawmakers need to work out the details before signing off on any sort of legislation so as to ensure its overall effectiveness.

chart compares the states with the highest amount of uninsured motorists with the state of indiana

Jon Zarich did present a potential enforcement idea to discourage anyone from driving without car insurance. His suggestion would prevent those driving without car insurance from receiving pain and suffering court damages after being involved in a car crash, no matter who was at fault. He also suggested raising fines and enforcing stiffer penalties for those that don’t have car insurance but continue to drive. However, his ideas were met with opposition for the most part.

Premium Increase for Valid Drivers from 200 to over 300 per Year in Indiana?

Chart shows how drivers are receiving a premium insurance increase year by year to 2020 from uninsured motorists. From 200 dollars in 2013 to 400 dollars in 2020.

Note: As illustrated by the chart, the cost to drivers carrying coverage increase year by year from claims brought on by uninsured motorists. This is a national average, however the average is more or less the same throughout most states.

The Impact of Raising Coverage Limits

One of the more intriguing proposals that came from the study group involved the idea of raising coverage limits for car insurance in Indiana. The problem with this suggestion is that would most likely punish those law-abiding citizens that actually have car insurance.

Medical Payments, PIP (Personal Injury Protection), and Health Insurance

PIP/ MedPayHealth Insurance
Covers passengers, even if not on policyDoes not cover passengers not included in policy
Covers lost wages and rehab costs (PIP only)Won't cover lost wages due to injury
Covers funeral costsWon't usually cover funeral costs
Back-up if health insurance claim is deniedHealth insurer can possibly deny claim

A raise in coverage limits would almost certainly guarantee an increase in car insurance premiums. The rate hike could be as high as $200-400 per year.

As you might expect, that proposal was met with great opposition, as lawmakers thought it would be grossly ineffective, and harmful to those that have car insurance.

chart shows the increase in medical payments and health insurance costs, in millions, year by year with a increase of 225 million to 440 million in 2020.

A Statewide Car Insurance Coverage Database

Perhaps the most difficult part of enforcing laws related to driving without insurance is verifying whether or not a car is listed in a state database. Several states, including Rhode Island and Hawaii, have already looked to solve this issue by potentially creating a database that includes policy information, thereby helping authorities determine if a particular car is covered.

Some lawmakers in the Indiana study group proposed bringing such a database to the state to help crack down on uninsured drivers.

Harsher Penalties but Does it Reduce Uninsured Motorists? The Past Indicates “No”

Those opposing the database argue that the states that are currently using them have not experienced a reduction in the number of drivers that do not have car insurance. Additionally, keeping track of such data would be incredibly difficult and costly, as drivers tend to change car insurance providers quite frequently to get the best deal available.

With that said, the Indiana study group has not yet come to a decision as to how they will crack down and better enforce laws against driving without car insurance. Jon Zarich, however, believes the solution may not be found by looking at just one of the presented ideas, but rather by blending two of them together.

States with Stiffer Penalties for Uninsured Motorist (Driving w/o Insurance)

States Which Impound VehicleStates Which Confiscate Plates
New YorkMaryland
OregonNew Mexico
PennsylvaniaNorth Carolina
South Carolina

Utah has had Good Success with a Coverage Database & Harsher Penalties

He points out that the success that the state of Utah has had in reducing their number of uninsured drivers to just 5.8 percent (since 2012) can be attributed to their implementation of both a coverage database, and also stiffer penalties. Cars that do not have auto insurance coverage face an incredibly unforgiving impoundment penalty that could cost the drivers a good deal of money.

Regardless of the decision that this study group makes, Indiana drivers can be sure of one thing: the state is going to take a harsher stance against driving without car insurance.

Shaun Fyffe

Shaun Fyffe

Hi, I am Shaun Fyffe and writing is my passion. In my spare time I enjoy the outdoors, spending time with my family, sometimes I might go hiking or riding a bike, plus doing the regular hanging out - New York Style!

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