The Uninsured Motorist and Underinsured Motorist Dilemma in California

Southern California Uninsured Drivers

Believe it or not, the exact number of uninsured drivers in California is unknown. The estimates range from about 14% to 20% depending on how the numbers were evaluated. All of the experts agree to the following:

  1. The number of uninsured motorists is rising in the State of California;
  1. In some areas of California the number of uninsured drivers exceed 50%;
  1. Uninsured drivers are far more likely to be involved in a significant car accident.

Reliable studies have concluded that uninsured motorists tend to be younger, less educated, receive less income, rent their homes, and are recognized minorities. The factors that made these California drivers uninsured motorists in the first place are heightened by the current economic downturn. However, the alarming trend is for formerly insured drivers to become uninsured motorists due to the economic downturn. It is easy to understand that a family that loses employment or other income must make difficult economic choices including non-payment of automobile insurance. It is a priority to have food on the table and a roof overhead. Insurance is a distant concern contingent on a mere potential of liability.

You should be concerned. Even in so-called “good” neighborhoods, more and more vehicles which pass you and you pass are uninsured! Just because you live in Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, La Canada, Pasadena, Encino, Sherman Oaks, Calabasas, Agoura, Thousand Oaks does not mean that you will be hit by an uninsured motorist—you will!

Many families from “good” neighborhoods that have weathered the economic downturn still must travel into heavily uninsured areas for work and school. With the uninsured rate in these difficult areas exceeding 50%, it is more than likely that any car accident you have in your travels through these areas will be with an uninsured motorist. Consider how often you travel through Los Angeles, Canoga Park, Van Nuys, Panorama City, East Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Riverside. Also, consider how often drivers from these areas pass you on the freeways or main highways.

The same factors that make drivers uninsured play a role in why they are more likely to be involved in an accident. Generally, the education level is lower and driver training is less. But, it is fair to assume that an uninsured motorist is less likely to operate premium equipment with all its various safety features. Brakes are less likely to be changed or be in optimum repair. Tires are more likely to be bald or sustain a blow out. Headlights and taillights are less likely to be repaired or replaced. Bad weather magnifies the risk from these “deferred” maintenance issues.

Responsible drivers should not assume that a car accident, motorcycle accident, bicycle accident or pedestrian accident with an uninsured driver will not happen to them.

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