According to the Insurance Information Institute, the uninsured driver rate in Wisconsin has typically remained under 15%. As of 2015, this number was around 14.3%. This doesn’t quite rank the state in the top ten for uninsured drivers, but we’re not far off, with D.C. ranking in tenth place at 15.6%. That’s just over a one-point difference keeping Wisconsin out of the top ten worst states for uninsured motorists. But, what we’re looking at in the very near future may boost Wisconsin right up there with Florida, Mississippi and New Mexico in the top five, where the prevalence of uninsured drivers come in at anywhere from 20% to 26.7% of all motorists.
The New Normal
The American economy, and American culture and society in general, are currently undergoing an unprecedented transformation. Optimistically, we all may come out better, stronger, and smarter on the other side. But right now, we’re still doing whatever we can to manage the multiple crises our country is facing. If you run an insurance company, you’re thinking about how you can keep your customers loyal at a time when everyone is looking for a better deal, or dropping certain expenses entirely.
One way auto insurers have done this is by offering refunds on monthly premiums. There are far fewer cars on the road right now than at any time in recent memory, so it’s not a bad idea to give your customers their money back if they barely did any driving last month.
Another approach is sort of a double-edged sword: Deferred billing on auto insurance premiums.
It’s a great idea in theory. In practice, it can be hit-or-miss. Deferred payments don’t mean waived payments; it means that those bills will be allowed to stack up without cancellation or late fees. So what happens if, when it comes time to pay all of those bills, you simply don’t have the money at hand?
You can either lower your limits, which isn’t always ideal but does leave you with auto insurance and the legal permission to drive, or you can drop your coverage and take the risk of driving without insurance.
Plenty of people will be able to pay their deferred premiums, plenty of people will opt for lower coverage, and some will drop their coverage entirely. The smart move from there is to choose not to drive until you can get your insurance situation sorted, but no matter how it shakes out, we will see a spike in uninsured motorists once those bills come due.
Minimum Recommended Coverage?
So what does this all add up to?
The minimum recommended coverage has generally been liability plus comprehensive and collision. Liability covers you in most instances where the damages were found to be your fault, and comprehensive and collision cover you in many instances where the other party’s insurance does not. But, if the other party is uninsured, you could be left holding the repair bill. When the odds of this being the case were 14.3%, that was a risk many Waukesha drivers were willing to take, but with that 14.3% about to rise, liability, comprehensive, and collision might not be enough.