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Economy Causing More Uninsured Drivers - What You Can Do To Protect Yourself

A bad economy and Nevada's high unemployment rate is causing yet another costly problem. A new report says one out of every six drivers in Nevada doesn't have car insurance, and that number is expected to increase as the jobless rate soars.

Car insurance in Clark County is already very expensive, and now there are signs that rates will probably go up. Nevada drivers pay the tenth highest auto insurance premiums in the country, but 17-percent aren't paying.

According to the Insurance Research Council, the rate of uninsured motorists is connected to the jobless rate. If unemployment goes up 1-percent, the uninsured driver rate goes up .75-percent.

State law says car insurance is mandatory, so the people not paying are breaking the law. The President of the Nevada Insurance Council says all of us are paying the price.

"That's a major problem, especially for the people who do pay insurance and abide by the law. The people who are paying insurance on a monthly or annual basis are actually paying the cost for people who don't, and it's one of the reasons why insurance rates are so high in Nevada," said Michael Geeser.

There are some safeguards in place to catch the illegal drivers. Insurance companies are required to give the DMV a list of people who cancel their auto insurance. Last year, the DMV caught 65,000 drivers in Nevada who tried to beat the system and drive without car insurance.

Uninsured drivers pulled over will face fines and the DMV will suspend your license if you're an uninsured driver who causes a wreck.

Car insurance rates have been going up for ten years. It may be expensive, but when something goes wrong, you do need the insurance to pay medical bills and fix the car.

Attorney Matt Hoffmann from Battle Born Injury Lawyers discussed this on a recent appearance of Las Vegas Morning Blend.

He suggests "The Answer to protect yourself and your family is Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist coverage. This is coverage that protects you when the at-fault driver either (1) has not insurance, or (2) does not have enough insurance to cover all the bodily injury damages. Your insurance company is required by law to offer you uninsured motorist coverage and underinsured motorist coverage.

An added benefit of Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist coverage is that it applies to you, anyone in the car with you, and any family members living in the household who are injured in an accident. And you don't even have to be in a car for this coverage to apply – it also covers you and any family members if injured in an accident as a pedestrian, which includes activities like riding a bicycle. Lastly, this insurance follows you to any vehicle you and your family occupy, including rental car or the cars of friends, families, and co-workers.

For those who are nervous about notifying their insurance company about an accident, please know that insurance companies cannot raise your rates for accessing your Uninsured/Underinsured coverage, GAP coverage, or collision coverage if you are not the at-fault driver.

You can't control what someone else does, how they drive, or their decision to follow the law and carry motor vehicle insurance. However, you can control how you protect yourself. Don't spend your hard-earned dollars to protect others when you can pay a minimal amount more and protect yourself and your family. Contact your insurance company today and ensure you have, at a minimum, Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist coverage."