Uninsured Drivers Predicted to Rise With Unemployment - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Uninsured Drivers Predicted to Rise With Unemployment

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TRI-CITIES, Wash-- The number of uninsured drivers on the road is predicted to rise due to the economic downturn. A new study finds that as unemployment increases so does driving without insurance.

The owner of Mid Columbia Insurance says as the economy is falling people are looking for one bill they can stop paying. Sometimes they think they won't get into an accident, so they neglect their insurance bill. There are major consequences to driving without insurance, like a $550 ticket.

The Insurance Research Council says the national average of drivers without insurance could reach more than 16 percent in 2010.

"The hard part with insurance especially as the economy goes down is they want to pay for their food, they want to pay for rent, they've got to pay for clothes. Insurance becomes a real low priority sometimes," said Gary Paulson, Owner of Mid Columbia Insurance.

Mid Columbia Insurance specializes in getting people who have problems like multiple tickets or accidents insured.

"You want to look in your rear view mirror and know that the guy behind you has insurance, or the guy that's coming to the stop sign is going to stop. I hope he has insurance, so we want to try to help people get their insurance going right away," said Paulson.

Driving without insurance is against every state law in the U.S., but still people attempt to get from point A to point B without it.

"Especially in difficult economic times it's very easy for people to get very focused on themselves. Laws such as this were not made to protect you, they were made to protect everyone else," said Capt. Mike Cobb, Richland Police Deparment.

In our state the ticket for driving without insurance is $550, but if you get insurance you can show that to the judge and most likely it will be dropped to $50, but then the state doesn't keep track of whether you keep paying your insurance monthly.

"Some of the states, Oregon and Idaho, if you get pulled over without insurance, they will actually tow your car then you have to keep insurance registered with the state for three years or you lose your license," said Paulson.

Many insurance companies recommend getting uninsured motorist coverage. They say you could be left paying for damage that an uninsured driver caused and court fees if you choose to take them to small claims court.