Many drivers forego auto insurance in New Mexico and Mississippi

Twenty-nine percent of New Mexico drivers and 28 percent of Mississippi drivers lack auto insurance, data shows

New Mexico and Mississippi drivers are the least likely to have auto insurance, a new report from the Insurance Research Council indicates.

Twenty-nine and 28 percent of drivers in those respective states are uninsured, the council found. Their rates of uninsured drivers are far higher than the national average of approximately 14 percent.

Massachusetts, by contrast, was the most-insured state in the nation. Only 1 percent of Bay State drivers lacked auto insurance, according to the council.

Lack of insurance and unemployment are directly correlated, the report said: A one-percentage-point rise in unemployment is linked to an increase in the uninsured motorist rate of roughly three-quarters of a percentage point.

Massachusetts' unemployment situation is better than that of the nation as a whole, but its unemployment rate falls between those of Mississippi higher) and New Mexico lower). Massachusetts' high rate of insured drivers can likely be explained by two factors: Drivers must carry auto insurance and the state insurance market was deregulated in 2007, improving the availability of insurance for drivers in the state.

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Posted: January 19, 2010

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