Perhaps as a consequence of the economic downturn and the tough times people are facing today, an unfortunate circumstance that’s now a reality is that nearly one in every seven drivers lacks insurance.

So says a study conducted by the Insurance Research Council (IRC). The study examined data collected from nine insurers and representing about 50 percent of the private passenger auto insurance market in the United States.

What’s so frightening about the one in seven drivers lacking insurance statistic is that this flies in the face of laws in every one of the 50 states that require drivers to have and maintain auto insurance coverage.

The brutal truth is that if you drop your insurance coverage and you’re involved in an accident where serious injuries or fatalities result, the personal, economic and legal consequences can not only be enormous, but they can be life-altering as well. You could lose everything you possess, be forced to declare bankruptcy, or even face jail time.

In the study, called Uninsured Motorists, 2011 Edition, the IRC estimates the percentage of uninsured drivers throughout the country and in individual states. Estimates are based on the ratio of uninsured motorist insurance claim frequency to bodily injury claim frequency. Uninsured motorist claims are made by individuals injured in accidents found to be caused by drivers without insurance. Bodily injury claims are made by individuals injured in accidents caused by drivers who are insured.

The five states with the highest uninsured drivers, according to the IRC data, were Mississippi (28 percent), New Mexico (26 percent), Tennessee (24 percent), Oklahoma (24 percent), and Florida (24 percent).

Five states having the lowest estimated number of uninsured drivers were Massachusetts (4.5 percent), Maine (4.5 percent), New York (5 percent), Pennsylvania (7 percent), and Vermont (7 percent).

Bottom line: Don’t take the chance – with your life, those of your passengers, or with the lives and well-being of drivers and passengers in other cars. It only takes a little while to do an auto insurance quote comparison among insurance companies or work with an independent agent to help you find auto insurance that will at least give you the minimum state-required auto insurance.

Search used cars for sale and find the best deals near you at
To get a FREE iSeeCars VIN Report for a car, click here.