One in six soon to be uninsured

DURHAM "An increase in the number of uninsured motorists is an unfortunate consequence of the economic downturn and illustrates how virtually everyone is affected by recent economic developments," said Elizabeth A. Sprinkel, senior vice president of the Insurance Research Council. "Responsible drivers who purchase insurance end up paying for injuries caused by uninsured drivers."

The study done by the Council shows 12 percent of North Carolina drivers did not have insurance in 2007. That's still on the low side compared to some states like New Mexico where the rate is closer to 30 percent.

Insurance agents say the problem reinforces the need to check your policy to make sure you have enough coverage if someone hits you.

"Accidents are unpredictable. Having the proper coverage can help reduce the financial impact to you of being injured in an auto accident caused by an uninsured motorist," offered Durham Allstate agent Ava Alston Brownlee.

Having auto insurance is required by law for all drivers in North Carolina. Anyone caught behind the wheel without it faces losing their driver's license and having your car tag confiscated. The penalties are higher if you're involved in an accident and have no insurance.

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