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Contact:
Karl Newman, President
Sandi Henke, Communications Coordinator
NW Insurance Council    
Phone: (206) 624-3330/(800) 664-4942
Fax: (206) 624-1975
karl.newman@nwinsurance.org Follow at Twitter.com/karljnewman
sandi.henke@nwinsurance.org
Follow at Twitter.com/sandihenke

Washington uninsured motorist rate unchanged at 16 percent, defying
historical trends

SEATTLE - The percentage of uninsured drivers in Washington has remained stable in spite of the economic downturn, according to the Insurance Research Council (IRC).

A newly released IRC study, Uninsured Motorists, 2011 Edition, shows Washington's 2009 uninsured motorist rate at 16 percent, tenth highest in the country but unchanged since 2007. The stable percentage runs counter to historical trends that show uninsured motorist rates rising along with unemployment.

The national uninsured motorist average is 13.8 percent. The five states with the highest UIM rates are Mississippi (29%), New Mexico (26%), Tennessee (24%), Oklahoma (24%) and Florida (24%).

An earlier IRC study found that unemployment rates historically have a strong correlation with uninsured motorist rates. An increase in the unemployment rate of one percentage point is associated with an increase in the uninsured motorist rate of more than three-fourths of a percentage point. Based on current unemployment rate projections, the national average is expected to rise when 2010 data is analyzed.

"In a tough economy, it's important to make sure you're properly and adequately insured," said Karl Newman, NW Insurance Council president. "If you're involved in an accident with an uninsured driver and you don't have optional Uninsured Motorist coverage, you may be left paying for the damage or having to take the responsible person to small claims court."

Uninsured Motorist Coverage is designed to take the headaches out of a collision with an uninsured driver. NW Insurance Council encourages you to talk with your agent or insurance company about your insurance needs and consider purchasing Uninsured Motorist coverage.

"In these difficult economic times, there are a number of ways you can save money on your insurance without eliminating your financial safety net," Newman said.

NW Insurance Council offers the following tips to help you stretch your insurance dollars during tough economic times:

  • Comparison shop. Prices for the same coverage can vary by hundreds of dollars, so it pays to shop around.

  • Ask for higher deductibles. By requesting higher deductibles on Collision and Comprehensive coverage, you can lower your costs substantially. For example, increasing your deductible from $200 to $500 could reduce your Collision and Comprehensive costs by 15 to 30 percent.

  • Buy your home and auto policies from the same insurer. Many companies that sell Homeowners, Auto and Umbrella Liability coverage will reduce your premium from 5 to 15 percent if you buy two or more policies from that company.

  • Ask about other discounts. Companies offer many types of discounts, but they don't all offer the same discounts. It's important to ask your agent or company representative about any discounts available to you.

For more information about optional Uninsured Motorist coverage, contact your agent or insurance company.

To learn more about Auto, Home, Life or Business Insurance, request our free booklet, Your Guide to Insurance, by contacting NW Insurance Council at (800) 664-4942. More information also is available at www.nwinsurance.org.

NW Insurance Council is a nonprofit, public-education organization funded by member insurance companies serving Washington, Oregon and Idaho.

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