It may seem unbelievable, but some drivers think that insuring their car is optional.

Uninsured motorists
Driving around without car insurance is very risky – why do people do it?

Recent research shows that one in seven drivers in the United States does not have valid insurance. These people are obviously acting pretty irresponsibly, and they cost their fellow Americans up to $17 million a year. The personal risks are incredible – not only can a vehicle be permanently lost, but the US legal system allows anyone injured or damaged by an uninsured motorist to seek financial restitution in criminal and civil courts.

Driving without insurance could result in legal penalties, cost someone their vehicle, any assets they hold, and could even result in their future wages being garnished…yet uninsured motorists are relatively common. What’s the deal?

Who Takes This Risk?

Although the numbers change year-to-year, it’s believed that the figures of uninsured or underinsured young drivers are disproportionately high compared to the general population. Common wisdom suggests that the combination of relatively low penalties (most states just fine drivers for their first offense) and high insurance premiums are leading younger drivers to conclude they can get away with the risks.

Perhaps some younger drivers think that they’ll never get caught, or perhaps they think they don’t need insurance since their car is relatively worthless, because they’re good drivers who won’t have an accident, etc.

Whatever it is younger or older motorists (who should know better) are thinking, police are taking uninsured drivers seriously. Inevitably they will be caught, and with many states opting to impound vehicles after the first offense, an uninsured motorist is just asking for trouble.

Admittedly, buying car insurance – especially modified car insurance – can be a bit of a minefield. It’s even more daunting if you’re new to owning a car and you’re not sure of the technical details of your vehicle. But there are many ways of getting round an insurance-related headache, and I recommend visiting a trusted mechanic to ask about your car, asking fellow drivers on auto sites or checking insurance price comparison websites.

It’s A Moral Issue

Young drivers should know that buying coverage isn’t just a legal issue – it’s a moral one, too. Being insured not only protects the person with coverage, it also protects others around them. It’s selfish to drive without insurance, as one of the first lessons we all learn as new drivers is that we’re only human. Even the most careful driver can find themeselves in a bad situation that is their responsibility, and in these situations, being insured means that the other driver(s) involved aren’t out of pocket due to one person’s mistake.

Everyone makes errors while driving – it’s a part of life – but if you’re unlucky enough to be in an accident, insurance will ensure that other people aren’t required to pay out for your mistake. So, if you’re driving without coverage and reading this, take responsibility for yourself. It’s good karma.

About the Author: Andrew Tipp writes on behalf of Adrian Flux, a UK-based insurance broker that provides specialist modified, classic and high-performance car insurance cover. Andy is blogger and editor, road tripper and Formula 1 fan. Outside cars he is also a film geek, news junkie, pop culture noodler and social media dabbler.