Should I Buy MS Auto Insurance for Crashes with Uninsured Drivers?


American flag and the state of MississippiIf finances permit, it may be a good idea for Mississippians to purchase a car insurance policy that protects against damages caused by uninsured drivers. That’s because, despite the fact that practically all drivers in the country have a legal obligation to carry policies, many of them don’t—and the uninsured problem remains especially bad in the Magnolia State.

If a driver without uninsured motorist coverage gets into an accident caused by one of these uninsured individuals, he or she may be unable to collect compensation for damages, according to state regulators.

Mississippi Has Highest Uninsured Motorist Rate in the Country

According to estimates from the Insurance Research Council (IRC), about 28 percent of the state’s drivers lacked even a basic Mississippi auto insurance policy in 2009. That means there’s a higher than 1-in-4 chance that the person who causes an accident in the state may be unable to compensate the other parties for their damages.

Mississippi’s uninsured rate is about twice that of the national rate, which according to the IRC was only 13.8 percent.

Coverage Verification Proposal

In March 2011, the state Legislature passed a bill that would have helped combat the uninsured motorist problem by setting up an electronic insurance verification system. Insurers would have submitted policy information to the database, which was planned to alert government officials when a vehicle appears to be uninsured.

But, ultimately, Gov. Haley Barbour vetoed the legislation, saying that while he agreed with the idea, the proposal had cost and logistics concerns that kept him from giving his approval.

What Is Covered by an Uninsured Motorist Policy?

This coverage is not limited to accidents in which the at-fault party has no financial protection. In addition to that, it provides protection when the driver has a policy that is insufficient to cover the total amount of damages and when the identity of the driver who caused the crash is unknown.

Consumers who are considering purchasing this optional coverage type should ask their insurers about “stacking” provisions. Stacking is when the holder of a policy that covers multiple vehicles can transfer financial protection among those vehicles when the initial protection for one has been exhausted.
Mississippi flag shaped as a sphere
So if a driver has a three-car policy with $50,000 in uninsured motorist coverage per accident and stacking is permitted, each car essentially has $150,000 worth of uninsured motorist coverage.

However, some auto insurance companies have anti-stacking clauses that prohibit policyholders from spreading protection among multiple vehicles, so shoppers should make a point to ask about this detail.