To drive in New Mexico, the law says you need a license and an insurance policy. But when it comes to that insurance policy, you have options. You can get the full coverage with all the options. Except that costs more money. Or you can go cheap and get the bare minimum. That costs less money each month, but it may cost you more in the long run.
According to the Insurance Information Institute, more than one-fifth of all drivers in New Mexico are driving illegally without insurance. The state ranks third worst for uninsured drivers, and those aren’t the best drivers. They’re more likely to be the ones causing the accidents. Roughly 30% of all New Mexico car crashes, truck accidents and motorcycle accidents are caused by drivers who don’t have insurance. The takeaway? That optional uninsured/underinsured coverage might not be so optional.
There’s a reason for the state’s mandatory insurance. And it has to do with the fact that New Mexico is a “fault” state. As a fault state, New Mexico says that drivers are responsible for the amount of damage they cause. If the other driver’s 100% at fault, he owes you 100% of the damages. If he’s 51% at fault, he owes you 51% of the total damages. But you don’t go straight to the other driver; you go to his insurance.
Now, if you get hurt in an auto accident, and the other driver doesn’t have insurance, how do things work?
This is where the uninsured/underinsured coverage option comes into play. In case the other driver is uninsured—or doesn’t have enough insurance to cover your damages—you can file a claim against your insurance. These claims can be complicated to file, but they can help you better recover from your accident.
You have to make your own choices about your finances. No one else can do it for you. But when you’re thinking about all the different ways you can save a few bucks here and there, you might want to think twice before dropping your uninsured/underinsured coverage. Your insurance isn’t just another part of your driver’s license. It’s a policy meant to protect you from the dangers of the road.
WalletHub recently ranked New Mexico’s drivers near the bottom for safety. More than one-fifth are uninsured. The dangers are real. It’s up to you to decide if you want protection that can stand up to the test.