Michigan is 7th on the list of uninsured motorists nationwide

Smitty's lot in Burton is where the Burton police department impounds vehicles that are uninsured / Jonathan Mcember

A study released by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners and published in USA Today says 1 in 7 motorists nationwide do not carry auto insurance. A possibly byproduct of the down economy as people make tough decisions about what to cut from their budgets. Michigan is 7th on the list with 19% of motorists uninsured.

Burton police lieutenant Tom Osterholzer says while we all have to prioritize, auto insurance is not something to cut from the budget, since it could end up costing you more in the long run. "If you're at fault at something and you don't have insurance it could end up costing you for the rest of your life," says Osterholzer.

The lieutenant says an operation to arrest drunk drivers over the weekend netted 7 uninsured motorists out of the 36 that were stopped, a number that matches up with the study almost perfectly. It's a trend that is unsettling at best, but the lieutenant says not only could the decision cost you in the long run, it will cost you in the short run, since auto insurance is required by law in Michigan. He says there is a $165 fine plus two annual fees of $200 dollars. Couple that with impound fees and you will run a hefty bill.

"For not having your car insured that one time you could end up costing yourself over 600 dollars over two years," Osterholzer says. The study says insured Americans pay 10.8 billion dollars per year to compensate for uninsured motorists.