Thousands of local drivers without auto insurance

TRI-CITIES, YAKIMA - It's a hefty cost upfront, but can pay off when you need it most -- car insurance. Action News learned thousands of local drivers are still driving without it. Putting you at risk if you get in an accident with one of them.

The numbers between 2011 and 2012 are steady -- with more than 7,000 contacts made on state roads in our region. However, it's a drop from 2008 when more than eight-thousand drivers were found without insurance.

Not all of those contacts resulted in a ticket. Many got a verbal warning to get coverage. Officials also suggest you have a policy to cover those uninsured or underinsured motorists as well.

"When that accident happens and you're faced with hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage to repair or fix items that were lost, that is an expensive thing to have to bear," said Washington State Patrol Lieutenant Mike Saunders.

The fine for driving without insurance is more than $400.