Missouri Auto Insurance Laws and Frequently Asked Questions

Missouri Auto Insurance Laws and Frequently Asked Questions

What is the minimum auto insurance coverage in the Show-Me State?

In Missouri, traffic accidents and fatalities are on the rise. Find out whether your insurance policy meets the minimum state requirements and learn how to pursue damages after a car accident.
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The primary purpose of auto insurance is to provide financial protection against property damage or bodily injury resulting from a car crash.

Auto insurance laws differ from state to state, with each state having its own mandatory minimum coverage requirements.

In this article, we’ll take a look at auto insurance law in Missouri, including the minimum coverage requirements, the penalties for being uninsured, and how you can pursue damages after a Missouri car accident.

Minimum auto insurance requirements in Missouri

Missouri law requires all motor vehicle drivers to carry liability insurance.

Liability insurance covers the damages sustained by the other vehicle and occupants in an accident that you cause up to the coverage limits. If the damages exceed your coverage limits, you will be personally responsible for paying those damages.

The minimum level of liability coverage required by state law is:

  • $25,000 per person for bodily injury
  • $50,000 per accident for bodily injury
  • $25,000 per accident for property

This type of liability coverage is commonly referred to as “25/50/25” coverage.

In addition, Missouri law requires drivers to carry uninsured motorist coverage of $25,000 for bodily injury per person and $50,000 for bodily injury per accident. Uninsured motorist coverage helps cover injuries you or your passengers sustain in an accident caused by an uninsured motorist or in a hit and run accident. Uninsured motorist coverage will not cover property damage.

Enjuris tip:For most people, the best way to satisfy Missouri’s insurance requirement is to purchase an insurance policy that meets the minimum coverage. However, there is an alternative. If you qualify, you can file proof of financial responsibility with the Department of Revenue.

Penalties for being uninsured

Missouri law requires all drivers to maintain proof of insurance in their vehicles.

If a police officer asks for proof of insurance and you don’t provide it, you may receive a ticket. In addition, if a court determines that you were driving while uninsured, any or all of the following may happen:

  • You may be assessed 4 points on your driving record. (It only takes 8 points within an 18-month period to lose your driving privilege in Missouri.)
  • You may be monitored by the Driver License Bureau to ensure that you maintain liability insurance.
  • Your license may be suspended and you’ll have to pay reinstatement fees.

Although these penalties may not seem too harsh, the real cost of driving without insurance is the financial hit you could take if you cause an accident. Remember:

If you don’t have liability insurance, you’re on the hook for all of the damages you cause.

Optional insurance coverage

The minimum liability insurance required in Missouri probably won’t be enough to cover a catastrophic accident, which leaves you personally liable for the amount of damages that exceed your policy limits. For this reason, some people choose to purchase additional liability insurance.

Along with additional liability insurance, drivers in Missouri can purchase the following optional coverage:

  • Comprehensive insurance provides coverage for losses other than those caused by a collision (vandalism, falling objects, fire, etc.).
  • Collision insurance provides coverage for damage to your vehicle caused by an accident with another vehicle or an object (such as a fence).
  • MedPay provides coverage for medical expenses incurred by you and your passengers regardless of who’s at fault for the accident.
  • Underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage provides coverage for bodily injury and property damage sustained by you or the passengers in your vehicle as a result of an accident involving a driver who has insufficient insurance to cover the damages.
  • Roadside assistance coverage typically covers the price of a tow to a nearby auto repair shop.
Enjuris tip:Although most people understand that an accident can increase their insurance premiums, you may not know that the driving record of any licensed driver in your household can affect your insurance premiums. If someone in your household has a bad driving record, you might consider asking your insurance agent about a “driver exclusion endorsement.”

How does auto insurance work when someone borrows my car?

Liability insurance typically follows the vehicle in Missouri, not the driver. In other words, if you let someone borrow your car and they cause an accident, your liability insurance should pay for the damage to the other driver and their passengers.

If the damages exceed your policy limits, the insurance of the person who borrowed your vehicle may act as secondary coverage. In other words, it might cover the difference between your policy limits and the amount of damages sustained.

Collision and comprehensive coverage also typically follow the vehicle in Missouri. On the other hand, PIP and MedPay coverage follows the driver.

Does my auto insurance provide coverage if I get into an accident in another state?

Your Missouri auto insurance policy will provide coverage if you’re involved in an accident while driving in another state. This is true even if the state in which your accident occurs has different car insurance requirements.

In fact, if you’re involved in an accident in a state with a higher policy limit, your auto insurance company will typically make up the difference. This provision of your policy that increases your limits when driving in another state is called a “broadening clause.”

How to pursue damages after a Missouri car accident

Missouri is a fault-based insurance state. This means that the person responsible for causing a car crash is also responsible for paying the damages.

If you’re involved in an accident that’s NOT your fault, you have 3 options for recovering damages:

  1. File an insurance claim with your own insurance company (in this situation, your insurance company will pursue reimbursement from the at-fault driver’s insurance company),
  2. File a third-party insurance claim directly with the at-fault driver’s insurance company, or
  3. File a personal injury lawsuit in civil court against the at-fault driver.

If the driver who caused the accident is uninsured, you can file a claim with your uninsured motorist coverage. If your damages exceed the amount of your uninsured motorist coverage, you’ll need to file a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver.

Unfortunately, drivers who don’t have insurance often don’t have the money to satisfy a judgment.

If you’re involved in an accident, an experienced personal injury attorney can help you negotiate with your insurance company or pursue damages against the at-fault driver. Use our free lawyer directory to contact a Missouri car accident attorney near you.

 

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