Car insurance is a type of financial protection that provides coverage for various risks associated with owning and operating a vehicle. Its purpose is to safeguard individuals and their vehicles from potential financial losses resulting from accidents, theft, or other unforeseen events.
The primary function of car insurance is to offer financial assistance in the event of damages to your vehicle or injuries to yourself, passengers, or other parties involved in an accident. By paying monthly fees or “premiums” to an insurance company, policyholders transfer the risk of potential financial burdens to the insurer.
In this article, the car accident attorneys at Ortwerth Law will provide the people of Missouri with an up-to-date and accurate guide to help you navigate the complexities of car insurance in Missouri. Whether you’re a new driver or a long-time resident, understanding the state’s car insurance laws is essential for staying compliant and protecting yourself financially.
In Missouri, you are required to have auto insurance if you own a vehicle. You are not required to carry auto insurance if you do not own a vehicle because the insurance follows the car, not the driver.
In other words, if you have a license and are in a car accident while driving a car you borrowed with the owner’s permission, the owner of the vehicle’s insurance is responsible for coverage.
It is also important to note that proof of your insurance must be in your vehicle at all times. So, it is important to make sure you have a copy of your auto insurance policy readily available in your vehicle any time you drive.
It’s crucial to understand that Missouri car insurance laws and requirements exist to protect all drivers on the road. Car accidents can result in significant financial burdens, and having the appropriate insurance coverage helps ensure that all parties involved are adequately compensated for their losses.
The State of Missouri has certain requirements regarding what policies an auto insurance provider must cover/offer. The three most basic requirements a policy must include are:
Bodily injury liability in Missouri is coverage that pays for medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, and legal fees if you’re found at fault for an accident that causes injury or death to others. The minimum required coverage in Missouri is $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident.
In Missouri, Property Damage Liability coverage helps pay for damages you cause to another person’s property, such as their vehicle or any structures involved in the accident. The minimum required coverage in Missouri is $10,000 per accident.
In Missouri, car insurance policies also include Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage coverage offers financial protection if you’re involved in an accident with a driver who either has no insurance or lacks sufficient coverage to pay for your damages. It helps cover medical expenses, lost wages, and other bodily damages resulting from the car or truck accident. This does not include covering vehicles or other property that may have been damaged due to the accident.
Missouri law requires the minimum uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage to be:
Ultimately, the goal of uninsured motorists insurance is to ensure that you have financial protection even if the other driver involved in the accident doesn’t have adequate insurance.
Here is a breakdown of the penalties for driving while uninsured in the State of Missouri:
1st offense of uninsured driving
2nd offense of uninsured driving
2nd offense of uninsured driving
Driving without insurance or failing to meet the minimum coverage requirements in Missouri can have severe consequences. If you’re caught driving without insurance, you may face the following penalties:
Financial fines The first offense can result in a fine of up to $300. Subsequent offenses can lead to fines of up to $600.
Suspension of driver’s license Your driver’s license can be suspended until you provide proof of insurance and pay a reinstatement fee.
SR-22 Requirement In some cases, if you are continually caught driving without car insurance in Missouri, you may be required to file an SR-22 form, which is a document that proves your financial responsibility, with the Department of Revenue for a specified period. This filing is usually required for high-risk drivers or those who have committed serious traffic violations. The SR-22 requirement can result in additional costs and administrative burdens.
Vehicle Impoundment If you’re caught driving without insurance, law enforcement authorities have the right to impound your vehicle. To retrieve your vehicle, you will need to provide proof of insurance and pay any impound fees, which can be expensive and inconvenient.
Increased Insurance Premiums Non-compliance with car insurance laws can lead to increased insurance premiums. Insurance companies consider uninsured drivers as high-risk, which may result in higher rates when you eventually obtain insurance coverage again. These increased premiums can significantly impact your budget over an extended period.
Missouri utilizes a point system to track and evaluate driving behavior. Each traffic violation carries a specific point value, and the accumulation of points can lead to various penalties and consequences. Points may be accrued for violations outside of just driving without car insurance. Things like speeding, driving intoxicated, and other traffic violations may lead to accumulating points.
For more information view Form 899 or the “Missouri Driver Record Traffic Violation Descriptions and Points Assessed” form.
It is very easy to look at car insurance (or any type of insurance) and think of it as a scam created as another way to take our hard-earned money. In some cases, insurance requirements seem to be just that, however, car insurance requirements do play a vital role in protecting drivers in Missouri and the rest of the United States.
Oftentimes, it isn’t until a driver is in an accident that they can fully understand that Missouri’s car insurance laws and requirements exist to protect all drivers on the road. Car accidents can result in significant financial burdens, and having the appropriate insurance coverage helps ensure that all parties involved are adequately compensated for their losses.
Remember, having car insurance is not just a legal requirement; it provides you with financial protection and peace of mind while driving. By choosing the right insurance coverage, you can safeguard yourself, your loved ones, and your assets from the potential consequences of accidents or other unfortunate events on the road.
If you have been in a car accident in Missouri, we recommend contacting our car accident lawyers in St. Louis for a free consultation.
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