When clients are involved in an auto accident, they typically rely on auto insurance for financial support, especially if their property damage is extensive. Most people are not financially prepared for the unexpected costs that result from an auto accident. Unfortunately, in some cases, the person at fault does not have any insurance or, if they do, it is not enough to cover the cost of your injuries and property damage. In those cases, uninsured motorist coverage is the answer.
Missouri follows the “fault” system for financial responsibility
Missouri, like the majority of states, uses a “fault” system in determining who is financially liable for injuries and damages following an auto accident. Those involved in an auto accident in Missouri have several options: (1) filing a claim with his or her own auto insurance carrier, (2) filing a claim with the at-fault driver’s auto insurance carrier, or (3) filing a lawsuit against the at-fault driver in state court.
Auto insurance requirements in Missouri
In Missouri, all vehicle owners are required to maintain auto insurance with at least the following minimum coverage:
- $25,000 per person for bodily injuries suffered in an accident
- $50,000 per accident for bodily injuries, when more than one person is hurt, and
- $10,000 per accident for property damage.
This applies to any automobile in operation within the state. If you are traveling in Missouri from another state, you must have the minimum insurance coverage required in your state of residence.
Uninsured motorist coverage
Despite the clear laws in Missouri, and most other states, which require drivers to maintain auto insurance, not everyone complies. Uninsured motorist coverage provides supplemental coverage for drivers when the person at-fault in an auto accident does not have car insurance. Underinsured motorist coverage provides coverage if the at-fault driver does not have sufficient insurance to cover all of your injuries and damages.
Missouri has a statute that requires all car insurance policies issued in the state have uninsured motorist coverage. The option of purchasing underinsured motorist coverage must be provided to Missouri consumers. However, obtaining such coverage is not required.
Other types of coverage available, but not required
There are other specific types of coverage that are available to vehicle owners, but are not required under Missouri law. For instance, bodily injury coverage will pay for physical injuries resulting from an accident. Coverage for property damage pays for damage to real and personal property, but it does not pay for damage to your own vehicle. Collision coverage is available to pay for damages to your own vehicle when you are at fault. Comprehensive coverage pays for damage to your vehicle caused by weather, animals, or most other causes.
If you have questions regarding automobile accidents, or any other personal injury concerns, call the Cottrell Law Office at (888) 433-4861.
He is licensed to practice law in the United States District Court for the District of Kansas, eastern Arkansas, western Arkansas, and western Missouri. He was Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in Crawford County, Kansas from 1987-1989.
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