When you are involved in an auto accident, you would typically expect the other driver to be insured just as you are. The average Missouri resident is not prepared for the unexpected costs of vehicle repairs following an accident, especially if their car is totaled. Not to mention medical bills that result of physical injuries. But what can you do if the other driver has no insurance in Missouri? What if they have liability insurance, but the coverage is insufficient to cover your injuries. Missouri, like most states, has laws that require uninsured motorist coverage in each liability policy.
What is uninsured motorist coverage?
Uninsured motorist coverage (UM) provides a minimum level of recovery for individuals injured by an uninsured motorist. Uninsured motorist coverage is different from liability insurance, in that it is more like bodily injury insurance coverage. Underinsured motorist coverage (UIM) is similar to uninsured motorist coverage. Its purpose is to provide additional coverage in the event the at-fault driver has insufficient coverage. The law requires that consumers in Missouri be given the option of purchasing underinsured motorist coverage. However, it is not required.
Missouri is an “at fault” state
When a state is considered an “at-fault” state, with regard to auto insurance, it means the driver who is responsible for the accident is the person financially responsible for the injuries and property damage that result. Because Missouri is an “at fault” state, all drivers in Missouri are required to carry auto insurance.
How do I file a claim?
If you are injured in an auto accident in Missouri, you basically have three options. You can file a claim with your own auto insurance carrier. Your carrier will then seek reimbursement from the at fault driver’s insurance carrier. If you are a passenger in someone else’s car, you can still file a claim with your own auto insurance carrier. The second option is to file a claim with the at fault driver’s insurance carrier. The last option is to file a personal injury lawsuit.
Minimum coverage requirements in Missouri
In Missouri, every driver is required to obtain auto insurance before they can legally drive their vehicle or even register the vehicle with the state. Out-of-state drivers must also carry at least the minimum coverage amounts in order to legally drive in Missouri. The minimum coverage amounts are as follows:
- $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.
Other insurance alternatives in Missouri
Any Missouri resident who is unable to find a car insurance carrier can apply for coverage through the Missouri Automobile Insurance Plan. This plan was created by to cover high-risk drivers who may not be able to find affordable insurance through typical insurance carriers.
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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