As you are probably aware, licensed drivers in Missouri are required to have car insurance. If you have ever been pulled over for speeding, rolling through a stop sign, or some other minor traffic infraction, the officer who pulled you over asked to see proof of insurance.
It might have been a while since you purchased your auto insurance policy, or you might remember going with the least expensive option. Regardless, it’s worth knowing that state law requires drivers to carry a minimum amount of auto insurance. Specifically, Missouri drivers must have a policy that pays at least:
- $10,000 in property damage per accident
- $25,000 in bodily injury per person
- $50,000 in bodily injury per accident (if multiple people are injured in a single accident)
These damages (bodily injury and property damage) are generally referred to as “liability” coverage in Missouri. The state uses a pure comparative negligence rule when determining how drivers’ insurance policies will pay out after an accident. This means that you will look to the other driver to pay you for damages stemming from a collision depending on his/her percentage of fault for the wreck.
Example With Enough Coverage
Let’s say you are struck by a driver who ran a stop sign. The other driver is at-fault for the accident. Your medical bills for an injury with no permanency total $1,500. On top of the $2,000 in property damage to your car, you most likely will not need more than $25,000 from the other driver’s insurance to compensate you for your damages. Fortunately, even though the other driver only has the minimum amount of required coverage, it is enough to cover everything.
If the At-Fault Driver Does Not Have Enough…
Let’s consider another situation. Another driver collides with your car after running a red light. You suffer a number of broken bones and internal injuries, and your car is totaled. Your medical bills and property damage exceed $25,000. In this case, the driver, who has the minimum amount of coverage, does not have enough to cover your damages.
In this scenario, you might have underinsured (“UIM”) coverage that kicks in if the at-fault driver doesn’t have enough coverage for your damages. This type of coverage is not required in Missouri, but such coverage can protect you if your damages exceed the at fault driver’s liability insurance limits.
Unfortunately, the minimum coverage requirement in Missouri has not been updated since the 1980s; and as a result, the minimum amount is often not sufficient in serious auto accidents.
What We Recommend
Ryan R. Cox & Associates encourages Missouri drivers to carry at least $100,000 in auto insurance liability coverage and $100,000 in UM/UIM coverage. Time and again, we have witnessed drivers struggle to recover what they are owed due to the inadequacy of the current statutory limits.
We understand how complicated all this can be to drivers. We also know that, after a serious accident, the last thing you want to spend your time on is figuring out how to recover compensation you’re owed. Our team is happy to take that off your plate. We will aggressively fight for your rights and interests so you can obtain justice. Ready to set up a free consultation? Call us at (636) 946-6886 today.