Auto Insurance Basics

Auto Insurance Requirements in Missouri

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Missouri’s Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law mandates all drivers to carry auto insurance with the stated minimum coverage and limits for liability of $25k/$50k/$10k and uninsured motorist of $25k/$50k. To register your car with Missouri's Department of Revenue (DOR), you will need to provide proof of insurance. The director of DOR will also grant your vehicle registration if you have any of the three alternative proofs to a policy (covered below). 

Always have your insurance ID card as your proof of insurance in case a law enforcement officer asks for it when he or she pulls you over. Missouri drivers are also subject to the DOR's random selection system, which samples all vehicle registrations and requests selected vehicle's owners to submit insurance information, including policy start and end date, policy number and name of insurer, to the DOR.

Missouri Required Car Insurance CoverageMO Required Min. Limits
Bodily Injury (BI) $25,000 per person / $50,000 per accident
Property Damage (PD) $10,000 per accident
Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury (UMBI) $25,000 per person / $50,000 per accident

Missouri Car Insurance Minimum Requirements

An auto insurance policy that complies with the Missouri Mandatory Insurance will at least have two types of coverages: liability and uninsured motorist. In other words, every policy issued by a licensed insurer will cover you for the other driver’s injuries and property damage when you cause an accident, or your own the medical expenses when you are injured by an uninsured motorist. Here are the state minimum limits for these coverages:

Bodily Injury (BI): up to $25,000 per person injured, to a total of $50,000 per accident if there are two or more persons injured in an accident you have caused. Your insurer will bear the financial liability you owe to the other party in terms of medical costs, such as ambulance and hospital. In the event that the injured driver decides to sue you, any legal fee you are responsible for is also covered - as long as it is within the limits of your policy (everything else you'll be on the hook for). Higher limits of BI are available and vary by insurer.

Property Damage (PD): up to $10,000 per accident, this covers the property damage resulting from any accident you are at-fault for. Other than the other driver’s car repair, any collateral property damage to buildings or fences also falls under PD. It is usually recommended that you get higher PD limit in order to properly protect your total assets; available in increments, limits vary by insurer. 

Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury (UMBI): up to $25,000 per person and a total of $50,000 per accident when there are two or more persons involved, UMBI covers you and your passengers’ medical costs if you are hit by an uninsured motorist. This coverage also includes hit-and-run cases. As of 2012, more than 1 in 8 auto insurance claims involved a motorist driving uninsured. While you may always purchase higher limits of UMBI, note that they cannot be higher than your BI limits on the same policy.

Optional Car Insurance Coverage in Missouri

Most coverages required by the Financial Responsibility Law covers your expenses when you need to pay for your own mistakes or negligence, but there are still other uncovered aspects of a car accident that may leave you under financial pressure. Both Missouri insurance agents and governmental officials usually recommend including one or several of the following optional coverages into your policy: 

Underinsured Motorist Bodily Injury (UIMBI): when you run into an accident caused by a driver whose limits are not enough to cover your loss, UIMBI kicks in. In the event that the at-fault motorist’ BI limits are lower than your UIMBI limits (for example, his BI in 25/50 against your UIMBI of 50/100), you will be covered for the difference until your medical bills are fully paid for. Keep in mind that your UIMBI limits may not be higher than the BI limits on the same policy.

Medical Payments (MED): when you are injured in an accident, whether or not it was your fault, this coverage pays your medical bills up to a certain amount (based on the limit you purchase). If your health insurance covers medical expenses due to car accidents, you may find this coverage redundant. However, it does reimburse you for the health insurance deductibles, if your plan has one. MED limits can range anywhere between $1,000 and $10,000 per accident in Missouri, varying by insurer. 

Physical Damage: depending on the type of car you drive, it may be worth it to include one or both coverages of the physical damage insurance. They cover repair costs when your car is damaged in collisions (such as an accident) or vandalism and theft. There is usually a deductible amount attached to these coverages. Contrary to most other coverages, there is no selectable limit for physical damage, but the most coverage you may receive is your car’s market value. 

Alternative Proof of Financial Responsibility in Missouri

Proof of some sort of liability insurance, which meets the Financial Responsibility Law’s requirements, is needed whenever you are registering or renewing a car in Missouri. Other than an insurance policy, the Department of Revenue (DOR) will also grant your registration if you have record of one of the following alternatives:

Surety Bond: a surety bond good for $60,000 in payments for any damage in bodily injury or property you are responsible in an auto accident can serve as your proof of liability insurance. It needs to be issued by a surety company licensed in MO, and get filed with the Director of the DOR. When you fail to fully satisfy a judgement, the surety company will pay in your place (and later ask you for the money back).

Real Estate Bond: a real estate bond good for $60,000 in payment for any auto accident judgments can fulfill your MO financial responsibility. Specifically, it needs to be signed by two other individuals, both of whom own real estate in MO and together have assets or equity worth more than $120,000. This is a bond of promise that the two signed individuals will pay in your place in case you cannot. Have this bond approved by the county judge where the real estate is located, and the DOR will accept your registration.

Cash/Security Deposit: a deposit of $60,000 in either cash or securities (such as government bonds or notes) with the MO State Treasurer. Note that the Treasurer will only accept this deposit when it is verified that you have no prior unsatisfied judgements. This deposit serves as your liability insurance and pays for any damage you cause in an accident that is deemed your fault. When you submit a receipt of deposit, the DOR will grant your registration.

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