Automobile collisions can result in death or very serious injury. What compounds the tragedy is the case where the at fault motorist has either minimum limits of insurance or no insurance at all.
Missouri law requires that all motor vehicle drivers and owners maintain
some type of motor vehicle liability insurance coverage. Unfortunately, each year
thousands of Missouri citizens are involved in automobile accidents with drivers
who have not maintained the required automobile insurance.
Missouri motor vehicle owners are required to show proof of insurance when
registering a vehicle and renewing their license plates. Liability insurance covers
your legal liability when injuries or property damage happen as a result of your
actions. The minimum level of coverage required by state law is:
- $25,000 per person for bodily injury
- $50,000 per accident for bodily injury
- $10,000 per accident for property
The law also requires you to have uninsured motorist coverage of $25,000 for
bodily injury per person and $50,000 for bodily injury per accident. Currently,
Missouri law does not require drivers to purchase underinsured motorist coverage.
Coverage for uninsured motorists comes into play where the at fault driver
has no insurance. Coverage for underinsured motorists comes into play where the
at fault driver does not have enough insurance to cover the injured parties’
damages. Drunk drivers typically have no or inadequate insurance. People fleeing
from the police at high speeds may be uninsured or inadequately insured. Even
people who are faced with today’s economic hardships let their insurance lapse and continue to drive or choose to drive with the minimum limits required in the state where they reside. There are a significant number of drivers on the road who (if they hit an innocent third party and cause an accident because of their fault), will have no resources to provide coverage for the victim. Therefore, the only way the victim can protect him or herself is to purchase uninsured/ underinsured motorist coverage in advance, at the time they purchase their own liability coverage.
It is a good idea to review your own insurance policies to make sure that you
have adequate personal protection under your uninsured/underinsured motorist
coverage. Under Missouri law, and depending on the wording contained in your
insurance, the uninsured and underinsured coverages may be “stacked” or
combined depending upon the number of vehicles owned or insured as well as the
wording of the policy.
Often it is the policy definitions, the coverages listed on the declarations
sheet and various clauses in the policies that determine the amount of uninsured
motorist or underinsured motorist coverage available in any given situation.