In Missouri, it is illegal to drive, maintain, or own a car without being able to prove that you have insurance that will cover a minimum level of damages resulting from a car accident, even if you are not at fault. The law that requires this in Missouri is called the “Proof of Financial Responsibility” law.

What Does the “Proof of Financial Responsibility” Law Require?

The “Proof of Financial Responsibility” law requires that anyone who drives, maintains, or owns a motor vehicle must have two forms of insurance: liability coverage and uninsured motorist coverage.

What Is Liability Insurance Coverage?

Liability insurance covers damages that result from any car accident up to the limits provided by the insurance policy. The types of damage that liability insurance covers includes:

  • Missouri Car Insurance RequirementsProperty damage. This could include the damage to your vehicle or any other personal property that is damaged in the accident.
  • Medical expenses. This could include hospital bills, the cost of any other medical procedures, medicines, rehabilitation, etc.
  • Loss of income. When someone is seriously injured in a car accident and requires long periods of recovery, they often miss extended periods of work and, therefore, may suffer a loss of income. You must have liability insurance to cover these possible consequences.
  • Pain and suffering. Your liability insurance also will cover the cost of any pain and suffering that may be determined for someone who is injured in any car accident for which you are at fault.
  • Funeral expenses. If someone dies in the accident you caused, your liability insurance may cover any resulting funeral or burial expenses that may be incurred.

How Much Liability Insurance Coverage Must I Have in Missouri?

Each state may require different minimum amounts of insurance coverage. In Missouri, the minimum amount of coverage required is referred to as “25/50/25” coverage. These numbers represent:

  • $25,000 to cover the cost of any bodily injury for another person
  • $50,000 to cover the cost of any bodily injury for any other persons injured in any one accident
  • $25,000 to cover the cost of any property damage resulting from any one accident

Remember that these amounts are simply the lowest amounts that you are required to have in Missouri. Whether this will be enough insurance to cover all the costs of any accident you cause depends on many factors, such as:

  • Nature of the accident
  • Number of vehicles involved
  • Number of other drivers, passengers, or pedestrians who are injured
  • Severity of injuries
  • Duration of recovery for any injured who are employed

If you cause an accident that involves several cars and significant injuries or death, these amounts may not be enough to cover the amount of damage you caused. If this required insurance is not enough to cover all the damage, you are responsible for any amounts that are not covered. This is why many people purchase other forms of optional insurance. These might include:

  • Collision. This covers any cost incurred for repairing, replacing, or temporarily renting a vehicle.
  • Medical. Because medical care resulting from an accident can be so expensive, it is common to have extended medical coverage for outstanding hospital and other medical bills.
  • Personal Injury Protection (PIP). Like the liability coverage that is required, PIP coverage may pay for injuries resulting from the accident or subsequent damages that result, such as lost income, for example.

Why Do I Need Uninsured Motorist Insurance?

Uninsured Motorist insurance offers protection for damages you suffer as a result of an accident caused by someone who does not have insurance or does not have enough insurance to cover the cost of your damages. It also covers you for damages you may suffer in a “hit-and-run” accident.

In Missouri, you are required to carry the same minimum level of uninsured motorist coverage for bodily injury as you are for liability insurance:

  • $25,000 to cover the cost of any bodily injury for another person
  • $50,000 to cover the cost of any bodily injury for any other persons injured in any one accident

However, uninsured motorist coverage does not include coverage for damage to property.

According to a 2017 study by the Insurance Research Council (IRC), even though approximately half of all states require uninsured motorist insurance, approximately 13 percent of all drivers operate a vehicle with no insurance. The percentage of uninsured drivers in Missouri approximates the national average—14 percent.

How Do I Demonstrate That I Have Purchased the Required Insurance?

In Missouri, each time you register a vehicle with the Department of Revenue or renew your vehicle license plate, you are required to show proof that you have the insurance coverage that is required under state law.

If you are pulled-over by law enforcement, you may be asked to demonstrate proof of insurance. This is most easily satisfied by keeping a copy of your insurance policy coverage summary in your vehicle.

For any member of a religious denomination or business who qualifies as a “self-insurer,” you may obtain a self-insurance certificate that will satisfy the proof requirement of the “Proof of Financial Responsibility” law.

What Will Happen If I Am Not Able to Demonstrate That I Have the Required Insurance?

If you are not able to demonstrate proof of insurance when required, you may be subject to a penalty, which may include any of the following:

  • Ticket
  • Conviction entered on driving record
  • Points against your driving record
  • Court-ordered supervision to confirm insurance status
  • Suspended License

Where Can I Go for Help After a Car Accident?

Of course, if you are injured in a car accident, you should seek immediate medical attention. But even if you are not injured, someone else may be injured, and it is only natural that you may be shaken, confused, and disoriented. You may not understand where you are or have the presence of mind to determine exactly what happened, who is injured, and which driver was at fault.

These are important factors to determine whether you will be able to recover for any injuries you may have suffered or pay for any damages you may have caused. Having, and being able to demonstrate, the proper insurance required under state law is also a factor in determining your compensation.

Our Personal Injury Attorneys Are Here To Help

The personal injury attorneys at Foster Wallace have the legal knowledge and practical experience that will be necessary for you to address all factors that will determine your financial recovery or liability. If you have been in an accident, contact Foster Wallace for a free consultation to determine your likely compensation. Even if you have not been in an accident, the personal injury attorneys at Foster Wallace can help you be sure that you have the type and amount of auto insurance coverage that is required by state law.

Brian Wallace
Kansas City Personal Injury Attorney
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