With an estimated 30,000 car accidents each day in the United States, choosing the right car insurance is an important decision for every driver. However, choosing a policy that provides adequate coverage can be overwhelming for even the most informed buyers. When I help my clients buy insurance I make sure that they are protected. It is important to know that even though you have good insurance the other drivers on the road may not, we develop a plan with that in mind! When shopping for a car insurance policy, it’s important to know what is and is not covered by each policy offered. The following information is intended to help protect insured drivers from possible uncovered costs resulting from car accidents.
What is the Minimum Insurance Requirement in Missouri?
Missouri requires drivers to carry a minimum liability insurance package of 25/50/10. This means that each driver must have a 25,000 maximum bodily injury liability payment under the policy for injury (or death) to one person involved in an accident. In easier terms, if you are in an accident you must by law have a policy that will pay out 25,000 dollars to someone injured in the car that you hit. Missouri also requires a 50,000 maximum bodily injury liability payment made for all injuries (or deaths) to all persons involved in a single accident. So, if you are in an accident that involves 5 people and they all get hurt the maximum payout under the policy would be 5,000 dollars a person. Finally, you are required to carry a 10,000 maximum property damage liability policy for damages to another’s property from a single accident.
These are the Minimum Policies Required by Law but Not the Recommended Policies You Should Have!
I handle car accidents for a living. I have handled wrongful death accidents, accidents involving missing limbs and accidents that will literally change someone’s life forever. These minimum policies are not enough to protect you from harm that you might cause in an accident. You must have better coverage, and you must be protected in case you are in an accident that is more severe than the minimum coverage.
Your personal assets may be in jeopardy if you cause an accident and don’t have the proper protection. The cost of paying a little more in premiums is worth the extra coverage and peace of mind for the other drivers on the road.
What is Liability Insurance Coverage?
Car insurance protects insured drivers from two possibilities after a car accident: the insured driver is at fault or the other driver is at fault. Liability coverage, the most basic form of car insurance, protects the insured driver from liability for accidents in which he or she is at fault. Liability coverage is the most basic form of car insurance and is actually required by law in most states, including Missouri and Kansas. I spoke of the minimum coverage above in Missouri. In accidents where the insured driver is at fault for an accident, liability coverage protects the driver from liability by covering the costs of the other driver’s personal injuries and damage to the vehicle.
If you do not own a basic liability insurance policy, you’re not only breaking the law, but you’re putting yourself at risk of being held fully liable for the costs associated from any car accident that’s deemed to be your fault. This is even true for accidents in which the uninsured driver is the only car involved in the accident. In single car accidents, drivers without liability coverage are still liable for any property damage caused by the driver.
Although collision coverage is not required by law like liability coverage, it’s just as important because it provides an additional level of protection for accidents in which the insured driver is at fault or, in some instances, the other driver’s liability coverage does not cover the costs associated with either the insured driver’s bodily injuries or the damage to the insured’s car. Collision coverage is subject to a deductible and pays for the remainder of the damaged vehicle or the cash value of the vehicle if the car is irreparable or “totaled.” Other forms of non-liability coverage policies are comprehensive coverage, full coverage, and umbrella policies. Comprehensive coverage protects insured drivers from vehicle damage that results from incidents other than collisions, such as vandalism and weather. Full coverage combines collision coverage with comprehensive coverage.
What Other Coverage Should I have?
Some collision, comprehensive, and full coverage policies also provide coverage that protects drivers from the costs of car accidents in which the other driver is at fault and the driver either does not have liability coverage or the insurance policy does not cover the full costs of the accident. These types of coverage include Uninsured Motorist Coverage and Underinsured Motorist Coverage. Although these types of coverage are often unknown to insured drivers, they are just as important in protecting drivers from the nearly 14% of all uninsured drivers on the road. Both Uninsured Motorist Coverage and Underinsured Motorist Coverage are generally found as a clause in collision, comprehensive, or full coverage policies, making them difficult to identify.
You need Underinsured coverage and Uninsured Coverage. There are too many drivers on the road that do not have insurance and you do not want to be the person holding the bag when something goes wrong. If I can stress anything in this article is that you need to have underinsured motorist coverage and uninsured motorist coverage.
Recently, I was able to get someone an additional 150,000 dollars for their injuries for uninsured motorist coverage. They paid an extra three dollars a month for this policy! They were smart and you should be too. I will talk in detail in the next post about the importance of uninsured motorist coverage, uninsured motorist coverage and umbrella policies.
If you have questions about your insurance and choosing the right insurance give us a call and we can help. If you have been injured in an accident you have questions about your insurance or the other drivers insurance I would be more than happy to look at the policies free of charge. Give us a call.
Adam Krause is a personal injury, mass tort, business litigation, and employment discrimination attorney who practices in Kansas City, Missouri. He graduated from the University of Missouri Kansas City School of Law and has been practicing law for several years now. Adam Krause has made a career of taking complicated litigation and presenting it in the most elementary terms for a jury of your peers to understand. Learn more about his experience here.