Missouri Uninsured Motorist Statute & State Laws
The Missouri Uninsured Motorist Statute requires all drivers to maintain uninsured motorist coverage. This uninsured motorist coverage requires a minimum amount of liability coverage at $25,000 / person for bodily injury and $50,000 / accident for bodily injury.
This requirement is part of Mo. Ann. Stat. § 379.203; a Missouri law that requires every automobile liability policy to provide uninsured motorist coverage. This legally entitles any injured person(s) to be covered under the policy to recover damages from the owners and/or operators of uninsured motor vehicles because of bodily injury.
The statute defines who is an insured person by stating that such coverage is “for the protection of persons insured thereunder (meaning persons insured under the liability coverage in the policy) who are legally entitled to recover damages from owners or operators of uninsured motor vehicles because of bodily injury, sickness or disease, including death resulting therefrom.”
About Missouri’s Uninsured Motorist Coverage
Uninsured motorist coverage protects an insured individual who is injured in an accident caused by a driver who had no insurance. Uninsured motorist insurance is essentially a floating, personal accident insurance that follows the insured wherever they go, as opposed to an insurance on a particular vehicle. The rationale behind uninsured motorist insurance coverage is to offer any injured person, who was injured by an uninsured motorist, the same protection they would be entitled to if they had been injured by someone who did have liability insurance.
Required by state law, Missouri has the following minimum insurance coverage requirements:
- $25,000 per person for bodily injury,
- $50,000 per accident for bodily injury,
- And, $25,000 per accident for property.
Normally, if you were ever in a car accident that wasn’t your fault, you would write down the at-fault driver’s insurance information, file a claim with their insurance company, and receive compensation from their insurance company for any damages. The issue is that not every driver has insurance, and in some instances, a driver may leave before you get their information. That is where this law comes in. Your uninsured motorist coverage is there to financially protect you from those irresponsible drivers.
Example claim: Uninsured motorist coverage is triggered when you are involved in an accident with a driver who does not carry liability insurance, and when that driver is at fault for the accident. Meaning that uninsured motorist coverage is not triggered in accidents where you are at fault. For example, the most common accidents that trigger uninsured motorist coverage are those where the driver responsible for the collision does not carry liability insurance at all and/or hit-and-run accidents where the driver cannot be found.
Missouri residents involved in an accident may file an uninsured motorist claim with their own insurance company in the following situations:
- The insured sustained bodily injuries,
- Those injuries occurred because of an accident with an uninsured motorist (please note that your insurance company may require proof that the at-fault driver was uninsured – this can be a report from the DMV that confirms the driver was uninsured),
- The insured is “legally entitled” to collect from the uninsured motorist ,
- And, the limits of all applicable policies are first exhausted by payment or settlement.
Exceptions to Uninsured Motorist Coverage
- If the insured is at fault: Uninsured motorist coverage is not triggered if the accident was your fault. That coverage is only provided if the uninsured driver was responsible for the collision. This is why insurance companies will thoroughly investigate the cause of an accident. Insurance companies want to avoid paying you damages under your uninsured motorist policy so they always will do their due diligence in investigating.
- Passengers in non-owned vehicles: If you are a passenger in a vehicle that is not owned by you at the time of the accident, it is unlikely that your uninsured motorist policy will cover your injuries.
Unidentified/phantom vehicles: If you cannot establish the presence of another vehicle, or if the damage to your vehicle and your injuries were not caused by your fault, your uninsured motorist claim will likely be denied. This is to prevent fraudulent claims such as a person being involved in a single-car accident, but telling their insurance company it was caused by a hit-and-run driver. Proving that another vehicle was involved in your collision is not the same as being able to locate and identify the driver. Even in a hit-and-run accident where the driver cannot be found, you should still be able to prove that another vehicle caused your injuries through street cameras, a police report, eyewitnesses, etc.