Missouri Car Insurance Guide
In true “Show-Me State” fashion, we’d like to walk you through the process of finding auto insurance in Missouri. Our guide will go over minimum requirements, explain confusing insurance language, explore additional coverage options, and more! Whether this is new information or simply a refresher, you’ll be ready to cruise from St. Louis to Kansas City or take a peaceful drive through the Ozarks, confident you’ve got the right coverage to meet your specific needs and wishes.
Personal Auto Insurance
What is personal auto insurance, exactly? At its core, a personal auto policy is a contract between you and the insurance company of your choosing. You make a payment (or payments) referred to as a premium, and your insurance company provides coverage. If you’re involved in a wreck (big or small), the insurance company pays for financial losses you suffer according to the terms of the policy.
Driving Laws in Missouri
The rules of the road are far from constant. Every year, laws are tweaked, new legislation is added, and old rules are repealed. This is why it’s important to stay current on driving laws in Missouri.
For example, you might have heard Governor Parson recently signed a bill into law repealing the state’s all-rider motorcycle helmet law. But if you didn’t read the full text, you might have missed that the law doesn’t apply to everyone. There are specific circumstances where some motorcycle operators don’t have to wear a helmet (although it’s always a good idea to be safe), and you may or may not qualify.
Every so often, run a quick Google search and see if there are any changes to Missouri driving laws that affect you.
Minimum Car Insurance Requirements in Missouri
If you operate a vehicle in Missouri, you must insure it by meeting at least the state’s minimum liability requirements. What are the minimum car insurance requirements in Missouri? Here they are, according to the Missouri Department of Insurance:
- $25,000 of bodily injury liability coverage (per person)
- $50,000 of bodily injury liability coverage (per accident)
- $25,000 of property damage liability coverage
- $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident of uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage.
These are just the state’s requirements. However, if you took out a loan for your vehicle, your lender may require you to carry collision coverage and comprehensive coverage. So make sure you’re meeting Missouri requirements and satisfying any other obligations.
What exactly is liability coverage?
Liability coverage is made up of bodily injury liability coverage and property damage liability coverage. Bodily injury liability coverage comes into play if you cause an accident that injures someone else. This type of coverage pays for others’ medical bills. Property damage liability coverage pays for damages to another person’s car or property (mailboxes, fences, etc) in an accident you cause. Liability coverage doesn’t pay for your medical expenses or damages to your own property.
What is uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage?
If you're injured by someone who doesn't have liability car insurance, uninsured motorist bodily injury (UMBI) helps pay for your injuries. UMBI coverage covers any medical and related expenses that you incur if you’re in a car accident and the at-fault driver does not have liability insurance or cannot be identified. It helps pay for injuries to you or your passengers if the other driver is at fault in an accident, and covers medical expenses if you're injured by a car as a pedestrian.
What are comprehensive coverage and collision coverage?
Comprehensive coverage and collision coverage are often lumped together, but they’re actually two different things. Collision coverage pays for any repairs to your vehicle (or a replacement if the accident is severe) after an accident, regardless of fault. Comprehensive coverage, or “other than collision coverage,” protects you financially if your car is vandalized, stolen, collides with an animal, or for other covered incidents as described in your policy. This is why a lender may require you to carry these coverages in addition to liability insurance.
Consequences for Driving Without Insurance in Missouri
How much trouble can you get in if you drive a vehicle without insurance in Missouri? Well, if you’re not able to produce proof of insurance when a law enforcement officer requests it, you’ll be ticketed. If you simply didn’t have your insurance card at the time of the traffic stop, you can always prove you were covered at the time, and there’s a good chance your ticket will be dismissed. However, if you are convicted of driving without insurance, the Missouri Department of Revenue says one of the following things may happen:
- The conviction will be sent to the Department of Revenue and added to your driving record. This type of conviction means four points will be added to your driving record. If you accrue eight points over a period of 18 months, you can say goodbye to your driving privileges.
- An order of supervision is sent to the Department of Revenue. In other words, the state will monitor you closely to make sure you’re meeting minimum insurance requirements.
- An order suspending your driving privileges is sent to the Department of Revenue.
The Department of Revenue says periods of suspension are zero days, 90 days, and one year for first, second, and third offenses, respectively. To be reinstated you must:
- 1st Offense: Provide proof of insurance coverage and pay a $20 reinstatement fee
- 2nd Offense: Provide proof of insurance coverage and pay a $200 reinstatement fee
- 3rd Offense: Provide proof of insurance coverage and pay a $400 reinstatement fee.
Consequences for Driving Without a License in Missouri
How much trouble can you get in for driving without a license in Missouri? It depends on the circumstances. Let’s take a look at a few examples, as laid out by DrivingLaws.org, a legal site by Nolo.
What if I just forgot my license at home?
You should always make sure you have your license before getting behind the wheel, but if you ever forget, you’re not totally out of luck. If you were properly licensed at the time of the traffic stop and can prove it, you should avoid any conviction.
What if I don’t have a valid license?
If you don’t have a valid license, you shouldn’t be driving! With each offense, you can face a more serious charge than the last, as well as a series of escalating fines.
What if my license is suspended?
If your license is suspended, you should not be driving! The charges and fines get more serious with each offense, and you can eventually be in danger of serving serious jail time. If you’ve been caught driving while your license is suspended three times (or just two times if you have a previous DUI conviction) in a decade or had your license revoked for a second DUI charge, you can face felony charges.
SR-22 Insurance in Missouri
You might have heard the term “SR-22 Insurance” used before, but, contrary to popular belief, it’s not actually a type of insurance. An SR-22 is a certificate your car insurance company must file with the state in certain cases, like if you’re trying to have your license reinstated, to prove you’re meeting minimum insurance requirements. The SR stands for “safety responsibility,” and drivers might be required to fill one out if:
- They’ve been convicted on a DUI/DWI charge.
- They haven’t maintained continuous insurance coverage.
- They’re guilty of several serious violations while driving.
High-Risk Auto Insurance
If you have a history of traffic citations, poor credit, or several accidents on your driving record, some insurance companies consider you a “high-risk” driver. These companies might not cover you or might charge you a very high price for coverage. However, some companies, like Direct Auto, offer non-standard insurance (high-risk auto insurance) to such drivers. This is often an affordable alternative for anyone with a less-than-perfect driving record. So don’t be dismayed; you can still find great coverage!
Uninsured Motorist Coverage in Missouri
What happens if you’re in a car crash and the other driver doesn’t have insurance? What if you’re the victim of a hit and run? While we hope this never happens to you, you might decide you don’t want to take any chances. According to 2019 estimates from the Insurance Research Council shared by the Insurance Information Institute, over 16% of drivers in Missouri are uninsured. Uninsured/Underinsured motorist coverage will protect you if you’re in a collision and the other driver doesn’t have sufficient insurance to cover the damages or if the other drive can’t be identified.
What Affects Auto Insurance Rates?
Auto insurance rates are calculated with a number of factors in mind:
- An individual’s driving history and credit history
- The driver’s demographic information
- How much the individual drives and where they drive
- The type of vehicle in question
- The amounts and types of coverage chosen
Want More Information?
Still confused by auto insurance in Missouri? Check out this glossary of car insurance terms for more information.