What You Need to Know About Insuring a Vehicle in Missouri
While having car insurance was once simply a good idea, in Missouri it's since become a requirement of owning or leasing a vehicle. As has become the norm in the United States, drivers in the state are obligated by law to maintain liability protection on their vehicles, with specific minimum levels of coverage: $25,000 per person for bodily injury; $50,000 per accident for bodily injury; and $10,000 per accident for property damage. While these mandatory minimum levels are lower than those required by some other states, Missouri's standards include an additional requirement than many others don't: uninsured motorist coverage, with minimum levels set at $25,000 per person for bodily injury and $50,000 per accident for bodily injury.
Show Me the Money
The fact of the matter is even if they weren't required by law, maintaining both types of protection would still be a good idea. Liability insurance covers the other driver if you're at fault in a collision. Without the backing of your provider in such situations, you'd be more vulnerable to lawsuits, which, in turn, could result in you and your family suffering a major financial disaster. Uninsured motorist protection guarantees you'll be covered if you incur repair costs to your car parts and/or medical bills as the result of a collision caused by a motorist who's not in compliance with the law. And considering that the Missouri Department of Transportation reports an average of almost 95,000 traffic accidents per year in the Show Me State, the odds that you'll be involved in one of them sooner or later are fairly good.
Above and Beyond
Even if you've satisfied the requirements of the law, oftentimes liability and uninsured motorist coverage aren't enough to fit the individual needs of every driver. For example, if you drive a newer model or high-end vehicle, you might want to consider adding comprehensive insurance to your policy. In addition to helping replace your vehicle if it's stolen, comprehensive pays to repair damages resulting from factors like fire, explosion, severe wind, hail, flooding, vandalism and animals. While some of these potential dangers might seem unlikely, bear in mind that every year, more than 3,500 Missourians are involved in serious accidents caused by deer. The drivers whose policy was restricted to just the minimum were left to figure out how to pay for their own medical bills, repairs and, in some cases, a whole new vehicle.
In addition to comprehensive insurance, other options include:
- Collision Coverage. Offered by many companies as part of a package with comprehensive, collision coverage pays for vehicle damage resulting from a collision--regardless of who is responsible.
- Medical Coverage. Completely opening the umbrella of injury coverage, a medical add-on not only pays for your injuries, but also for the injuries of anyone else in the car. In fact, you don't even need to be in the car to take advantage of the benefits--most medical plans cover the policyholder if he or she is struck by a vehicle while walking or riding a bicycle. Some plans even offer protection for injuries you sustain in someone else's car.
- Other Options to Think About Most insurers also offer a handful of "convenience" riders, like free towing if your vehicle becomes disabled; roadside assistance for flat tires, a broken down vehicle or help retrieving keys that have been locked in the car; a rental car settlement should you need transportation while your vehicle is being repaired; and/or labor benefits to help make up for lost income if a collision leaves you without transportation to work.
The Truth About Affordability
Before writing off additional protection options as being unaffordable, consider this: In a recent study of policyholder costs in the U.S., the Auto Insurance Institute recently ranked the state 37th on its list of states with the most expensive policies. That means 72 percent of the country's residents pay more for protection than do Missourians. And considering how much money only one accident could set you back if you aren't adequately covered, can you really afford to keep driving with just the minimum? It might be worth taking another look at affordable car insurance.
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