According to statistics released in 2016 by the Insurance Research Council (IRC), 13.5 percent of Missouri motorists are uninsured. Missouri ranks 18th among states with the most uninsured motorists. In 1999, it was estimated by the Missouri Department of Insurance that 28 percent of drivers in the municipality of St. Louis were uninsured—one of the highest rates of uninsured drivers in the nation. (https://www.carinsurance.com/Articles/uninsured-motorist-coverage-state-averages-of-uninsured-drivers.aspx)
In Missouri, it is mandatory that a person attempting to register a vehicle has insurance. However, it is not uncommon to see motorists drop their required coverage after registering their car, and proceed to drive uninsured. Not only is this common occurrence ill-advised, it is illegal. If the uninsured motorist is involved in a crash or is stopped by a police officer, the motorist could not only incur serious penalties (driving privileges could be revoked, fines could be applied, and even jail time can be assigned), but could also be held liable for any injuries and damages caused by the crash.
In Missouri, motorists are required, at the very least, to have minimum coverage, commonly known as liability insurance. Minimum coverage guarantees low premiums, but can result in not enough coverage. In 1981, the minimum level of coverage in Missouri required $25,000 in personal injury liability limits per person and $10,000 in property damage liability limits. These amounts have remained unchanged despite dramatic increases in medical care costs and car prices. Without health insurance, medical bills often exceed the minimum coverage, causing recovery to be difficult both physically and financially.
It is believed that most Missouri motorists have minimum coverage only. Given the percentage of uninsured drivers in combination with the amount of Missouri motorists with minimum coverage, it is in your best interest to have adequate underinsured motorist coverage. Underinsured motorist coverage is an optional coverage, but is simple and affordable. In cases where injuries are caused by a person with minimum coverage, underinsured motorist coverage will provide the extra protection you need.
Paying the extra premium for underinsured motorist coverage may seem like a financial burden. However, given the costs of medical expenses in the event of a collision, the potential benefits outweigh the risks. Consequently, underinsured motorist coverage should be a serious consideration.
If you’ve been injured in a car crash in Missouri, contact the Columbia MO skilled injury lawyers at Holder Susan Slusher LLC at (573) 499-1700.