Recently in Insurance Coverage Category

New state law allows MO drivers to show electronic proof of insurance

September 3, 2013

coponbike.jpgAt the end of August, dozens of new laws took effect throughout Missouri. As Springfield car accident lawyers, we noted that one such law, which received unanimous approval from state lawmakers, aims to provide an added convenience to Missouri drivers.

According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch
, this new law allows Missouri motorists to show electronic proof of insurance when they are pulled over by law enforcement officials, attempting to register their vehicles, and renewing their license plates.. In the past, state law required drivers to provide a paper copy of their insurance card, and police were not permitted to accept proof of insurance via a driver's smartphone or tablet. Paper insurance cards will remain an acceptable as well. Several insurance providers have developed and provided smart phone apps that utilize this technology, and other nearby states - including Illinois and Kansas - have recently adopted legislation that permits acceptance of this form of proof.

State officials hope this new law will make it easier for drivers to store and keep track of their insurance policy information, rather than keeping and storing paper insurance cards for easy access. "Consumers are becoming more dependent on storing their important information on their smart phones or tablets for easy access," Missouri Department of Insurance Director John Huff told the Dispatch. And so far, drivers and lawmakers alike agree that the legislation makes it much simpler to provide insurance information when it's required. "It's a good common sense solution for drivers," Governor Jay Nixon told KY3. "It's a lot easier to get out your iPhone or your Blackberry and show them your insurance registration than it is to try to find that piece of paper that's down in your glove box.

Missouri motor vehicle insurance: State law requirements

In Missouri, both drivers and vehicle owners must carry some form of motor vehicle liability insurance, which covers your liability when an accident happens as a result of your actions behind the wheel. Here are the minimum levels of coverage required by state law:

• Bodily injury: $25,000 per person
• Bodily injury: $50,000 per accident
• Property damage: $10,000 per accident
• Uninsured motorist coverage: $25,000 for bodily injury per person
• Uninsured motorist coverage: $50,000 for bodily injury per accident

When traveling in Missouri, out-of-state drivers must carry coverage in accordance with their state's laws.

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Uninsured motorist coverage: Basic facts for Missouri drivers

August 22, 2012

Under the terms of Missouri law, all drivers are required to carry some kind of liability insurance coverage - in fact, you can't license a vehicle or renew your plates unless you can show proof of insurance. The state minimum requirements are as follows:

642052_burned_car.jpg• $25,000 per person for bodily injury
• $50,000 per accident for bodily injury
• $10,000 per accident for property

However, here's a sobering fact: despite the requirements of state law, approximately 14% of Missouri drivers don't have auto insurance. This is especially bad news for those motorists who are unlucky enough to be involved in collisions with these drivers. The Office of the State Auditor of Missouri reports that uninsured motorists cost insured drivers an estimated $90 million dollars annually.

For this reason, Missouri drivers are also required to carry uninsured motorist coverage, with a minimum limit of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident for bodily injury. Policy holders can add increased uninsured motorist coverage, which provides additional protection.

Who is an uninsured motorist?

• A motorist with no insurance
• A hit and run driver, or a driver who is otherwise unidentifiable

Note: If a motorist has auto insurance coverage, but the policy does not provide sufficient funding to cover your losses and damages, he or she is considered an underinsured motorist. Damages exceeding the underinsured driver's coverage limits can be paid by your own underinsured motorist coverage, but there is no statutory requirement that compels Missouri drivers to carry this insurance.

Why do I need uninsured motorist coverage in Missouri?

Many drivers don't understand why they are required to have this kind of insurance, and how it works to protect them. Uninsured motorist coverage can cover your wage loss, medical care, and property damage if you are injured by a driver who either doesn't have insurance, or by a hit and run driver who cannot be identified.

When does my uninsured motorist coverage kick in?

Missouri courts have established the following criteria for drivers who wish to file uninsured motorist claims against their own insurance companies:

(1) the insured incurred bodily injuries; (2) the injuries occurred as a result of an accident with an underinsured motorist; (3) the insured is "legally entitled" to collect from the owner of the underinsured vehicle; and (4) the limits of all applicable policies [are] exhausted by payment or settlement. [State ex rel. Shelton v. Mummert, 879 S.W.2d 525, 528 (Mo. banc 1994)]

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Are you covered in the event of a Missouri car accident caused by an uninsured driver?

Vs-Camborne_2011_09_25_0004.JPGIt is estimated that approximately 10-15% of drivers throughout Missouri don't carry auto insurance, even though state law requires drivers to have insurance. If you're injured in an auto accident, there's the unfortunate risk that the driver who caused the auto accident is will be uninsured. Under those circumstances, do you know who would be responsible for your medical bills and other expenses?

Being involved in an auto accident can be difficult enough, even when both parties are insured and liability is clear. And if you've suffered whiplash or sustained soft tissue injuries, the physical pain you're feeling can distract you from other important issues. Further, insurance companies can be reluctant to offer even token settlements to cover the cost of personal and bodily injury, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and other damages resulting from car accidents. In some cases, claims can drag on for years and years.

Now imagine jumping through these hoops because of an auto accident cause by an uninsured driver. In this situation, you may still be able to recover compensation for your property damage and even your injuries. Insurers offer uninsured motorist coverage, and in fact, this coverage is required for all Missouri drivers. This portion of the policy allows you the ability to collect damages from your own insurance carrier if you are involved in a car accident caused by an uninsured driver.

Uninsured motorist insurance coverage also applies in the event of a hit-and-run accident, where the at-fault driver eaves the scene and can't be located. In this example, uninsured motorist coverage is available to take the place of coverage that should exist, so you're not left on the hook for thousands of dollars in medical expenses and property repairs that were incurred due to the negligence of another party. Further, it applies in similar situations where pedestrians are injured by drivers who flee the scene of the accident, or where the driver who caused the crash can't be found.

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Keeping it Legal: Liability Insurance and Missouri Law

January 11, 2012

338505_logbook.jpgThe Springfield, Missouri car accident lawyers in our office are well acquainted with the costs involved in car accidents. Between medical expenses and damage repairs, the bills can start piling up quickly. It's important to make sure you have the best insurance coverage you can afford, in case you're involved in an injury accident.

Missouri law requires that all motor vehicle operators are covered by some type of liability insurance. When injuries or property damage occurs as a result of your actions, liability insurance covers the cost. Also, Missouri motor vehicle owners are required to show proof of liability insurance when they register and obtain license plates for a vehicle, and when the registration is renewed.

Here are the minimum levels of liability coverage required in Missouri:
*$25,000 per person for bodily injury
*$50,000 per accident for bodily injury
*$10,000 per accident for property
*$25,000 per bodily injury per person for uninsured motorist coverage
*$50,000 per bodily injury per accident for uninsured motorist coverage

You are required to keep proof of liability insurance in your vehicle at all times. If a law enforcement official or Department of Revenue employee asks you for this proof and you are unable to produce it, you may be issued a citation. If you fail to maintain proper liability insurance coverage, your driver's license may be suspended.

Again, the amounts above only represent the minimum levels of coverage as required by state law. For most minor property damage accidents, minimum coverage is sufficient. However, more major accidents can cause extensive property damage and serious injuries: these costs can exceed the amount of coverage provided by basic liability insurance. A driver is considered "underinsured" when the amount covered by his auto policy is less than the actual damages incurred; or when bodily injury medical costs exceed the covered limits.

Actual medical costs for serious injuries can be much higher than $25,000. And if a traffic accident involves several vehicles or other property, $10,000 runs out in a hurry. For this reason, we encourage motorists to carry more thorough coverage than the minimum liability insurance required by Missouri statutes. Find a policy with the highest coverage and deductibles you can fit in your budget.

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