If you choose to take the risk to save a little money by not purchasing car insurance in Missouri, be prepared for some serious penalties. Missouri requires vehicle owners to carry car insurance. The fines, potential license suspension, possible jail time and the risk of paying a claim out of pocket from an at-fault accident far outweigh the modest savings afforded by not carrying auto insurance.
Minimum insurance required in Missouri
Missouri insurance law requires that drivers carry at least the minimum limits of car insurance required in the state. A car insurance liability policy offers important protection to Missouri drivers when they are responsible for the injuries of others, or the damage to another’s property from an at-fault crash.
A Missouri driver is required to display adequate proof of insurance whenever requested by a law enforcement officer. Failure to do this can result in the issuance of a ticket to a driver.
The required minimum limits of auto liability insurance in Missouri are:
- $25,000 per person for bodily injury liability
- $50,000 per accident for bodily injury liability
- $25,000 per accident for property damage liability
- $25,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury liability per person
- $50,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury liability per accident
A Missouri resident could also use bonds, cash deposits and certificates as proof of financial responsibility, which would satisfy the liability law, with the understanding that property damage requirements would be paid out of pocket.
However, it is unlikely that these minimum limits will adequately protect most drivers from the consequences that can often arise from a serious accident. You should carefully consider how much car insurance you need to have the right coverage for you.
Penalties for driving without insurance in Missouri
Fines and penalties that can be imposed in Missouri for driving without at least the required state minimum liability insurance can be severe. You can be fined, be subject to license suspensions and even face jail time under certain conditions. These consequences only become worse with subsequent infractions.
Failure to show proof of insurance
If you are unable to show proof of insurance when requested by a Missouri law enforcement officer, you can be ticketed for a variety of offenses all meaning the same thing, such as “no proof of insurance” or “failure to maintain financial responsibility”. In most of these situations, the case will likely be dismissed if you can produce evidence before the court date that you did have insurance at the time.
First offense for failure to have insurance
With the first offense for driving without insurance, your driver’s license can be suspended. In order to reinstate, a $20 fee must be paid.
If you are ticketed for failure to maintain the required insurance within two years of a first infraction, your driver’s license will be suspended for 90 days. At the end of that period, it will cost $200 for reinstatement.
Third and subsequent offenses
Consequences become more severe. Your driver’s license can be suspended for one year. It will now cost $400 for reinstatement. Missouri judges have the discretion to impose jail terms up to 15 days, depending upon the circumstances.
If you are caught driving without car insurance in Missouri, you are required to get in touch with your new auto insurer to have an SR-22 form filled out and filed with the state. An SR-22 is a certificate that almost all states employ that serves as formal evidence that the driver possesses the level of liability insurance required by the state. In Missouri, the SR-22 must remain on file for three years from the date of eligibility for license reinstatement.
Getting into an accident without insurance
Missouri is an at-fault state with regard to auto accidents. This means that the responsible party’s insurer will pay claims up to the limits listed on the at-fault party’s auto policy.
The great risk for anyone who chooses to drive in Missouri without car insurance is that they may remain unprotected if they seriously injure one or more people in an auto accident. In this case, the at-fault driver can be sued for compensatory, and in some cases, punitive damages, which may far exceed the assets of the responsible driver. The results can be devastating.
Frequently asked questions
What if you provide false insurance information?
If you are convicted of driving without insurance in Missouri, the financial and personal consequences can be severe. But these consequences can be made much worse if you are found to have falsified your insurance status to a Missouri law enforcement officer or state officials. Also, note that you can be penalized by providing false information to your insurer with policy cancellation or the denial of a claim.
How much is car insurance in Missouri?
The cost of average annual car insurance in Missouri is on par with the national average. The average premium for full coverage in Missouri is $1,661 annually, whereas the national average is $1,674 annually. The cost of minimum coverage in Missouri is $468 per year. Of course, your premiums will differ somewhat based on various factors including age, location, vehicle type and vehicle usage. It is helpful to compare quotes from a number of car insurance companies in Missouri to find coverage that meets your needs.