If you own or drive a vehicle in Missouri, here's what you need to know about the state's car insurance laws:
No. Missouri follows a "fault-based" insurance system. In "fault" states, the driver who is at fault for a car accident has to pay for the other's party's damages, including medical bills, car repairs, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
At-fault drivers typically rely on liability insurance to pay for damages, which is why Missouri law requires car owners and drivers to carry a minimum amount of liability insurance or show proof of financial responsibility for any traffic accident they might cause.
Missouri law requires all vehicle owners and drivers to maintain liability insurance and uninsured motorist coverage. Drivers and owners have three ways to meet this obligation:
The minimum amounts of liability coverage required in Missouri are:
Liability coverage pays for injuries, property damage, and other losses you cause in a car accident, up to coverage limits. For example, if you rear-end another car at a stop sign, your liability coverage will pay for the injuries and damage you cause.
Missouri law requires liability insurance policies to include uninsured motorist coverage of $25,000 for bodily injury per person and $50,000 for bodily injury per accident. Uninsured motorist coverage protects you and your passengers if you're hit by an uninsured or underinsured driver, or if you're the victim of a hit-and-run driver.
Who Is Covered Under Liability Car Insurance In Missouri? Your liability coverage will cover anyone named on the policy, most household members, and "permissive users." Permissive users are people who have permission to drive your car. Your liability insurance will also likely cover you if you get into an accident in a rental car.
(Mo. Rev. Stat. Chs. 300-307 and 379 (2022).)
Most people in Missouri purchase car insurance in order to comply with the state's insurance laws, but you can choose to file proof of financial responsibility with the Department of Revenue instead.
You must show that you can and will pay for damage caused by your vehicle by submitting one of the following:
(Mo. Rev. Stat. § 303.160 (2022).)
Companies and religious organizations with at least 26 private passenger vehicles registered in Missouri may apply for a certificate of self-insurance. Applications must be submitted to the Missouri Department of Revenue.
(Mo. Rev. Stat. § 303.220 (2022).)
In Missouri, you can get compensation for injuries, vehicle damage, and other car accident-related losses by:
Missouri requires vehicle owners and drivers to carry proof of insurance in their cars. If you're stopped for a traffic violation or involved in an accident, a law enforcement officer may write you a traffic citation if you can't provide proof of insurance.
The Missouri Driver License Bureau can ask vehicle owners to provide proof of insurance at any time during a period of registration. Drivers who can't provide proof may have their driver's license suspended.
Yes, proof of financial responsibility required to register a vehicle in Missouri "may be provided by displaying an electronic image of an insurance identification card on a mobile electronic device," which includes a smartphone or tablet. This includes situations in which you're pulled over by a law enforcement officer in Missouri and asked to show proof of insurance.
(Mo. Rev. Stat. § 301.149 (2023).)
If you get caught driving without insurance in Missouri, you can expect penalties, including:
As stiff as these penalties are, they pale in comparison to the financial hit you could take if you're in a car accident and you don't have car insurance.
(Mo. Rev. Stat. § 302.303, 303.042-302.044 (2022).)
Another penalty for driving without insurance relates to your legal options if you're injured in a car accident.
Under Missouri's "no pay, no play" law, if you were hurt in a car accident and it turns out you were driving without insurance at the time of the crash, you'll be barred from recovering "non-economic" damages resulting from your injuries. This is true even if you borrow someone else's car and it turns out the vehicle isn't insured.
Non-economic damages include compensation for your physical and mental "pain and suffering" and other subjective effects of your injuries, so having this kind of compensation taken off the table can have a big impact on your case.
You can still recover non-economic damages against the other driver if they were driving under the influence at the time of the accident, or if the crash involved certain other criminal activity.
(Mo. Rev. Stat. § 303.390 (2023).)
To get information on car insurance in Missouri directly from the source, check out the Department of Revenue's Insurance Information
If you've been involved in a car accident in Missouri, a lawyer can answer your questions and explain your legal options. Learn more about how an attorney can help you with your car accident claim and how to find the right lawyer.