Missouri requires valid insurance to drive a vehicle within the state.
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Missouri has a population of 6.137 million people and over 4.274 million licensed drivers. That means 69 percent of the state is on the road regularly and could be involved in an accident. Insurance protects you and others from the costs of those accidents. You must carry liability insurance with uninsured motorist coverage if you’re driving on Missouri public roads.
According to data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, the cost of auto insurance in Missouri is 13 percent below the national average; insurance costs an average of $909 annually in the state. We’ve compiled this guide about Missouri insurance and driving laws to help you get a handle on all the details you need to be safe and compliant when driving in Missouri.
Talk to your insurance agent to make sure that the minimum liability amounts are enough to protect you. Many drivers need more coverage.
You might find that minimum coverage is not enough for your needs. Insurance needs are unique and subjective if you purchased your vehicle outright. In other cases, like if you are leasing a car, the requirements are contractual. Leasing companies usually require you to have at least $100,000 in bodily injury liability coverage per person and $300,000 in bodily injury liability coverage per accident.
If you have a lot of personal assets, such as equity in your home or considerable savings, you should consider higher liability limits. As a wealthy individual, you are more likely to have a victim sue you for damages, and you may be a target in an accident scenario. Consider getting $250,000 in bodily injury liability per person, $500,000 in bodily injury liability per accident, and $500,000 in property damage. These amounts are usually enough to satisfy losses in an accident.
If you want your car protected in an at-fault accident, you will need to get full coverage, which consists of comprehensive coverage, collision coverage, and medical payments coverage. The first two are optional coverages that you can add so that your car is covered in accident circumstances other than someone hitting you. The third is an optional coverage that pays for the medical bills of you and your passengers in an at-fault accident.
Comprehensive and collision coverage both protect your vehicle but work in different scenarios. Collision coverage repairs your car if an at-fault accident damages it. Comprehensive coverage repairs damage to your car due to vandalism, theft, and natural disasters.
When building your insurance policy, you may want to consider a couple more optional coverages. Rental car coverage gives you the ability to get reimbursed for car rentals while your car is in the shop after an accident. Many drivers also find emergency roadside assistance to be both cost-effective and useful if they are stuck on the side of the road.
The average annual cost of auto insurance in Missouri was $909 in 2020. This is 13 percent below the national average, which sits at $1,047.2
We found that car insurance rates in Missouri vary widely. You can expect to pay as little as $468 for a minimum policy or as much as $1,661 for full coverage and higher limits.
There are a lot of variables that affect car insurance rates, including the driver’s age, location, number of miles driven annually, and driving history. Expect to pay more if you are younger or have a bad driving record, which includes speeding tickets and DUIs. If you have a good credit score, you can expect the cheapest car insurance in terms of an average rate. Insurance at the state minimum required in Missouri will also be the most affordable car insurance option.
Ask your insurance agent about safe driving programs. Many insurance carriers will give you a discount for installing a driving monitor that tracks activities like driving over the speed limit and using your phone while driving.
Compare car insurance quotes to get the best rate possible. Always compare similar coverages to make sure you are comparing apples to apples. It’s helpful to read through customer satisfaction reviews to see if customers are happy with the service and coverage in an accident.
You may need to show proof of insurance in some instances, such as if an officer stops you or you are in an accident. If you can’t provide proof of insurance, you will receive a ticket for up to $300. You’ll also have your driver’s license suspended until you can provide proof of insurance and have to pay a $20 reinstatement fee. Additionally, the state will suspend your car registration until you provide proof of insurance.3
Missouri is a fault state, which means that if you cause an accident, you are responsible for the financial losses others incur. Losses may include medical bills and property damage. Additionally, Missouri is a pure comparative state, which means that accident victims can recover money for injuries regardless of how negligent they were.
Missouri is a state that requires drivers to maintain uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. Even though the law requires car insurance, 16 percent of Missouri drivers don’t comply.4 If you are in an accident that wasn’t your fault but the other driver didn’t have insurance, uninsured motorist coverage will kick in to pay for your injuries. Missouri requires $25,000 in bodily injury per person and $50,000 in bodily injury per accident for uninsured motorist coverage specifically.
|Offense number||1||2 within a 5-year period|
|Fine||BAC over 0.15: $500||BAC over 0.15: $1,000|
|Imprisonment||BAC over 0.15: Up to 6 months in jail||BAC over 0.15: Up to 1 year in jail|
|License suspension||90 days||1-5 years|
|Ignition interlock device requirement||Yes||Yes|
|Alcohol education/rehabilitation program||Yes||Yes|
Missouri requires drivers and passengers to wear seat belts at all times while vehicles are in operation. Not wearing a seat belt is a primary offense for those under the age of 15 and a secondary offense for those older than 15. A primary offense is one where you can be stopped for no other reason than the infraction — in this case, not wearing a seat belt.5
In contrast, a secondary offense is one where there has to be another infraction to get a ticket. The amount of a seat belt ticket is based on age.
Missouri takes distracted driving seriously. There is a ban on texting and driving that applies to all drivers. If a police officer catches you texting and driving, you will receive a citation for up to $130.50.
However, aside from texting and driving, drivers with an unrestricted license can use cell phones while driving. The exception is those with a learner’s permit or an intermediate license, which brings us to our next point.
|Restrictions||Learner’s permit||Intermediate license|
|Curfew||12-5 a.m.||1-5 a.m.|
|Supervision||Licensed driver in passenger seat who is at least 25 and has had a valid license for at least 3 years||None required|
|Passengers||Immediate family allowed as passengers aside from supervising driver||First 6 months: No more than 1 passenger under age 19 (must be an immediate family member)
After 6 months: No more than 3 passengers under 19 who are not immediate family
|Distracted driving||No electronic devices||No electronic devices|
Missouri gives ample time for drivers to file claims. There is a five-year statute of limitations for both property damage and bodily injury claims. Insurance companies can deny claims filed after this period.7
An insurance carrier can cancel your policy for various reasons such as fraud or failure to pay premiums. Also, carriers can decide not to renew at the end of a policy term. In all cancellation and non-renewal scenarios, the insurance company has to give you 30 days’ notice before the policy ends so that you can obtain new insurance.8
Missouri allows companies and religious organizations to self-insure their vehicles. Here’s how:
Missouri laws require every registered vehicle to pass an annual safety inspection. Authorized Missouri inspection stations perform inspections. To find a station, go to https://www.mshp.dps.missouri.gov/HP81Web/stationLocations.jsp. The safety inspection costs $12.
Stations issue a Certificate of Inspection and Approval that is valid for 60 days. Present this certificate when registering your vehicle with the state.
Like many states, Missouri uses SR-22s to demonstrate that you have the minimum insurance required. Insurance companies issue SR-22s. You will need to get one in these circumstances:
Defensive driving school in Missouri reduces the number of points you received from certain traffic violations. If you take a defensive driving class, the state will reduce your points as follows:
There is no state website to help you find a defensive driving class. You’ll have to do a city search for a class near you. Expect to pay $15 to $30 a class.
There is no serious injury or monetary thresholds if you want to sue for damages. When there are no thresholds, anyone can sue a responsible party regardless of the value of the loss or the severity of injuries following a car accident.
Missouri requires drivers to report accidents to the police if there is any injury, death, or property damage valued at over $500. You must file a report within five days of the accident or face license suspension, a fine, or a misdemeanor charge.
Missouri law does not prohibit certain price discrimination based on credit or gender, which means is that insurance carriers can use a person’s credit or gender to determine premium costs. Those with poor credit pay more for insurance than those with good credit. Additionally, men pay more for auto insurance in Missouri because statistics show that men get into more accidents than women.
In Missouri, an insurance company declares a car a total loss if repairs are 80 percent of the vehicle’s actual cash value (ACV). For example, if a car’s ACV is $10,000, an insurance company would declare it a total loss if the repairs were $8,000 or more.
Here’s how to register your car in Missouri:
To get a copy of your title:
The cost of car repairs in Missouri is 2 percent lower than the national average. The Missouri average is $375, which includes parts and labor, while the national average is $383.
According to the FBI, Missouri had 393 auto thefts per 100,000 residents in 2020, which is 37 percent above the national average. According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, the worst cities in Missouri for motor vehicle theft are the following:
|City||Car thefts per 100,000 residents in 2020|
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that Missouri’s traffic fatality rate was 20 percent higher than the national average, with 880 deaths per 100 million miles driven in 2019.
Most Missouri drivers can get auto insurance below the national average, with prices around $909 per year for insurance. This is good news in a state where there are more auto thefts and fatalities than the national averages. It means that other costs such as repairs associated with claims are down, keeping rates reasonable. Because of this, more drivers can afford full coverage insurance and drive with the security of knowing they have adequate protection.
Missouri has a grace period of 30 days to get insurance for a new car. This grace period means that your old insurance will cover the new car while you shop for new insurance.
Someone else can drive your car and be fully covered if you have full coverage insurance. The coverage applies to the policy limits.
A newly licensed 16-year-old driver in Missouri can expect to pay more than $6,800 per year in car insurance. Certain discounts can reduce this cost, including a multi-car discount, family bundles, and a good student discount.
If your lender requires you to have car insurance, the lending institution can purchase a policy on your behalf to protect the lender’s interest and charge you for the policy.
Insurance Information. Missouri Department of Revenue. (2022).
2019/2020 Auto Insurance Database Report. National Association of Insurance Commissioners. (2023, Jan).
Penalties for Driving without Auto Insurance by State as of January 2014. Consumer Federation of America. (2014).
One in Eight Drivers Uninsured. Insurance Research Council. (2021, Mar 22).
Seat Belts. Governors Highway Safety Association. (2022).
Traffic Violation Bureau – Fines and Costs. 7th Judicial Circuit Court, Clay County, Missouri. (2020, Jan 1).
Car Accidents: Statutes of Limitations. Enjuris. (2022).
Cancellation or non-renewal of your policy. Missouri Department of Insurance. (2022).