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.
Uninsured Motorist Coverage
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.
Missouri DUI Laws
||2 within a 5-year period
||BAC over 0.15: $500
||BAC over 0.15: $1,000
||BAC over 0.15: Up to 6 months in jail
||BAC over 0.15: Up to 1 year in jail
|Ignition interlock device requirement
|Alcohol education/rehabilitation program
Seat Belt Laws
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.
- Up to 8 years old: $49.50 plus $72.50 in court costs
- Over 8 years old: $106
Distracted Driving Laws in Missouri
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.
Teen Driving Laws in Missouri
||Licensed driver in passenger seat who is at least 25 and has had a valid license for at least 3 years
||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
||No electronic devices
||No electronic devices
Statute of Limitations for Claims
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
Cancellation and Non-Renewal Notification Laws
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:
- Gather the following documents:
- A written request for self-insurance on company letterhead, signed by a company officer
- Financial statements for three years audited by an independent certified public accountant
- A list of at least 26 private passenger vehicles registered in Missouri.
- A completed Agreement to Pay Judgments (https://dor.mo.gov/forms/5317.pdf)
- Mail them to this address:
- Department of Revenue
- Attn: Self-Insurance
- P.O. Box 200
- Jefferson City, MO 65105
Car Inspection Requirements
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:
- You failed to provide proof of insurance.
- You were convicted of reckless driving.
- You were convicted of a DUI.
- You’ve received an unsatisfied judgment or left the scene of an accident that resulted in injury or death.
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:
- One-third reduction if you drive for more than one year without incurring any more points
- One-half reduction if you go two years without another traffic violation
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.
Serious Injury and Monetary Thresholds
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.
Accident Reporting Requirements
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.
When Is a Car Declared a Total Loss?
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.