One of the most important steps to take after a car accident is for both drivers to exchange insurance information with each other. The state requires this so the insurance companies of the respective drivers can cover any vehicle damage or personal injury costs from the incident.
Failing to have insurance ready at an accident can result in numerous consequences for the driver and the state. Drivers who crash without the necessary automobile insurance can cause unpaid damage claims and higher insurance premium rates for the whole state. It is important for all drivers to know what penalties they can face if they do not have motor vehicle insurance in an accident.
The minimum requirements in Missouri
It is illegal to lack any type of motor vehicle liability insurance. Before you take your car out on the road, make sure you have at least the minimal level of coverage for liability insurance. The minimum coverage for Missouri includes:
- $25,000 per person for body injuries
- $50,000 per accident for body injuries
- $10,000 per accident for property damages
You must also have uninsured motorist coverage with you for body injuries, which costs the same as the minimums for liability coverage.
After you obtain your insurance, you must have proof of it with you in the car. You not only need this on hand for potential accidents, but also for registering your vehicle and renewing your license plate. Some drivers instead choose to obtain a certificate of self-insurance from their company or religious organization that the Missouri Department of Revenue approves of. However, only select groups offer this.
Getting caught without insurance
If you fail to provide any proof of insurance to the other driver or an officer, you can be subject to a ticket. Other first offense punishments can include receiving 4 points on your driving record, and issuance of an order of suspension, and potential suspension of your driver’s license.
While you can pay $20 to reinstate your license, further suspensions will last up to a year and can cost up to $400 for reinstatements. This proof of insurance is mandatory for three years after the end of the suspension, otherwise the Driver License Bureau will suspend your license again.
In addition, you are required to fill out an SR-22 form for liability insurance proof if you get into an accident. This means you pay even more money than usual and some insurance companies will now be more hesitant to have you as a client.
The importance of having insurance
Missouri’s car insurance laws may not be as strict or costly as some states, but multiple studies show that it is one of the worst states for car safety. If you end up in a car accident, not having insurance is detrimental to both the state and you.
Without insurance, you might end up owing more money to pay for any vehicle damages or injuries. Getting your license suspended also means you will have to search for other means of transport. Any future insurance companies or jobs you apply to might reject you since this mistake could lessen their trust in your driving abilities.
To prevent any of these punishments from happening, it is crucial to start exploring your options for car insurance as soon as you can. You will need to obtain the proper amount before you get behind the wheel.