When evaluating automobile insurance coverage, it's crucial protect yourself from all worst case scenarios. One of these is being in a car accident caused by another driver who doesn't carry liability insurance required by law. Where can you turn to for compensation for your injuries in this situation? Here, we explain why this is a big problem in Kansas and Missouri and what you can do to protect yourself.
Unemployment and Uninsured Drivers: A Common Connection
People fail to purchase car insurance for many reasons, but some studies have found a correlation between higher unemployment rates and more uninsured drivers. This is especially true in times of recession, but it's a risk at any time, as there are always unemployed individuals.
And it's understandable, as even the required liability insurance policy without collision and comprehensive coverage can be approximately $400 or more per year in Missouri and Kansas. Earning enough for this expense can also be challenging for some people who work in low-paying jobs.
Unfortunately, many people in Missouri and Kansas drive when they are uninsured.
According to the Insurance Information Institute, 7.2 percent of motorists in Kansas and 14 percent of motorists in Missouri didn't carry insurance in 2015. This means there's a fairly good chance if you're in a car accident caused by another driver, he or she wouldn't have insurance to compensate for your injuries.
Your Protection: Additional Automobile Insurance Coverage
To protect yourself in the event of a crash caused by an unemployed and uninsured driver, the most logical solution is to increase your liability insurance coverage.
Kansas is a no-fault state, which means you must cover more of your own losses. You're also required to purchase a minimum of $25,000 for bodily injury per person; $50,000 for bodily injury per accident; and $25,000 for property damage in liability coverage.
Missouri is an at-fault state, so a negligent driver is fully responsible for compensating accident victims. In Missouri, you're required to have the same minimum liability insurance coverage as in Kansas. It may be beneficial to add these options to your policy:
- Uninsured/underinsured. Uninsured motorist coverage pays your losses if the negligent driver was uninsured, and underinsured coverage pays if he was underinsured. In Kansas and Missouri, you're required to purchase $25,000 for bodily injury per person and $50,000 for bodily injury per accident in uninsured coverage. In Kansas, you're also required to purchase this amount of underinsured coverage. However, $25,000 wouldn't even pay for much medical treatment if you were injured, so if you live in Missouri, you may need to expand your coverage.
- Personal injury protection (PIP). In Kansas, you're required to purchase a certain minimum amount of PIP coverage to pay your medical bills, lost wages, and other damages. You may want to increase the policy amount for extra protection.
- Medical payments (MedPay). In Missouri, you may want to purchase additional medical coverage that pays a portion of the expenses for injuries suffered by you and/or passengers.
- Collision. Collision coverage pays for the cost to repair or replace your vehicle and other property damaged in an accident. Even if the other driver has some insurance for this reimbursement, you may need to file a claim with your insurance company so your vehicle is repaired more quickly.
- Comprehensive. Comprehensive coverage pays for damage to your vehicle caused by hail, fire, flood, animals, theft, or vandalism.
- Car rental. You should consider adding this to your policy so you can rent another vehicle while yours is in the shop.
- Towing fees. If you have towing coverage, it could come in handy during a breakdown or an accident.
Were you involved in a car accident caused by an uninsured and unemployed driver? Our experienced car accident attorneys are here to help you pursue all avenues of compensation—including with your insurance company. Find out about our extensive experience in these cases and how we can assist you by calling our office to schedule your free consultation.