Understanding Car Insurance in Kansas City, MO
Learn more about the vehicle insurance you need in MO and KS
There are three critical parts to every car accident claim. The first part is demonstrating someone, usually another driver, or some company such as a manufacturer of defective car parts, caused your accident. The second part is showing what damages you have. Damages include your medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, and property damage. These two showings – liability and damages – don’t do you any good unless you can collect the money you deserve. Generally, the way victims are paid damages from liable defendants is through insurance policies – those of the defendants and your own policies.
At Kansas City Accident Injury Attorneys, our car accident lawyers usually begin and end each claim by focusing on the insurance issues. This resource can help you understand more about the insurance you need, the insurance you can buy, and how we can help if you’re injured in a car accident.
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How can we help?
- What’s the minimum car insurance I need in Missouri?
- What extra insurance can I buy in Missouri?
- Should I buy more insurance?
- What happens if I’m hit by an uninsured/underinsured driver in Kansas City?
- Should I use my car insurance or my health insurance after a wreck?
- Do I need to report my Missouri car accident to the insurance company?
- Can you help me with my Kansas City car insurance claim?
- Can you help me if the insurance company won’t offer a fair settlement?
- Do you have a car accident lawyer near me?
What’s the minimum car insurance I need in Missouri?
Missouri’s financial responsibility law requires that car owners have insurance coverage (called “proof of financial responsibility”) in the event of an accident. The minimum liability insurance amounts are:
- $25,000 per person for bodily injury
- $50,000 per accident for bodily injury
- $25,000 per accident for property
Bodily insurance liability coverage includes compensation for your medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, and other damages due to your injury – or the wrongful death of a loved one. Property damage is generally the damage to your vehicle.
Car owners in Missouri must also have uninsured motorist (UM) coverage of $25,000 for bodily injury per person and $50,000 for bodily injury per accident. UM coverage pays your damages through your own liability policy if the responsible defendants do not have liability insurance. Underinsured motorist coverage, which is optional, would pay you if the at-fault driver’s insurance coverage is not sufficient to compensate you for your damages.
In the event of a car accident, drivers should provide proof of financial responsibility, typically the insurance company name and policy number.
Generally, the car owner’s liability insurance policy applies to accidents caused by the car owners or anyone (like a teenage son or daughter) they give permission to drive their car.
What extra insurance can I buy in Missouri?
In addition to liability insurance and UM insurance, car owners should consider purchasing the following types of insurance that should pay for some of your damages, regardless of fault.
- Health insurance. If you have health insurance, then your insurance company should pay your initial bills. Kansas City residents, depending on their age and income level, should have access to private insurance, insurance through the Affordable Care Act, Medicare, Tricare, or Medicaid. Many workers have health insurance through their employers.
- Underinsured motorist. In case you're in an accident with a driver who has insurance coverage that's not enough to fully compensate you for your damages, underinsured motorist coverage offers additional protection. This coverage is optional in Missouri but may be a good idea if you want extra financial security on the road. If you have underinsured motorist coverage and get into an accident with a driver whose liability limits aren't enough to cover your expenses, your own insurance policy can help make up the difference up to your policy limits.
- MedPay. Many people in Missouri also have MedPay coverage that should cover ambulance fees, physician visits, surgeries and other procedures, deductibles, copays, hospitalization, nursing services, prosthetic limbs, other medical costs, the cost of daily chores, and funeral costs, up to the coverage amounts. If you have MedPay coverage your insurance company should pay these bills without the need to show someone was at fault for the car accident. MedPay is optional in Missouri.
- Collision insurance. If you have collision insurance, your insurance carrier should pay for the damage to your vehicle and any related damages, such as a replacement vehicle, regardless of fault.
- Umbrella insurance. An umbrella insurance policy pays additional insurance in case your base liability insurance policy amount doesn’t cover the victim’s damages.
- Comprehensive insurance. This coverage pays if your car is damaged due to fire, stolen, or other non-negligence reasons.
Additional offerings in Kansas
Kansas residents should be able to purchase health insurance, PIP insurance, collision insurance, and umbrella insurance. There are a few differences our Kansas City personal injury lawyers can explain.
Should I buy more insurance?
Car owners should carry as much car accident liability insurance, UM/UIM insurance, MedPay coverage, and collision insurance as they can reasonably afford. They should also have the best health insurance policy they can afford.
Just one night in a hospital can cost tens of thousands of dollars. Victims who have traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord damage, burn injuries, and other catastrophic/serious injuries may be entitled to hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars.
Cars are very expensive. Kansas City residents need their vehicles for work, errands, and family. It’s better not to wait until your case settles to repair your car or obtain a replacement.
What happens if I’m hit by an uninsured/underinsured driver in Kansas City?
Drivers in Kansas City are required to have liability insurance for the vehicles they drive. Many drivers do not have any insurance to pay car accident victims, even though they are legally required to have insurance. Many vehicle owners only have the bare minimum. The Missouri and Kansas minimums are almost never enough to pay your medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, and other damages if you have any type of serious injury.
If the driver who struck you doesn’t have liability coverage or doesn’t have enough to pay your full claim, you have the right to file a claim with your uninsured/underinsured carrier. Drivers should buy UM/UIM insurance when they buy their liability insurance. UM/UIM insurance should pay the balance of your claim up to the UM/UIM policy limits.
Our Kansas City car accident lawyers will explain when and how you can file a UM/UIM claim. We’ll also explain when members of your families or other injured passengers are entitled to file a claim through your UM/UIM policy.
Should I use my car insurance or my health insurance after a wreck?
Normally, after a car accident, injury victims will use either their own health insurance or their car insurance for their immediate health needs. But which one to use?
The benefit of using your car insurance is that you get access to your MedPay; MedPay is paid instantly, and fault doesn’t matter. (If you are in Kansas, you can use your PIP to cover even more, like lost wages and repairs.)
The drawback to MedPay is that you only get what you put in. So, if you have $5,000 in MedPay but $150,000 worth of bills, you’re on the hook for the rest, either through your insurance company or out of your own pocket.
You can also use your health insurance. Even with a higher deductible, this may be the better option because there are no caps on your health insurance. If your loved one suffers spinal trauma and spends two weeks in a hospital and 12 weeks in rehab, all of that is covered (to whatever extent your coverage allows).
The “big” benefit of health insurance over car insurance, though, comes down to something called subrogation: the right of a third party to request repayment for its expenses out of your final award. (Hospitals call this a “medical lien.”) When you use your car insurance, you end up paying a higher rate for hospital care than you do when you use your health insurance, because health insurers get better rates than auto insurers. That $10,000 broken arm might end up costing you $15,000 if you go through your car insurance.
NOTE: You might also want to use your collision coverage to have your car fixed, even if the other driver was at fault. The other driver’s insurance company will not pay for the damage to your car until it has investigated the collision and is convinced that their insured party was responsible. This can take a considerable amount of time. If you go through your own insurance, you will be responsible for the deductible, but your company will then collect what it has paid and refund your deductible to you because the accident was not your fault. This should have no effect on your insurance premiums.
Your best bet? Use your MedPay to cover your deductible (because MedPay isn’t subject to subrogation; however, under Kansas law, PIP may be subject to subrogation), your car insurance for your repairs, and your health insurance to cover your medical treatment. You won’t have to worry about out-of-pocket, immediate costs, and you’ll end up keeping more of your award if the insurer places a medical lien against your settlement or verdict.
Do I need to report my Missouri car accident to the insurance company?
Generally, your insurance policy/contract requires that you notify your own vehicle insurance carrier as soon as possible. They have a right to investigate the claim on your behalf.
You do not notify the insurance companies or speak to the insurance companies for the people who caused your accident. Our Kansas City car accident lawyers will notify the liability insurance carriers for you.
If you’re involved in any car accident, it’s always a good idea to contact the police so they can help anyone who is injured, move the cars and other vehicles off the road, and conduct a preliminary review.
In Missouri, you are quired to report an accident to the Driver License Bureau if:
- The accident happened less than one year ago,
- The accident involved an uninsured motorist, AND
- The accident caused property damage costing more than $500, or someone was injured or killed.
Reporting accidents in Kansas
If no police officer is present, the driver of any vehicle involved in such accident, or any occupant of such vehicle 18 years of age or older, shall immediately report such accident, by the quickest available means of communication, to the nearest office of a duly authorized police authority if:
- There is apparently property damage of $1,000 or more
- Any person involved in the accident is injured or killed
- Other conditions set forth in the statute
Can you help me with my Kansas City car insurance claim?
Our Kanas City personal injury lawyers can help you with all your insurance claims. We’ll provide the proper notice to your insurance companies and be your advocate. We’ll speak for you. Most non-liability claims can be resolved without filing a formal complaint. Even liability claims can be settled without a formal complaint if liability is clear, and your damages are clearly more than the insurance policy limits.
We’ll coordinate all your insurance claims. When necessary, we’ll file a formal complaint to protect your rights, arrange for discovery (if we file a lawsuit), and force the insurance carriers to respond.
Can you help me if the insurance company won’t offer a fair settlement?
First, you should never negotiate a settlement with the liability carriers for the defendants or even your own insurance carriers without talking with our seasoned personal injury lawyers. Even your own insurance company wants to pay you as little as possible.
Car insurance companies are not your friends. They don’t want to pay you one dime. You need experienced Kansas City car accident lawyers to convince them you are not at fault and that you have suffered damages due to another driver’s negligence. The insurance companies will argue that their insured clients didn’t cause the crash or that you’re partially responsible. They will argue that your injuries aren’t as serious as you claim or that your injuries are due to prior events.
Our lawyers will guide you through every phase of your insurance claim. The first step is to file a formal complaint against the negligent driver, the owner of the vehicle, and any other responsible parties. We notify the defendant’s insurance carriers of your claim. We do request to see the insurance policy, so we know the insurance carrier’s obligation and the policy limits.
Our car accident lawyers demand compensation for all your damages including your medical expenses (current and future), lost income (current and future), pain and suffering, scarring and disfigurement, property damage, and other damages.
Many car accident cases in Kansas City do settle. We’re ready to try your case in court if the settlement offers are too low.
Do you have a car accident lawyer near me?
At Kansas City Accident Injury Attorneys, our lawyers meet clients at our main office located at 510 Walnut, Suite 100, Kansas City, MO, in the River Market area. We also have additional offices throughout Missouri and Kansas for your convenience. We do see clients away from the office when necessary. We also speak with clients through our video chat service by appointment.
Our lawyers will explain which insurance policies (yours and those of each defendant) apply to your overall claim. We are respected by the car accident insurance industry for our impressive record of personal injury settlements and verdicts.
Speak with our Kansas City car accident lawyers today
At Kansas City Accident Injury Attorneys, our Missouri and Kansas car accident lawyers fight to help clients obtain the compensation they need while their claim is pending and through settlement negotiations and jury trials. We demand compensation for all your financial and economic damages. Call us now or fill out our contact form today to schedule your free consultation. We also have offices in Lee’s Summit, St. Joseph, and Parkville, MO as well as Overland Park, Victory Hills, Kansas City and Olathe, KS available by appointment.
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