Even though drivers must purchase auto insurance in order to legally operate their vehicles, the sad truth is that many people do not. Even worse, uninsured motorists tend to also have irresponsible driving habits, which means they are more likely to be involved in more frequent and more severe accidents as compared to insure drivers.
The good news for legally insured drivers is that the state of Missouri mandates that auto insurance coverage also contains uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. This means that your auto coverage protects you from:
- Accidents caused by another uninsured motorist.
- Accidents caused by an underinsured motorist.
- Hit-and-run accidents, where the driver at fault cannot be identified.
Uninsured And Underinsured Motorist Can Be At Fault
Normally, whoever is responsible for the accident is required to pay for the damages. However, should you be injured and/or your vehicle damaged by an uninsured driver, your uninsured motorist coverage (also known as Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury, or UMBI coverage) applies and covers your expenses, as well as those for any passengers who might have been injured. This coverage also applies to hit-and-run accidents, as the auto insurance industry treats unidentifiable at-fault drivers as assumed to be uninsured.
Underinsured motorist coverage, much like UMBI, kicks in to cover your remaining expenses when an accident is caused by an insured driver whose coverage has inadequate limits of liability. In other words, they have insurance, but not enough to cover your expenses.
Whether the at-fault driver is uninsured or underinsured, your collision coverage picks up the tab (after you pay the deductible).
Uninsured and Underinsured motorist rates will vary by geographic territory. For example, there are more uninsured and underinsured motorists in the Metropolitan City of St. Louis than there would be in the surrounding suburbs. However, uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage costs are still relatively small and will not greatly affect the overall rate.