As a St. Louis Missouri injury attorney I hear a lot of clients tell me that they're confused about their options when purchasing automobile insurance. Unfortunately, we often discover that a client is underprotected after they've been in a in a car accident. There are several different options available to you when purchasing an automobile insurance. It's a good idea to know what these options are so that if you are indeed involved in an automobile accident – whether it's your fault or someone else's fault – you know that you'll be protected.
Although there are subtle differences Missouri and Illinois have similar laws when it comes to car insurance. In both states, there are two types of mandatory insurance coverage. All motorists in Missouri and Illinois are required to carry uninsured motorist coverage. This means that the insurance company must provide uninsured motorist coverage to every person who purchases insurance. In Illinois, every motorist must carry $20,000 in uninsured motorist coverage. In Missouri, each motorist must carry a minimum of $25,000 in uninsured motorist coverage.
Another type of mandatory insurance and both Missouri and in Illinois is liability insurance coverage. Again, every person who drives a car and purchases insurance in Missouri and in Illinois, must carry liability coverage. Liability coverage will pay for the damages you cause when you are at fault in the car accident.
There are also two types of elective insurance coverage in both Missouri and Illinois that will protect you in the event that you are in a car accident and especially if you suffered damage to your car and or personal injury as a result of that car crash. The first type of such insurance is called medical payments coverage or "med pay" coverage. Med pay coverage will provide you with bonds to pay your medical bills if you are in a car accident and suffer injury. It will also pay for the injuries and resulting medical bills incurred by passengers writing in your vehicle at the time of the car crash. Medical payments coverage may not pay all of your bills as it is limited to a certain amount that you choose at the time of securing your car insurance policy.
Another type of elective insurance coverage is underinsured motorist coverage. Again, while all individuals who drive a car on our roadways are required to carry liability coverage to pay for the damages they cost to someone else, not everyone follows the rule and not everyone secures car insurance coverage before driving. This is where uninsured motorist coverage will protect you as such coverage will provide you with the minimum limits, whether that be $20,000 or $25,000, in the event that you are injured by someone he wasn't carrying car insurance at the time of the car crash. But there are also situations where the person who struck you may have been carrying car insurance, but simply was not carrying enough car insurance. This is where underinsured motorist coverage can come in handy. Such coverage will protect you in the event that you're in a car accident and the person who struck you was not carrying enough insurance at the time of the car accident. For example, let's say you are injured in a car accident and your medical bills total $30,000. But, the person you was at fault in the accident was only carrying the minimum $25,000 in coverage. If you had UIM coverage at the time of the crash, you will be protected up to that amount if the person who struck you has a policy that simply is not in an amount high enough to pay for the damage your car and your medical bills.