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Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Insurance: What Are They, and Why Do I Need Them in Kansas and Missouri?

Will My Insurance Policy Protect Me in the Event of an Automobile Accident?

By Brett Votava

Let me first say this is not an advertisement for insurance. In fact, my law firm is no friend of insurance companies. We fight them every day to help our clients – people who have been injured directly by the negligence of someone else or surviving family members of people who have been killed by the negligence of someone else. 

If you have never experienced a significant automobile crash, this information is for you. An automobile crash is the most likely cause of a significant injury in your life. You can proactively mitigate your financial risk after an accident the best you can by ensuring your car insurance provides adequate coverage, including uninsured motorist coverage and underinsured motorist coverage.

What Is Uninsured Motorist Insurance?

Uninsured motorist insurance provides you insurance protection in the event you are hurt in an automobile crash by a driver who has no automobile insurance. 

It is estimated that 16% of Missouri drivers are uninsured, and 11% of Kansas drivers are uninsured, according to Insurance Information Institute estimates from 2019. Because of the high rates of uninsured drivers, this coverage is mandatory in Missouri and Kansas.

However, the required limits of uninsured motorist insurance are only $25,000 in both states. That means unless you buy higher uninsured motorist insurance limits, you have little protection from the uninsured, negligent driver sharing the road with you. 

How Does Uninsured Motorist Insurance Help Me?

Let’s say you are hurt in a rear-end crash by a driver who fails to stop in time. This driver has no automobile insurance. That means your automobile insurance is the only source of money to pay for things like your medical bills and lost income.

If you only have $25,000 in uninsured motorist insurance, that’s all you can get. There is no more money for you, no matter how badly you are hurt.

What Is Underinsured Motorist Insurance?

Underinsured motorist insurance provides additional insurance protection in the event you are hurt in an automobile crash by a driver whose insurance policy limits are too low to cover their negligence.

You must buy underinsured motorist insurance if you live in Kansas, but it is optional if you live in Missouri. In other words, if you are a Missouri resident, you may not have any underinsured insurance protecting you or your family!

How Does Underinsured Motorist Insurance Help Me?

Let’s say you don’t have underinsured motorist insurance, and you are hurt in an automobile crash when another driver fails to stop at a red light. Your resulting medical bills and lost income are $75,000. If the driver has only minimum auto insurance coverage in Missouri ($25,000 per person), then all you can recover from the driver’s insurance company is $25,000. That’s it.

Even though the crash wasn’t your fault, you are stuck with the rest of the bill from the hospital. If you had instead purchased $100,000 in underinsured motorist insurance, you would have an additional $100,000 available to you on top of the driver’s $25,000 to pay for your medical bills and lost income. That is a significant difference.

Purchasing Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Insurance

By making sure you have enough uninsured and underinsured motorist insurance, it’s like putting a bubble around you and your family so you know you have a minimum level of protection if a crash occurs. Don’t be dependent on the insurance coverage decisions made by the driver who hurt you.

Uninsured and underinsured motorist insurance is typically available in amounts of $50,000, $100,000 or $250,000, and the cost is relatively cheap. For example, $50,000 to $100,000 of uninsured and underinsured motorist insurance typically costs between $5 and $25 for six months of coverage. It’s a no-brainer to add to your existing coverage considering the upside it offers you.

Talk to your insurance agent and find out what options are available. Make sure you get the highest uninsured and underinsured insurance limits you can afford. You will find that higher limits are still quite affordable because the risk of loss goes down as your coverage increases. 

If you have an umbrella policy, make sure it provides uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage; some do not include it unless you ask for it. Many insurance agents either don’t understand uninsured and underinsured insurance, or they are worried about selling you insurance that is not required by state law.

Protect yourself and your family. You don’t want to be the person who calls VNJ Law about a life-changing injury, only to be told there is nothing we can do.

If you’ve been injured in a motor vehicle accident, request a consultation with VNJ Law by calling us at (816) 895-8800 or sending us a message online.

The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to constitute legal advice; instead, all information is for general informational purposes only. Information on this website may not constitute the most up-to-date legal or other information.

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