According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were 5.2 million motor vehicle crashes on U.S. roads in 2020. These crashes resulted in 2.28 million injuries and 38,824 fatalities.
With car accidents being common, all U.S. states, except New Hampshire, require drivers to have at least the minimum car insurance coverage. Your policy will protect you financially if you’re involved in a crash, whether you caused the accident or not.
In Missouri, drivers must show proof of insurance upon any law enforcement official’s request. Although car insurance is mandatory for drivers, the Insurance Research Council found that one in eight drivers get behind the wheel uninsured.
Aside from breaking the law, driving uninsured in MO comes with a host of consequences, especially if you are involved in a car crash. Below, we explain what happens when you get into a car accident without insurance.
If you are at fault
If you are involved in a crash, and the authorities have determined you to be at-fault, you will face penalties for driving uninsured. You will also be financially responsible for the damage you caused.
The financial burdens you’ll face include the following:
Damage repair and replacement cost
The driver at fault is usually responsible for paying the damages of a crash. This includes vehicle repair or replacement costs and the repair and replacement of any other property you damaged.
If the other drivers, their passengers, and pedestrians on the road are injured in the crash, you will have to shoulder their medical expenses. This includes things like ambulance rides, medical care, and therapy.
The other parties involved in the crash may sue you, especially if you cannot pay for the damages you caused. As a result, you will have to worry about legal fees on top of the ones mentioned above.
Apart from these, you will likely pay higher premiums if you buy an insurance policy after your accident. Insurance companies view drivers with a history of accidents as higher risk, thus the higher premium.
If the other driver is at fault
If you get into a crash without an insurance policy, but you are not at fault, the financial consequences aren’t as heavy. Still, driving without insurance will have financial repercussions, including:
If you are uninsured and in an accident, you’re likely to encounter times where a claim, or parts of a claim, are denied by the other driver’s insurance. It is much harder to appeal that decision when you’re uninsured and do not have representation leaving you vulnerable to paying these costs out of pocket.
If you’re involved in a collision with another driver, and they were found to be at fault, you’re entitled to compensation for damages, including your hospital bills and car repair costs. However, your lack of insurance might limit what you’re entitled to receive.
Penalties for Driving Without Insurance in Missouri
Apart from the out-of-pocket costs, getting into an accident when you don’t have auto insurance also incurs penalties.
Penalties for a first offense include getting your driver’s license, registration plate, and license plate suspended until you present proof that you’ve obtained coverage. You will have to pay a $20 fee to reinstate your driving privileges.
If a second offense occurs within two years of the initial violation, you will face penalties like a driving suspension for 90 days. Likewise, you will have to pay a $200 fee to reinstate your license once you’ve proven you got car insurance. A second conviction may also be punishable by up to 15 days of jail time or fines of up to $500.
Suppose you receive three or more charges of driving without insurance within two years of a previous violation. In that case, you will get their driver’s license, registration, and license plates revoked for a year.
You will also have to need to pay administration fees, amounting between $25 and $75.
Lastly, getting a conviction for driving without car insurance in MO results in four points on your driving record. According to the state’s laws, it only takes eight points within 18 months to have your driver’s license suspended.
Paying for Damages Without Insurance
The main benefit of having an auto insurance policy is that you’re covered in several aspects in case of an accident. Most policies provide coverage for:
- Property – This pays for the replacement and repair of your vehicle
- Liability – This takes care of your responsibility to other parties if you caused a collision that resulted in injury or property damage.
- Medical – This covers the cost of treating injuries, rehabilitation, and recovering lost wages or funeral expenses.
The average cost of a car insurance policy’s annual premium is $1,771 for full coverage. Without the coverage mentioned above, you will have to pay fines and damages out of your pocket, which can cost you thousands of dollars.
The Value of Hiring a Lawyer
Getting into a car accident, whether you have insurance or not, is a serious matter that can benefit from the legal counsel of a lawyer.
For one, if you’re involved in a collision with other people and damage their properties, they might try and blame you. And if you think the accident is not your fault, you could be in an uphill battle trying to prove your case to receive compensation.
If you don’t have a car insurance policy and get into a crash, reach out to a car accident lawyer in MO.
With the help of an attorney, you can navigate your case. Your lawyer can also help you navigate a plea bargain to minimize the accident’s reflection on your records. In addition, a car accident lawyer will fight for you to get the best compensation you deserve.
Contact Sloan Law Office for a free consultation. Our car accident attorney can advocate on your behalf to ensure you’re well represented.