Uninsured Motorist Coverage

Policy Issues

The company is not paying me fairly on my total loss. How do you establish a vehicle's value?

Sources such as book value and dealer quotes can be considered. If the value is disputed by either you or the insurer based on those sources, the only accurate determination can be made with similar vehicles available in the market. The condition of the vehicle, mileage and options are all used in determining your vehicle's value.

An auto insurance company is not offering to pay 100 percent of my damages on a liability claim. Can you help?

We have the authority to determine if the insurer conducted a complete investigation prior to making their determination of fault. The Missouri Department of Commerce and Insurance does not have the authority to decide issues of fault in an accident. If you do not agree with the insurer's assessment of fault, you have to ask the courts to rule on the matter or pursue your claim under your own policy of insurance.

The other insurance company won't pay for a rental car on my liability claim. Don't they have to?

Not in all situations. If you have no other vehicle available, the insurer should cover the cost of a rental as part of your damages from the accident at least until they determine the loss on your car. No insurance statutes exist on this issue.

Can an insurance company write an estimate using parts not made by the original manufacturer or salvage parts?

Yes, they do not have to put new parts on a used vehicle. A company only has to return the vehicle to its condition before the damage.

I submitted two estimates, and the insurance company revised the estimate and paid me based on the revised estimate. Can they do this?

Yes, as long as the revised estimate properly repairs your vehicle. You need to have your body shop review the revised estimate. If they feel they cannot properly repair your vehicle based on the revised estimate, the repair facility should contact your adjuster.

Can the insurance company tell me where to have the repair work done under either homeowners or auto?

It is always your option to go to the repair shop of your choice. Your insurance company may only be obligated to pay for the lowest estimate; therefore, you would be responsible for any additional costs. Your insurance company may suggest vendors/contractors that are in their preferred vendor list. If the company dictates where you should get the work done, they should be willing to guarantee the repairs.

What is comparative fault?

In 1983, Missouri adopted the rules of pure comparative fault. Pure comparative fault allows your damages to be reduced by the percentage you are at fault in a loss. Insurers are allowed to investigate an accident and make a decision as to the percentage of fault of all parties involved. They will make voluntary offers based on this opinion. If you disagree with their evaluation, you should consult an attorney or turn over the matter to your own insurance company to handle under your collision coverage.

I've had an accident with an uninsured motorist. What do I do?

Contact the Missouri Department of Revenue Drivers License Bureau at 573-751-7195. The Missouri Department of Revenue enforces the financial responsibility (mandatory liability) laws in this state. They will investigate and, if necessary, enforce the statute. Also, if you were injured, you will want to report the loss under your uninsured motorist coverage with your company.

What does uninsured motorist coverage cover?

Uninsured motorist coverage applies to bodily injury only. Your uninsured motorist coverage will protect you from hit-and-run drivers. It covers you for injuries sustained while in your car or as a pedestrian when hit by an uninsured driver. It does not cover damage to your vehicle.

Do you have to buy uninsured motorist coverage on an auto policy?

Yes, an insurance company cannot issue a contract of automobile liability coverage in Missouri without including uninsured motorist coverage on the policy.

Can the driving/accident records of my child/spouse have an impact on my ability to buy auto insurance?

Yes, the driving record of any licensed driver in your household will affect the decision of the insurance company to insure your vehicle(s). It can cause you to be turned down for insurance coverage or to pay high risk insurance premiums. You may want to ask your agent or insurer about a driver exclusion endorsement.

Can a finance company take out insurance on my car and charge me for it?

Yes, if under the terms of your loan, you agree to provide comprehensive and collision insurance, and you fail to do so. The lending institution can obtain a policy to protect its interest. These policies typically do not offer liability insurance coverage to meet the state's financial responsibility (mandatory liability) laws.

Is it legal for an auto insurer to place me in a high risk policy if I have not been insured in the last 30 days?

Yes. Current Missouri law does not prevent an insurer from doing so. This situation can be avoided by paying your premiums on time to avoid lapses in coverage.