From Kansas City over the grassy plains to the Ozark Mountains, the state of Missouri has countless breathtaking views to take in. With a unique culture that blends Midwestern and Southern sensibilities, you can enjoy ragtime, blues, and jazz styles that found their origins in your home state. But wherever you travel, you don’t want to hit the road without proper car insurance.

Residents of Missouri generally pay below the national average on their car insurance premiums, but that doesn’t mean you want to settle for the first policy you find. Luckily, the internet makes finding affordable car insurance a lot easier. All you have to do is fill out a short questionnaire, and helps you instantly compare rates from multiple companies in your area.

But before you look at your first Missouri car insurance quote, you need to understand the minimum requirements and consider adding optional coverage. So how much insurance do you need? What will determine your rates? And how do you know a policy is right for you?

Missouri Car Insurance Laws

State law makes it mandatory for all drivers to buy Missouri auto insurance and maintain their vehicle policy with the following minimum coverage:

Liability Coverage

  • $25,000 bodily injury per person
  • $50,000 bodily injury per accident
  • $25,000 property damage per accident

Your Bodily Injury Liability policy will pay medical bills and lost wages due for injuries you’re responsible for in an at-fault accident, up to the per person and per accident limits on the policy. It can also cover legal fees if your claim goes to court. It will not cover medical payments for you or your passengers.

Your property damage coverage will pay for damages to vehicles, stationary objects like signs or fences, or any standing structure you hit with your car. It will not cover any damages to your car or your personal property.

Uninsured Motorist Coverage

  • $25,000 bodily injury per person
  • $50,000 bodily injury per accident

Your Uninsured Motorist policy is designed to act in place of another driver’s liability insurance if you’re hit by an uninsured motorist. That means it will pay medical bills for you or any of your passengers, as well as lost wages. It will also help pay your bills if you’re hit by an underinsured motorist and will pay damages once their policy has reached the maximum limits. You have the option to add a similar policy for property damage, but it is not required by law.

Driving without insurance is punishable by a fine of up to $300, up to 15 days in jail, and possible suspension of your license. Subsequent offenses are harsher, and each citation is on your record permanently, which can have steep consequences for your insurance premiums. Each time your license is suspended, you will be subject to a reinstatement fee, which gets steeper with each suspension.

The Department of Revenue tracks auto insurance coverage and will ask for proof of insurance if your insurance coverage lapses with your current insurance company. They may also randomly send out requests for proof of insurance for any vehicle that is registered in the state of Missouri. So no matter what your budget is, you can’t afford to drive without insurance coverage.

Additional coverage to consider

Damages in an accident you cause are your financial responsibility, even if they exceed the level of coverage you purchased from your insurance provider. A severe accident can easily exceed the limits on policies that only offer minimum coverage. It’s a lot cheaper to spend a little more each month upping your maximum limits than it is to come up with a small fortune after a major accident.

You may also want to add coverage that will pay for your property damage and your medical bills, depending on your financial situation, your health insurance, and the value of your vehicle. Of course, if you’re still paying off your vehicle or you drive a leased vehicle, you will be required to have a comprehensive and collision policy on your vehicle, also known as “full coverage.”

Collision coverage will pay for damages to your car caused by a car accident or a collision with a stationary object, no matter who’s at fault. Comprehensive is designed to pay for things that may damage your car outside of a car accident, like damage from fire or hail. It will also cover you if your vehicle is stolen. These policies are a little pricier than liability insurance but are well worth it on a vehicle that is costly to repair or replace.

Medical Payments will help cover medical expenses for you and your family members when they are injured in a car crash, no matter who is at fault. Your policy will “ride” with you, so you are covered as a passenger in another vehicle, or even if you are hit while on foot. If you don’t have medical insurance, or if you have a very high deductible, it’s worth considering this policy.

How are Missouri car insurance rates determined?

The most obvious factor to the cost of coverage is your maximum limits and any optional policies you add to your car insurance coverage. Policies with higher deductibles and lower limits will cost less, but require more financial burden on your part when you need to make a claim.

But your insurance company will also use personal information about you to assess the risk of insuring you. Things like your age, address, marital status, and sex are all contributing factors, as well as your credit score, driving record, and claims history. However, each insurance company will use all this information differently to set your car insurance rates, so it’s essential to get as many quotes as possible to find the cheapest car insurance for you.

The final factor is the kind of vehicle you drive and how much you will drive it. Safety features and anti-theft devices will fetch discounts, but cars that are expensive to repair and worth more money are sometimes much more costly to insure. It’s best to get quotes before you buy a new vehicle to make sure you can afford to protect it.

Finding cheap car insurance in Missouri

It’s crucial to maintain a clean driving record and avoid traffic citations. This is the best way to keep the risk of insuring you low. Taking a defensive driving class and keeping a healthy credit score will also go a long way to lower your premiums, even if you do have some black marks on your record.

There are also a variety of discounts insurance companies offer to attract their target consumers. Safe driving discounts, good student discounts, multi-car discounts, and multi-policies discounts (like bundling your car insurance with your life insurance) can help you save on your monthly premiums. If you are able to pay your premium in full, you can save money on monthly fees.

Because of all these factors, it’s imperative that you compare as many car insurance quotes as possible before you choose an insurance policy. You can also experiment with different amounts of coverage and higher or lower deductibles, and weigh the cost and benefit of each. But when you compare quotes from two different companies, you need to make sure you’re comparing similar policies so that you can make an informed decision on the best insurer.

The bottom line

Once you’ve determined the level of coverage that’s right for you, you may begin your quote comparison. You’ll need to answer a few basic questions about yourself and the vehicle you want to insure, and will show you rates from companies in your area.

After you select the best policy for you, you can purchase your policy and print out proof of insurance within minutes. Even if you already have insurance, regularly comparing rates will help you get the best deal, so you can drive with peace of mind.