What If My St. Louis Car Accident Claim Exceeds My Insurance Policy?

Drivers who opt for the minimum coverage can sometimes discover just how expensive car accidents can truly be.

Auto insurance is mandatory in Missouri, and the minimums are set at:

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

The law also requires drivers to carry mandatory uninsured motorist coverage with the same set minimums. Drivers are free to purchase policies with higher levels of protection.

When you are involved in a car accident, these insurance policies generally kick in and provide you with financial support to cover medical expenses and property damage costs. However, in some cases, drivers may have total expenses that well exceed their insurance policies, leaving them unsure of how to cover the gap.

pain after a st. louis car accident

Who Pays for the Accident?

First, it’s important to determine who should cover your medical bills and property damage costs. If you were driving and accidentally hit a pole, for instance, then you have your personal auto insurance to fall back on.

However, if you are the victim of a car accident, then legally, the at-fault driver is generally obliged to cover the costs of all the damages the car accident has caused you. In this case, you don’t file a claim with your insurance company but the company of the at-fault driver.

The same goes if you are at fault for the incident. The ‘victim’ files a claim with your insurance company to seek damages.

What If the Policy Can’t Cover All of It?

Drivers who opt for the minimum coverage can sometimes discover just how expensive car accidents can truly be. 

If you’re the victim and are filing for compensation with the at-fault party’s insurance company, and their policy is not enough to cover what you’re owed, you have the option to seek the rest of your compensation in court. You are legally entitled to recover full damages, even if the driver’s insurance policy does not have sufficient coverage. A judge can therefore rule the at-fault party must pay the rest of the amount out of pocket. In the meantime, you may fall back on your insurance policy for certain expenses.

These matters are not as easy when it comes to your personal insurance, however. If your policy is not enough to cover your costs’ full extent, you will likely have to cover the additional costs out of pocket.

Before you do, speak with an experienced St. Louis car injury lawyer, and have them look over your case. Sometimes, insurance companies can refuse to cover certain costs even if the policy limit is not exceeded.

St. Louis Car Accident Lawyers

If your car accident claim exceeds your insurance policy, reach out to a St. Louis car accident attorney at The Hoffmann Law Firm, L.L.C., before you start paying the costs out of pocket. There may be additional legal options available to you, and we can help you identify them and protect your right to compensation.

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Updated: January 25, 2021