Commercial Auto Insurance Minimum Requirements in Missouri
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Missouri's proof of financial responsibility requirements mandate insurance coverage for all vehicles driven on state roads, including commercial vehicles.
Commercial insurance also provides important protection for company assets in the event a business vehicle is involved in an accident causing property damage or serious injury.
Ways to Establish Financial Responsibility
State law requires you to show proof of financial responsibility whenever you register a vehicle or renew your license plates. Most vehicle owners choose to purchase a liability insurance policy, but there are other options to consider as well:
- If you have more than 25 vehicles and can show how you will pay for damages you or your employees may cause, you can request a self-insurance ID card issued by the Department of Revenue (DOR).
- You can file a $60,000 surety bond or certificate of deposit of money with the DOR.
- You can file a real estate bond with the DOR.
Contrary to popular belief, commercial insurance is not always a requirement. A business owner with several trucks that multiple employees drive will likely need a commercial policy, but a sole proprietor who only uses his personal vehicle to make occasional business trips generally will find a personal auto policy to be sufficient.
Factors to consider when deciding if commercial insurance will be necessary include:
- The number of cars and trucks requiring proof of coverage.
- Business equipment attached to any of the vehicles.
- The primary purpose of the vehicles.
- The registered owner of the vehicles.
- The number of vehicle drivers and their relationship to your business.
- Whether or not a personal auto policy could sufficiently protect your business assets in the event of a lawsuit.
The DOR can further help you determine whether you need commercial insurance.
Minimum Missouri liability insurance requirements are:
- $50,000 per accident for bodily injury
- $25,000 per person for bodily injury
- $10,000 per accident for property
Uninsured motorist coverage requirements are:
- $50,000 for bodily injury per accident
- $25,000 per person for bodily injury
Meeting minimum coverage requirements will help you avoid state penalties, but it might be a good idea to purchase more than the minimum amount of coverage. Business owners with significant assets can need much more coverage in order to be fully protected.
Beyond a basic liability insurance policy, you can opt to add endorsements to provide protection for expenses such as medical payments, rental reimbursement, and towing or labor. A business umbrella policy may be an option to consider as well, since this type of insurance can provide coverage for property damage or bodily injury costs after your liability limits have been reached.
Contact the DOR or an insurance agent to discuss coverage requirements and additional insurance options.
Experts recommend you get at least three quotes before purchasing a commercial auto policy, because prices can vary among carriers. Many companies offering insurance for personal vehicles provide commercial auto policies. There are also companies that specialize in providing coverage to those who need to cover multiple business vehicles.
Any company selling insurance in Missouri must provide the DOR with resident policy information as required by the state's Enhanced Sampling Program. Companies must update policy information before the seventh working day of each month. However, reporting errors may sometimes occur. Contact your insurance carrier if you receive notice from the DOR that your coverage has been incorrectly listed.
The main document offering proof of financial responsibility is the card you receive from your insurance company after beginning your coverage. Keep this card in the vehicle's glove compartment or another safe location within the vehicle. Your or the driver might need to show it to a law enforcement officer after being stopped for a moving violation or involved in an accident.
Additionally, the DOR has the authority to require you to provide proof of insurance at any time if they have reason to suspect you do not have the proper coverage for your business vehicles.
If an employee is not able to provide proof of insurance upon a law enforcement officer's request, you will be issued a ticket and the DOR will be notified of your failure to maintain financial responsibility.
The state penalties for no proof of insurance are definitely something to consider, but the real risk of having no coverage for your commercial vehicles is the chance a lawsuit from just one serious motor vehicle accident could result in a settlement large enough to push an otherwise successful company into bankruptcy.
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