Mississippi takes the idea of car insurance seriously. There are minimum amounts of liability coverage established for bodily injury and property damage. While you don’t need any kind of insurance to tag your car or even apply for a driver’s license, get ready to pony up significant penalties if you’re caught without insurance. The first instance sets you back a cool $1,000, while the second instance earns you a one-year license suspension. For a breakdown of exactly what coverage is required in Mississippi, keep reading.
Bodily Injury Per Person
You are required to carry $25,000 insurance for each person who might be injured in a car crash that is deemed to be your fault. That’s why they call it liability insurance – it applies to any damage you create through your own inattentive driving. Keep in mind this type of liability applies to anyone injured in another vehicle or even a pedestrian. Injuries suffered to the driver at fault, or persons riding with him, are covered either by personal auto insurance or health insurance.
Bodily Injury Per Accident
In Mississippi, this type of minimum coverage is set at $50,000 and sets an upper limit which your insurance company will pay on injuries suffered by other drivers due to your negligence per accident. Here’s how it works. The state requires you to carry $25,000 per person, but what if there are four people in the other car and they all suffer $20,000 in medical bills? That’s a total of $80,000. The initial assumption would be each is covered in full because they are under the per person limit established by your policy. Unfortunately, if you decide to go with the mandated minimum per accident coverage of $50,000, the insurance company won’t pay above that, leaving $30,000 in bills you would be held personally liable for.
This is the third category for which the state of Mississippi has set a requirement. The amount is $25,000 and applies to any property damage caused by your negligent driving. The most obvious way property damage insurance would be to invoked would be in paying for repairs to the other person’s car, though, depending on the particulars of the accident, you might be found liable for more than that. A few examples. How about when you sideswipe another car, shoving it into the menu board in the drive thru lane outside your favorite fast food establishment? Or when you forget to stop at a red light, rear end someone, and catapult their vehicle through a plate glass window of a nearby business – say a pickle canning factory? You are responsible for the window and your insurance will pay up to the stated amount.
Alternate Insurance Methods
Though purchasing insurance from a third party company is by far the most popular way of meeting the state’s minimum requirements, there are other ways you can accomplish the feat. The main goal of the state is to insure that every driver has established some sort of financial responsibility for when things go wrong. If you have a pathological abhorrence to paying insurance premiums, here are different methods to meet the Mississippi minimum.
* Post a surety bond from a company licensed to sell them in the state. Must meet the minimum is all three categories.
* Deposit funds with the state. Mississippi allows for this method. Get in touch with the state’s office of insurance to find out exactly how much you need to deposit – amounts generally are from $30,000 to $65,000. You will receive a certificate to carry in your car proving you are covered.
We already mentioned the possibility of a fine and/or license suspension for driving while uninsured. There is a caveat. If you receive a ticket for driving without insurance but proceed to acquire insurance before your court hearing, the fine will be reduced, and your license will not be suspended. If you get insurance after the hearing, there will be no fine reduction, though you can have your driver’s license reinstated.
Mississippi’s minimum requirements in regard to liability auto insurance falls into line with what most other states deem acceptable also. The thinking in regard to this topic is that to allow a herd of uninsured motorists loose on the highways and byways of the state is to invite full-scale chaos in the form of a flood of people who are hurt by another driver but have no way to recoup injuries or damages. That’s why states like Mississippi are serious about establishing financial responsibility of some sort from every driver.