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The following is an excerpt from the Automobile Insurance Consumer's Guide Click Here to read the entire article
• What the law requires
Mississippi law requires that all drivers
maintain liability insurance and carry a card
in their vehicles at all times showing that you
have liability insurance. On January 1, 2006, the
minimum liability requirements increased to the
following: $25,000 per person (limited to a single
accident), $50,000 per accident for bodily injury,
and $25,000 per accident for property damage.
Technically, you, as a Mississippi driver, can
legally satisfy these requirements by:
Showing proof of liability insurance with
bodily injury and property damage limits at
least equal to the minimum requirement.
Posting a bond for these same amounts.
Making a cash or security deposit equal to the minimum requirement.
However, for the vast majority of people,
automobile liability insurance is the most effective
way to protect yourself financially in case of
an automobile accident. Maintaining it in your
vehicle is now the law. State law says that a law
enforcement officer cannot stop you solely to
check if you have an insurance card, but he or
she can ask you for proof of insurance during a
stop for any other statutory violation. The initial
penalty for failing to maintain an insurance card
is $1,000 and suspension of driving privileges for
one year or until the motor vehicle owner shows
proof of insurance.
Liability: What you need to know
Liability coverage pays for damage you cause
to other people and their property. It protects your
assets and wages from seizure and litigation.
However, you should realize that in todayʼs era
25/50/25 may not be sufficient. It is a good idea
to consider purchasing liability coverage with
higher limits. Remember, if you are at fault in
an accident, liability coverage will only pay up to
your limits of insurance. You will be responsible
for any damages over that amount. You will need
to purchase other kinds of coverage if you want
the insurance company to pay for your medical
bills and vehicle repairs.
Know what your policy covers
Many states with compulsory liability laws still
have substantial numbers of uninsured motorists
– those without any form of automobile insurance.
If an uninsured motorist hits your car, you may
not be able to collect damages. However, if you
purchase Uninsured/Underinsured Motorists (UM/
UIM) protection, you can make a claim for your
injuries or damages through your own insurance
Other optional coverages that can be
added to your auto insurance policy include
collision, comprehensive, and medical
payments components. Collision coverage will
pay for the cost of repairing damage to your car
caused by an impact with a vehicle or object.
Comprehensive coverage will reimburse you if
your car is stolen. Medical payments coverage
will pay the expenses of persons injured in an
accident regardless of fault. If your car was
financed, most often your lender will require
you to carry collision and comprehensive
If you have an accident.
If you are involved in an accident and have a
claim, there are certain things that you should do:
Call the police – even if it is an accident where
the police do not normally respond.
Get the name, address, registration number,
insurance company name and operatorʼs
license number of all vehicles and operators
Note the time, date, location, road conditions,
make and year of vehicles involved, apparent
damage and injuries, and your version of
what happened. Make a diagram of the
Notify your insurance agent or company as
soon as possible.
Obtain the names and addresses of all witnesses
and individuals involved in the accident.
Take reasonable steps to protect your property
from further damage.
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