The simple answer to the question above is “they are not able to do so legally”. However, as you will see, it is increasingly difficult to prevent an insurance company from finding some reason, any reason, to increase your rates. The good news is there are options to fight back against rising auto insurance rates.
In Missouri, there is something called the Missouri Insurance Regulations. The full list of rules for auto insurance can be found here: http://sos.mo.gov/adrules/csr/current/20csr/20c500-2.pdf . Specifically, when it comes to uninsured motorist coverage, the regulations specifically state as follows:
(3) In no event shall an insurer request an
increase in premium from any insured in connection
with any claim arising out of any
accident for which the insured was not at
fault. In connection with any accident caused
by the insured, an insurer may request an
increase in premium as a result of payment by
an insurer to or on behalf of the insured in
settlement of any claim made by or against
This regulation spells out in plain English that the insurance company cannot raise your rates if a crash was not your fault. A claim made under your uninsured motorist policy is, by definition, a claim made that is not your fault—it is the fault of another driver who is uninsured. However, an insurance company can state many reasons for increasing premiums—from the type of car to number of drivers to where you live. The key is to pin them down.
Many residents of Missouri are unaware of this regulation and mistakenly believe that an insurance company will raise their premiums if they make any claim on their policy. This is not true. An insurance company doing business in Missouri has absolutely no authority or power to raise your rates after making an uninsured motorist claim. If someone told you the opposite, they are wrong. If your agent told you your rates would go up, they are wrong. If your insurance company told you your rates would go up they are wrong.
There are couple ways to ensure your rates don’t go up for the wrong reasons. First and foremost, any time an insurance company says they need to raise your premium, demand they put the reasons in writing. You want a paper trail. They will have to justify why the rates are going up. If they say “claims history”, force them to list the claims. If one is a UM (uninsured motorist claim), they are violated the Missouri Insurance Regulations and need to be reported to the Department of Insurance immediately.
A simpler option is to stop using that insurance company—competition will ferret out the bad actors. I think of the Liberty Mutual commercials going around now—“The better question is, why do you have the insurance company?” I like that—there are literally dozens of options in Missouri for insurance coverage. Here is a list of active and inactive companies in MO—likely way more than you ever expected: https://sbs-mo.naic.org/Lion-Web/jsp/sbsreports/CompanySearchLookupProcess.jsp. Shop around—find the best coverage at the best price. But do NOT skimp on coverage. We have another blog on what “full coverage” means—take a look here: //finneylawoffice.com/full-coverage-car-insurance-explained/. Spoiler alert: it is not what you think it means—“full coverage” means “legally mandated state minimum coverage”.
Remember—you pay every month for uninsured motorist coverage. If you don’t use it, why pay for it?