Auto Insurance Basics

Auto Insurance Requirements in Minnesota

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The Minnesota No-Fault Act requires all drivers to carry the major car insurance coverages while they operate on state roads: no-fault insurance (personal injury protection), liability insurance, and uninsured & underinsured motorist coverage. The respective minimum limits are $40k, $30k/$60k/$10k, and $25k/$50k. 

You should at least have one of these two proofs of insurance with you at all times when you're pulled over by a peace officer, or involved in an accident. They are your insurance ID card and the declaration page of your policy (or a copy of it). If you're required to send proof after an accident, mail a copy of the above or a written statement from your insurer with your policy info to the court administrator of the district court where the accident happened.

Minnesota Required Car Insurance CoverageMN Required Min. Limits
Bodily Injury (BI) $30,000 per person / $60,000 per accident
Property Damage (PD) $10,000 per accident
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist BI (UMBI/UIMBI) $25,000 per person / $50,000 per accident

Minnesota Car Insurance Minimum Requirements

As a Minnesota residence, you must carry bodily injury, property damage, personal injury protection, uninsured motorist, and underinsured motorist coverage when you drive. Each coverage type has an amount up to which your insurer will cover you for, and here are the mandatory minimum amounts or limits: 

Bodily Injury (BI): covers the medical expenses for other people in an accident you cause for as much as $30,000 per injured person, but no more than $60,000 per accident (in case there are two or more persons injured). Note that BI only kicks in when you cause the accident, and it also pays for your legal fees if the other party decides to sue you. It does not cover you nor your passengers’ medical costs (that is PIP’s job; see below). Higher limits are available, varying by insurer.

Property Damage (PD): PD covers as much as $10,000 worth of damage to other people's property in each accident you cause. This may include footing the bill for the other driver’s car repairs, or any collateral public properties - like a utility pole or someone's house or business you run into in the same crash. Higher limits are available, which vary by insurer.

Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury (UMBI): up to $25,000 for one injured person and $50,000 for two or more in your own car if an uninsured driver causes the accident. A car is considered uninsured if it lacks any one – or all – of the required auto insurance coverages in Minnesota. Under such circumstances, your own insurer pays your medical expenses. Note that MN does not allow you to collect UMBI from multiple policies (for example, the coverage of the car you were sitting in + your own policy). If you happened to be in a someone else's car, you have access to the higher of their insurance policy's UMBI limits and your own. You may want to buy higher limits, but know that your UMBI may never be higher than your BI limits.

Underinsured Motorist Bodily Injury (UIMBI): up to $25,000 for one injured person and $50,000 for two or more in your car if an underinsured driver is at fault for the accident. A car is considered underinsured when it has all the coverages, but the limits are not enough to compensate all of your expenses. Similarly with UMBI, you may not claim from more than one policy’s UIMBI coverage even if they are all available to you. You are, however, entitled to coverage by the policy that has the highest UIMBI limits. Your UIMBI may never be higher than your BI limits if you choose to buy more protection.

No-Fault / Personal Injury Protection Coverage in Minnesota

PIP is also required in an auto insurance policy in Minnesota. Minnesota is a no-fault state, which means your insurer – when you are properly insured – will pay for your (and your passengers') medical expenses and lost income resulting from injuries in car accidents. Minnesota's personal injury protection (PIP) coverage pays up to a total of $40,000 per accident. There are two types of expenses covered within this limit; $20,000 for medical and the rest for non-medical benefits (or work loss benefits).

Your Non-Medical Benefits include the following:

  • Disability & Income Loss Benefit: in the event you are disabled or forced to stop working due to injuries from a car crash, Minnesota's PIP steps in to compensate you for 85% of your lost present and future income, up to $500 a week until the limit is reached (about 40 consecutive weeks). If you were receiving some form of unemployment benefit, and will lose that because you are unable to work, the same benefit applies. 
  • Replacement Services Benefit: when you are receiving disability benefit, you may also claim a maximum of $200 a week for replacing household services in MN. For example, this can pay for hiring someone to take care of your family for you because you're unable to due to injuries sustained in the car crash.
  • Funeral Benefit: when someone covered under your policy dies from injuries as a result of a car accident, your insurer must provide as much as $5,000 of the funerary and burial expenses.
  • Survivor’s Benefits: if a covered driver passes away due to injuries from the car crash, and there are legal dependents who rely on the income or care provided by the deceased insured, the dependents may make claims under the survivor’s benefits. Specifically, they are entitled to a maximum of $500 per week of survivor’s income loss (income made by the deceased), and up to $200 per week of survivor’s replacement service. 

Note: several of Minnesota’s PIP benefits were modified in 2014, effective Jan. 2015. The above benefits reflect the change.

Your Right to Sue

In exchange for no-fault protections and benefits, your right to sue the other driver is limited in Minnesota. However, there are circumstances when you will be exempt from this restriction:

Sue for Economic Loss: if your economic loss (medical bills) is not fully covered by your PIP or MN health insurance, you have the right to sue the at-fault driver for the uncovered costs (who will be paying with his or her BI coverage).

Sue for Non-Economic Loss: On the other hand, to claim non-economic loss (compensation for pain and suffering), Minnesota has several quantitative and qualitative “thresholds” by which the court will determine whether or not you have a case:

  • Quantitative: whenever the medical expenses from the accident exceeds $4,000, even when it is fully covered
  • Qualitative: when you suffer from permanent disfigurement, permanent injury, death, or the inability to do most of your daily activities for more than 60 days

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