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Minnesota Auto Insurance Requirements
by Doug Cohen

Hey Minnesotans! The Minn. Department of Commerce basically defines auto insurance as a way of transferring the risk of loss of a few, among the many. You, and others, pay premiums to an insurance company to be reimbursed should someone have an accident. The amount you can collect, and under what circumstances, are outlined in your policy.

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What is the Mandatory Auto Insurance Law in Minnesota?

Minnesota requires all licensed cars to have:

  1. PIP (Personal Injury Protection), also known as "No Fault" coverage, pay you and members of your household, up to the policy limits, for medical expenses, lost wages, and replacement services, regardless of who was at fault.
  2. Liability, covers claims to your policy from another driver. It also covers damages to another's vehicle when an accident is your fault.
  3. Underinsured coverage, pays up to the stated limits, medical claims of those covered by your policy. These benefits are in addition your PIP benefits and are used when the other driver is responsible for the accident but does not have enough liability coverage to cover your medical claims.
  4. Uninsured coverage pays your medical expenses once your PIP benefits have been exhausted and the other driver is responsible for the accident but has no insurance.

And Minnesota law requires all drivers, whether in Saint Paul, Duluth, Brooklyn Park or Bloomington, Plymouth or Eagan, Coon Rapids or Burnsville, to have auto insurance with at least the following required minimum limits.

What are those required minimums in the Land of 10,000 Lakes?

Minn law requires the following car insurance coverage and limits:

Liability Coverage (mandatory):
$30,000 for injuries to one person
$60,000 for injuries to two or more people
$10,000 for physical damage to the other driver's car or for property damage

usually their car.

Personal Injury Protection, aka PIP or No Fault (mandatory):
$40,000 per person/per accident
[$20,000 of that for hospital/medical expenses]
[$20,000 of that for non-medical expenses such as lost wages, replacement services, etc.]

Underinsured Motorist:
$25,000 for injuries to one person
$50,000 for injuries to two or more persons

$25,000 for injuries to one person
$50,000 for injuries to two or more persons

Minnesota Car Insurance Tip: If you have a loan on your vehicle, the lienholder, as the legal owner of the car, will require you to carry comprehensive and collision coverage. If you do not purchase this coverage, the lien holder may buy it and charge you for the premium. This is termed "forced insurance;" it is extremely expensive, it is legal, and it does not include the required coverages listed above. So be sure you buy it yourself.

Comprehensive (optional):
Covers physical damage to your auto that results from non-collision damage, subject often times to a deductible.

Collision (optional):
Covers damage to your car that results from a collision with another car or object, subject to a deductible.

What about coverage when you loan your car to a friend?
What if you loan your car to a friend, and he or she has an accident? In Minnesota, if any of your friends who are driving your automobile have an automobile insurance policy, their injuries will be covered under their own policy, not yours. If they are not covered under their own policy, and no one in their household is covered under a policy, the basic economic loss benefits will be paid from your policy.

Who pays for damage to the car?
In Minnesota your car will always be covered under your own policy as long as the policy carries comprehensive and collision coverage. Under certain circumstances, however, the policy covering the other vehicle may pay for damage to your car. Check your policy under the definition of "your covered auto."

What about coverage of rental cars?
Minnesota law requires every automobile insurance policy, under the property damage liability portion, to provide a minimum of $35,000 in coverage, without a deductible, for damage to, and loss of use of, a rental car (including pickup trucks and vans under 26,000 pounds). State law further specifies that when a driver rents a vehicle in Minnesota, a separate notice must be attached to the rental contract that informs the driver of this coverage. The notice must also state: "purchase of any collision damage waiver or similar insurance affected in this rental contract is not necessary if your policy was issued in Minnesota." The same law requires that no collision damage waiver or other insurance affecting the rented vehicle can be sold unless the person renting the vehicle acknow-ledges in writing that the consumer protection notice has been read and understood.

What Exactly Is No-Fault Coverage in Minnesota?
No-Fault coverage is widely misunderstood. Many drivers believe that their insurance company will cover ALL losses in an accident, regardless of who is at fault. But "no-fault" coverage applies ONLY to expenses resulting from injuries sustained in an accident.

Here are some other facts about no-fault:
No-fault is a Minnesota law. It was established to help ease the burden of courts and to ensure prompt treatment for accident victims. No-fault IS the Personal Injury Protection (PIP) on your policy, sometimes referred to as Basic Economic Loss Benefits. No-fault covers your medical costs, wage loss, replacement serv- ices such as housekeeping, and in the event of death, $2,000 of funeral expenses. No-fault claims are first made on your own PIP. If expenses then prove greater than the PIP limit on your policy, or you attain specified thresholds, you may make a claim against the other driver's liability coverage if the other driver is found to be liable. Minimum no-fault coverage is $40,000. That amount is available to each person injured in an accident; $20,000 is allowed for medical expenses and $20,000 may be used for non-medical expenses. Coverage beyond these minimum amounts may be purchased. No-fault usually does not apply to accidents when you are riding your motorcycle or snowmobile. You must purchase a separate insurance policy covering these vehicles, and the policies will not include personal injury protection. PIP coverage for snowmobiles or motorcycles can, however, be purchased separately. No-fault claims must be made within six months of the accident. You must include proof of expenses, complete an application for benefits, and submit to a medical examination if requested. Bills should be submitted to the insurance company as they come in.

Proof of Insurance

While it's helpful to keep current proof of auto insurance in the car with you at all times, Minnesota law does not currently require you to carry it with you.

Your car insurance company will provide this card when they issue or renew your car insurance liability policy.

Any time you request it, the insurance company will provide you this card for free for each car covered under your policy and if you get a free auto quote and purchase your insurance from InstantCarInsurance.com or from Ensurance.com you can also print your free ID cards instantly online, anytime of day.

The insurance ID card includes the name of the Minnesota car insurance company, 800 claims number, the insurance policy number, and the insurance policy effective and expiration dates. It also includes a description of the insured car(s) and the name(s) of the insured driver(s).

Minnesota has mandatory, or compulsory financial responsibility laws that are easily satisfied through buying car insurance from a Minnesota Licensed Insurance Company. All registered cars and trucks are required to have minimum liability coverage, although InstantCarInsurance.com recommends that you buy higher limits and additional types of coverage as is affordable for you.

Where can I find a licensed Minnesota Auto Insurance Company?

The easiest way to find affordable Minnesota car insurance is to simply go to the top of this page, begin a quote by completing one application and you will be shopping across 15 car insurance companies instantly.

How to Find the Best Auto Insurance Rates in Minnesota

We cannot say it enough! It is so important to comparison shop for the best car insurance in Minnesota at the lowest, cheapest, most affordable rates.

Let's face it, Minnesota auto insurance is not cheap! But there are many online resources that provide free quotes from licensed insurance companies approved by the Minnesota Department of Commerce.

If you think you may be paying too much for auto insurance, Minnesota residents can save time and money by comparing car insurance quotes quickly and anonymously between all the top name auto insurance carriers simply by logging on to InstantCarInsurance.com.

Just remember, the State of Minnesota requires minimum car insurance liability limits (see above) as long as you have a valid Minnesota car registration. Keep this in mind when shopping for basic coverage and evaluate it against car insurance quotes with higher coverage limits for a little more money. Cheap auto insurance is not always the best car insurance.

We also recommend the following tips to lower your auto insurance bill:

Shopping for Personal Automobile Insurance

Gather information you'll need before you begin shopping online. Remember that the cheapest deal isn't always the best deal. Good insurance value means finding the right price, best coverage, and quality service. Answer all questions truthfully and correctly. Check to see what discounts can save you money. Make sure the premium charge quotes you get are for the same term and coverage. For example, not all companies will offer the same options and deductibles. Decide what you need before shopping.

More Tips For Lowering Your Premium

  • Shop around often and compare prices.
  • Maintain a good driving record at all times.
  • Take the highest deductible you can afford on collision and comprehensive coverage.
  • On cars with market value less than $3,000, consider carrying only liability coverages.
  • Pay your premium well in advance of the due date. No grace period applies to automobile insurance.
  • Review your policy periodically, update coverage accordingly, and ask about discounts to see which ones you might be eligible for.

Tips For parents of teen-aged drivers: If your Minnesota teenagers don't own cars, try naming them on your policy as occasional operators of your least expensive cars. Many insurers will allow you to name them as an occasional driver if they donít drive to and from school or work.

If they do own cars, try to cover them under your policy. This would also qualify you for a multi-car discount. The total cost still is not going to be cheap, but it should be cheaper than if they buy a policy on their own.

It is important that you report actual driving habits to the company. Still, it's not uncommon today for the insurer to have juveniles automatically assigned to your most expensive car. These carriers are to be avoided if possible.

Check into discounts for a driver's education course or good academic record. If the young driver goes to school more than 100 miles away - without a car - another discount may apply.

Tips / Advice to Young Singles on their own: Avoid high performance or "turbo cars." A turbo engine can add more than 10 percent to your premium.

Tips / Advice to Older people: Take a defensive-driving course that's approved by the State Board of Education or National Safety Council. You may earn a 5 to 15 percent discount off of your premium.

Tips For All Drivers: Ask About Discounts
Ask your insurance company if you are eligible for any discounts. Here are some common discounts you can ask about:

  • Two or more cars on a policy
  • Motor Vehicle Accident Prevention Course
  • Driver Education Courses
  • Good student drivers under age 25
  • Mature driver (between 50 and 65 years of age)
  • Airbags, anti-lock braking system, and other safety equipment
  • Anti-theft devices
  • Low mileage
  • Carpooler
  • Clean driving record
  • Accident free record
  • Auto/home insurance on same policy or with same company (aka: Multi-policy discount)

One Last Money Saving Car Insurance Tip:Shop, and shop often! Why? Most people don't realize that Minnesota insurance companies typically change rates twice monthly. Therefore we strongly recommend that you save your quote, making it simple to return and re-rate your cars on the 1st and the 16th of each month - just to be sure you're still getting the best deal, the lowest, cheapest price you can find on line for auto insurance! Why not? It's fast, easy, and best of all, it's free!

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