It's important for Minnesota drivers to understand how the state's car insurance rules work, especially after a car accident:
Minnesota is one of a dozen or so states that follow some version of a "no-fault" car insurance system. With no-fault, your own car insurance coverage (in Minnesota, that means your "personal injury protection" or "PIP" coverage) pays for your medical treatment and other out-of-pocket losses after a car accident, up to policy limits, regardless of who caused the crash.
According to the Minnesota Commerce Department, you're required to carry no-fault/PIP if:
Nonresidents of Minnesota must also maintain PIP and liability coverage on any owned vehicle when it's driven within Minnesota's borders.
In Minnesota, your PIP coverage applies to:
After a car accident, PIP pays your (or another covered person's):
$20,000 in PIP covers medical bills, and another $20,000 can be used for non-medical expenses. Coverage above these minimums can be purchased.
Note that with a PIP/no-fault claim, you can't get compensation for your "pain and suffering" and other non-monetary damages stemming from the accident. In non-no-fault (or "liability") scenarios, and especially when car accident injuries are significant, "pain and suffering" can represent a majority percentage of a claimant's damages.
To get the PIP claim process started after a car accident, you can simply notify your car insurance company of the crash, either over the phone or through the company's online claims portal. From there you'll be instructed on the right next steps for getting compensation for your losses.
According to the Minnesota Department of Commerce, when making a claim: "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."
Yes. Whether you're making a claim under your own insurance policy, or as a covered person under someone else's plan, you'll need to get the PIP claim process started within six months of the car accident, according to Minnesota Statutes section 65B.55.
This is a pretty lenient deadline, however. Your claim can't automatically be denied for failure to file within six months. The insurance company would need to show that its rights or interests were somehow harmed (or "prejudiced") by the delay.
Note that this six-month claim filing deadline is different from Minnesota's statute of limitations. That law gives you two years to file a car accident lawsuit, if the circumstances of the crash and your resulting injuries let you take the at-fault driver to court. Speaking of which...
You can step outside of the no-fault system and file a third-party insurance claim or lawsuit against the at-fault driver in Minnesota (so that "pain and suffering" and other non-economic losses are on the table):
Keep in mind that, even after one or both of the above thresholds is met, your liability claim against another driver can only be for amounts not covered by your PIP coverage. But you can hold the at-fault driver responsible for the accident via a third-party car insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit, and you can pursue compensation for all categories of losses, including pain and suffering and all other available non-economic damages (which, again, aren't available in a no-fault claim).
It's important to note that Minnesota's no-fault car insurance system applies to injuries caused by car accidents, but not to vehicle damage claims. A claim for damage to (or total loss of) a vehicle can be made against the at-fault driver in Minnesota, with no limitations.
Now that you understand how no-fault car insurance works in Minnesota, let's look at the state's requirements for different kinds of car insurance coverage.
If you're a vehicle owner in Minnesota (or even if you're just storing your car in the state), you must purchase and carry certain minimum amounts and types of car insurance:
Keep in mind that, if you are found responsible for causing a car accident, and the injured drivers' and/or passengers' losses exceed the limits of your car insurance policy, you may find yourself personally responsible for making up the difference out of your own assets.
For more details on Minnesota's motor vehicle insurance rules, check out the Auto Insurance portal and this Auto Insurance Guide from the Minnesota Commerce Department. And if you've been in a car accident, especially if your injuries are significant, you might want to understand your options in light of Minnesota's car insurance rules. Learn how an attorney can help with your car accident case.