Minnesota No-Fault Car Insurance

Making sense of Minnesota's no-fault car insurance rules, and the state's minimum car insurance coverage requirements.

By , J.D.
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  • It's important for Minnesota drivers to understand how the state's car insurance rules work, especially after a car accident:

    • Minnesota is a "no-fault" car insurance state, which means your own car insurance pays for certain losses after an accident, no matter who caused the crash.
    • Your options for pursuing a claim against anyone else are limited when you're injured in a car accident, unless your injuries meet a certain threshold.
    • Minnesota requires vehicle owners to maintain certain minimum levels of car insurance coverage on any vehicle registered and operated in the state.

    No-Fault Car Insurance in Minnesota

    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:

    • your vehicle is required to be registered or licensed in Minnesota, or
    • your vehicle is principally garaged in Minnesota.

    Nonresidents of Minnesota must also maintain PIP and liability coverage on any owned vehicle when it's driven within Minnesota's borders.

    Who Is Covered Under Minnesota's No-Fault Car Insurance?

    In Minnesota, your PIP coverage applies to:

    • you (the policyholder)
    • your spouse and children
    • any relative living in your home, as long as they do not have a car insurance policy of their own, and
    • anyone using your car (with permission) if they don't have coverage of their own.

    What Losses Are Covered?

    After a car accident, PIP pays your (or another covered person's):

    • medical bills
    • lost wages
    • "replacement services" (such as the cost of paying for housecleaning/chores you can't perform because of your car accident injuries), and
    • funeral expenses up to $2,000 if the car accident results in a covered person's death.

    $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.

    Stepping Outside "No Fault" In Minnesota

    In order to 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):

    • you must have incurred at least $4,000 in reasonable medical expenses because of the accident, and/or
    • you must have suffered 60 days of disability, permanent injury, or permanent disfigurement because of the accident.

    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.

    No-fault/PIP also does not apply to a motorcyclist's injuries after an accident in Minnesota.

    What's the Deadline for Filing a No-Fault/PIP Claim In Minnesota?

    A no-fault/PIP claim must be filed within six months of the car accident in Minnesota. 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."

    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.

    Minimum Car Insurance Coverage Requirements in Minnesota

    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:

    • $40,000 per person, per accident in no-fault/PIP coverage ($20,000 for medical costs and $20,000 for non-medical costs, like lost wages and replacement services)
    • $30,000 liability coverage, per person for bodily injuries (after an accident caused by you or a driver covered under your policy)
    • $60,000 liability coverage per accident for bodily injuries (if more than one person is injured after an accident caused by you or a driver covered under your policy)
    • $10,000 liability coverage per accident for property damage (after an accident caused by you or a driver covered under your policy)
    • $25,000 in uninsured motorist coverage, per person for injuries
    • $50,000 in uninsured motorist coverage per accident for injuries (if more than one person is injured)
    • $25,000 in underinsured motorist coverage, per person for injuries
    • $50,000 in underinsured motorist coverage, per accident for injuries (if more than one person is injured)

    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.

    Get More Information and Help

    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.

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