Driving without insurance in Minnesota

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According to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, nearly 5 million drivers held Minnesota drivers licenses in 2019. The same year, more than 80,000 crashes occurred on Minnesota roads, resulting in 364 deaths and over 27,000 injured people. Minnesota law requires automobile owners to purchase minimum levels of liability, personal injury protection and uninsured and underinsured motorist coverages. Driving without insurance can lead to serious penalties, which can include time in jail, a costly fine and loss of your driving privileges.

Minimum insurance required in Minnesota

According to the Minnesota Department of Commerce, all Minnesota drivers are required to carry certain minimum levels of car insurance, including:

  • Personal injury protection (PIP): $20,000 for bodily injuries and $20,000 for non-medical expenses such as lost income and services rendered while injured parties recuperate.
  • Bodily injury liability: $30,000 to cover one person’s injuries and $60,000 for the injuries of more than one person.
  • Personal property liability: $10,000 to cover damages to another driver’s automobile or other property.
  • Uninsured motorist: $25,000 to cover one person’s injuries and $50,000 for the injuries of more than one person.
  • Underinsured motorist: $25,000 to cover one person’s injuries and $50,000 for the injuries of more than one person.

Penalties for driving without insurance in Minnesota

Minnesota statutes section 169.797 explains the penalties of driving without insurance in Minnesota. Driving without insurance in Minnesota is a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of $200 to $1,000 and up to 90 days in jail. If you committed another crime during the incident, such as driving while intoxicated, the court can impose consecutive sentences. A conviction may depend on whether you own the uninsured vehicle. If convicted, you could also lose your driving privileges. Anything that may classify you as a high-risk driver could also lead to insurance rate increases as well.

If you own the vehicle and have insurance

If you have insurance but were not able to provide proof to law enforcement, you can send proof of insurance to the court. You must send proof of insurance by mail before the date and time of your first scheduled court appearance or present it in person during the appearance. If you provide adequate proof of insurance within the prescribed period, the court will not convict you of the offense.

If you do not own the vehicle

If you received a citation while driving another person’s car, you must mail proof of insurance to the court, or produce it at the time and date of your first court appearance. Or you can submit the name and address of the vehicle’s owner to the court before or during your first court appearance. The court will notify the appropriate law enforcement agency, which will contact the automobile’s owner to demand proof of insurance. Once the owner receives the notice, they have 10 days to mail proof of insurance to the address provided in the notice. If they fail to reply, law enforcement can charge them with a misdemeanor. If the driver used the vehicle without permission, law enforcement may decide not to charge the owner with an offense.

Drivers license suspension and vehicle registration revocation

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety’s commissioner has the authority to review your accident and driving history and revoke your vehicle registration and suspend your driver’s license without a hearing. When you are convicted of driving without insurance, the commissioner may suspend your license for up to 12 months. And if you were driving your own vehicle, the commissioner may also revoke its registration for up to 12 months.

At the end of the revocation period, you must submit a certificate of insurance to the commissioner before either can be reinstated. Only an authorized employee of your insurance carrier, not an insurance agent, can submit the certificate of insurance.

Upon receipt of the certificate, the commissioner will determine any further requirements to reinstate your license or registration. The commissioner may require you to submit certificates of insurance for all your vehicles and may require a period of noncancelable coverage, up to one year.

If the commissioner receives notification that a Minnesota resident’s license has been suspended or vehicle registration has been revoked by another state due to an accident or driving without insurance, the commissioner can suspend the resident’s Minnesota driver’s license and revoke the Minnesota vehicle registration. If a non-resident is cited for driving without insurance in Minnesota, the commissioner will notify the driver’s home state. The commissioner also has the power to suspend the Minnesota driving privileges of non-resident offenders.

Getting into an accident without insurance

Driving without insurance in Minnesota can lead to serious consequences. But if you cause an accident that kills or seriously injures other people, law enforcement can charge you with a gross misdemeanor. The penalty for a gross misdemeanor conviction can include up to one year in jail, a fine of up to $3,000 or both. And remember, Minnesota law enables the court to impose consecutive sentences. So, if you cause an injury accident while driving uninsured, you could be convicted of a misdemeanor and gross misdemeanor for the same incident.

Frequently asked questions

What if you provide false insurance information?

The penalties prescribed in Minnesota statutes section 169.797 for driving without insurance also apply if you falsely claim to have insurance when registering a vehicle. These penalties can include a fine, jail time, suspension of your driver’s license and revocation of your car’s registration.

How much is car insurance in Minnesota?

According to quoted premiums from Quadrant Information Services, Minnesotans pay an average annual auto insurance premium of $537 for basic coverage and $1,643 for full coverage. Nationally, automobile owners pay an average annual car insurance premium of $565 for minimum coverage and $1,674 for full coverage, slightly less than Minnesotans. However, these average rates do not reflect the premium you will pay. For the best estimate, request insurance quotes from several providers.

Is Minnesota a no-fault state?

Yes. Minnesota residents and nonresidents must carry personal injury protection coverage if their vehicle is registered in Minnesota or is garaged in Minnesota most of the time. If one vehicle of a nonresident is required to carry PIP coverage in Minnesota, they must also purchase the coverage for any other owned vehicles they drive in the state.

Do I have to provide proof of insurance when registering a vehicle in Minnesota?

Yes. When registering an automobile, Minnesota law requires you to submit the name of your insurer, your policy number and its expiration date. And if you falsely claim to have insurance, you could face a fine and jail time, along with loss of your driving privileges and revocation of your vehicle’s registration for up to 12 months.

Written by
Michael Evans
Personal Finance Contributor
Michael Evans has worked in numerous industries, including education, finance, government, insurance and journalism. He began writing professionally while working for the world's first online mortgage brokerage in San Francisco, California. His writings have appeared in print and online publications, including Fox Business, International Living, Motley Fool and Yahoo Finance. Michael has contributed to Bankrate since 2013. He and his family divide their time between residences in Northern California and Colombia. When Michael is not writing, he enjoys working in his photography business and playing with his cat, Cyndi Lou.
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