Making Sure You Meet the Auto Insurance Requirements in Minnesota
Driving a motor vehicle is a big responsibility. Every time you get behind the wheel of the car, you are taking a risk of getting into an accident. For that reason, Minnesota requires that you carry a minimum amount of vehicle insurance. Specifically, you need to get liability, personal injury protection, underinsured motorist and uninsured motorist coverage. The failure to meet the standards laid out could result in penalties and a criminal record.
Liability Minimums to Consider
You are required to get liability coverage in Minnesota. The law states that you need to get $30,000 to protect against injuries that happen to one person, $60,000 for injuries that apply to all persons in an accident, and $10,000 in protection to take care of property damage. This will kick in if it is determined that you are at fault in an accident. Keep in mind that this is the minimum amount of coverage that you need to get. A major accident could cause more property damage and hospital bills than the minimum amount of insurance that you have. You might want to get more coverage, especially if you have assets that someone else might want to sue for.
Personal Injury Protection Minimums
The state requires that you get $40,000 in personal injury protection for each person in an accident, $20,000 in coverage to take care of medical expenses, and $20,000 to go towards other expenses that might be incurred after an accident, such as lost wages. This will kick in regardless of who is at fault.
Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist
Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage are actually two separate entities, but they are quite similar in Minnesota. For both of these types, you will need to obtain $25,000 to go towards injuries to one person, and $50,000 of coverage for injuries that happen to two or more people. If you are in an accident with someone who does not have a policy, or who does not have enough coverage, this will kick in after your personal injury protection has been used up.
Other Products to Consider
Although it is not required by the state, you may wish to obtain collision and comprehensive add-ons. If you have a car loan, your lender will probably require that you get this. Collision will protect your vehicle if you hit another car, a tree, or anything else. Comprehensive will protect you if something happens to your car while you are not driving it, such as fire, theft, or a tree falling on your car. Even if you don't have an auto loan, you may want to consider this option if you have a newer car that still has a lot of value. If your car is twenty-five years old and is worth $1,000, this option may not be cost effective, because you will only be covered up to the total value of your car.
Penalties for Not Being Insured
In order to drive legally, you should meet the standards listed above, and you are also required to carry proof of insurance in your vehicle all of the time. If you get into an accident or get pulled over for any type of moving violation, a police officer will probably ask to see your insurance information. If you aren't able to show it, or if you don't have a policy, you can face penalties for not being insured. It is a misdemeanor to not be able to show proof of your policy in your vehicle. You may have to pay a fine that ranges from between $250 and $1000, and you also might have to spend up to 90 days in jail. Your license could be suspended or revoked. The second time you are caught driving while uninsured in a period of 10 years is considered a gross misdemeanor.
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