Minnesota is a pretty big state—the 12th largest by land area—and yet almost 60% of its entire populations is clustered in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area. Fortunately, people in the Twin Cities are so friendly. And the rest of the folks have lots of space to spread out.
Auto insurance rates are higher if you live in the state’s crowded spot; more people and more traffic equal more accidents, which equals more claims. Still, Minnesota’s average premium is fairly middle-of-the-road for the country, no pun intended. But there are some effective ways to reduce what you pay, and many of them are covered over the course of this page.
Most importantly, though, you have to comparison shop to find the best policy at the best price. SmartFinancial’s carrier-neutral information makes it really fast and easy to do this. Give it a try—it’s free, no strings attached!
Choosing an insurance provider can be overwhelming, but we’ve rounded up the best carriers in Minnesota below (see the full list).
These ratings are based on customer satisfaction scores in key areas, which means you’ll have good luck choosing someone from the list. Of course, you should always shop around and compare rates, available discounts, and carrier reviews before making a decision.
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All Minnesota motorists are required to carry car insurance; we’ll get to the minimum coverage requirements soon. This protects you and every driver on the road from incurring burdensome—even potentially devastating—out-of-pocket expenses following an accident. And, not to sound like glass-half-empty kind of people, but accidents do happen. You hope for the best, but should always be prepared for the unfortunate with good coverage.
Minnesota Driving Safety
Fatal motor vehicle collisions in Minnesota are again on the rise. The top four contributing factors in the state’s high number of fatal crashes are speed, distractions, impaired driving, and failure to properly use seat belts. Behaviors that can help prevent crashes are never driving drunk, slowing down, buckling up, and paying attention to the road and other drivers.
Let’s look at some unfortunate safety statistics for Minnesota:
If you want to minimize the damage your car and driving do to the environment, Mark Snyder at the Minnesota Office of Environmental Assistance recommends reducing the time your engine runs, slowing down, carpooling or biking, buying recycled tires and other car parts, maintaining your car properly, and making fuel-efficient choices when buying new cars. Plus, these choices may help you qualify for green driver discounts.
Minnesota offers two incentives involving the use of idle-reduction technology. The first is a weight credit that allows vehicles equipped with idle- and emissions-reduction technology to exceed axle weight and gross vehicle weight limits by up to 550 lbs. to compensate for the extra weight of having such technology. The other incentive is a Small Business Environmental Improvement Loan Program to help support small businesses in their efforts to go green.
Customers who purchase new propane vehicles or convert their existing vehicle to a propane vehicle may qualify for a rebate from the Minnesota Propane Association. To qualify for this money-back offer, the vehicle must be registered in Minnesota and converted using systems certified by the EPA.
Drivers of green vehicles may qualify for various insurance discounts or federal tax credits. Drivers of hybrid vehicles, economy cars, alternative fuel vehicles, and other eco-friendly vehicles should check with their insurance carrier and the IRS to see what discounts and tax breaks may apply.
Vehicles licensed in Minnesota are required to carry liability, personal injury protection (PIP), uninsured motorist, and underinsured motorist coverage.
Motorists must maintain $30,000 in bodily injury liability for injuries to one person and $60,000 for injuries to two or more people per accident. Also, $10,000 in property damage liability is required to cover physical damage to the other driver’s vehicle or for damage to property. Minnesota drivers are also required to carry $40,000 in personal injury protection.
Additionally, uninsured motorist coverage in the amount of $25,000 for injuries to one person and $50,000 for injuries to two or more people and underinsured motorist coverage in the amount of $25,000 for injuries to one person and $50,000 for injuries to two or more people are required by law.
Maximum payment for serious injury or death to a single person
Maximum payment for serious injury or death to more than one person
Maximum payment for all damaged property in an accident caused by you
While it may seem like a poor use of your hard-earned money to add optional coverages to your policy, you’ll be happy to have the extra financial protection if you’re involved in a serious accident. Plus, most financial lenders require collision and comprehensive coverage, and some may require more than that. Check with your lender before taking out a new insurance policy to make sure you’re properly covered. If you don’t have adequate protection, your lender can buy insurance on your behalf, and this will cost a lot more than getting it on your own.
If you’re worried about affording optional coverages, read our article 12 Things You can Do to Lower Your Auto Insurance Premium to find ways to offset the cost of the add-ons.
*This list of car insurance carriers is based on the ratings for the Central region in the J.D. Power 2016 U.S. Auto Insurance Study. The JD Power study measures customer faction in five key areas: customer/company interaction, billing and payment, claims, pricing, and policy offerings. USAA is a military-only option and is therefore not including in the above rankings.
In Minnesota, all children under the age of 8 years must ride in an approved child restraint seat until they reach 4’9″ or taller. Infants weighing less than 20 pounds who’ve not yet reached 1 year of age must ride in a rear-facing car seat, and a forward-facing seat is required for ages 1 to 4. This law applies to all seating positions and to all vehicles equipped with factory-installed seat belts.
Failure to follow the state’s child safety seat law will result in a petty misdemeanor fine of $50. Law enforcement can legally stop a vehicle if they suspect a car seat is not being used.
Exceptions to Minnesota’s law include children riding in emergency medical vehicles, vehicles for hire, or with a peace officer on duty. Children who’ve been certified by a licensed physician as having any disability, medical or otherwise, that makes restraint use inadvisable are also exempt, as are passengers in school buses with a GVWR of over 10,000 pounds.
Although Minnesota has no laws regarding leaving children unattended in a motor vehicle, state statutes allow for charges of child neglect or endangerment if the lack of adult supervision places a child in any situation that is likely to cause harm to the child.
Minneapolis Police spokesman John Elder says legal charges are at the discretion of the officer. “If the officer feels the child is in danger, he can take the child and put them in protective custody.”
There are many risks associated with leaving young children unattended in vehicles, including temperature-related injury and death, kidnapping, and accidental injury. Children should never be left alone inside a parked car for even a few minutes.
Yes, it is. Because insurance carriers believe people with lower credit scores are more likely file a claim, they typically charge more for a poor credit history. Your credit is only one factor used in determining your insurance premium, but it can have a significant impact on your rates.
Yes. There are a variety of good-driver discounts available through insurance carriers, and these can substantially reduce the cost of your auto insurance. It pays to be a responsible and safe motorist in Minnesota.
Other discounts Minnesota drivers may qualify for include:
Yes, Minnesota drivers can provide proof of auto insurance by showing law enforcement officers their insurance information on a cell phone or other electronic mobile device.
If you fail to maintain the state’s required level of insurance coverage on your vehicle, you may be required to obtain new insurance and pay a fine to reinstate your driving privileges. This is the case if your insurance is canceled, if you fail to renew, or if you forget to pay your premium.
Minnesota law requires all auto insurance policies to provide a minimum of $35,000 coverage for damage to and loss of use of a rental car. This amount is without a deductible. Drivers renting a car in Minnesota must be informed of this coverage.
It’s against the law to drive in Minnesota at the following BAC percentages:
.08%+ at 21 years old or older
.04%+ for commercial vehicle drivers
.02%+ at under 21 years old
Any amount of detectable alcohol in a person under age 21 will result in a DWI charge.
Minnesota’s “implied consent” law requires you to submit to a blood, breath, or urine test if you’re arrested for DWI. Refusal to take one of these tests will not save you from arrest; law enforcement officers can arrest anyone suspected of driving while impaired, and test refusal will result in a 1-year revocation of your license.
You can be charged with a felony in Minnesota if you’re arrested for your fourth DWI within 10 years, if you’ve previously been convicted of a felony DWI, or if you have a prior felony conviction for a DWI-related criminal injury or vehicular manslaughter.
Penalties for a DWI depend on whether any injuries or deaths occur and whether or not you’ve been convicted of impaired driving in the past. Penalties range from suspension of your driver’s license to 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine.
Minnesota state law gives people age 55 and older a 10% discount on their auto insurance for 3 years after completing an approved defensive driving course. But people of all ages may qualify for discounts through their insurance carrier for completing one of these courses. For more information on defensive driving courses, visit the Minnesota Safety Council’s website.
Many factors affect your insurance premium, such as age and gender, added coverages, mileage, location, driving record, discounts, deductibles, and more. Your credit history can also play a role. Some of these things are out of your control, but maintaining a clean driving record, asking for all available discounts, and improving your credit score can reduce the cost of your car insurance. And, your savings over the course of a year can be huge if you shop around for the lowest quote!
Yes. Both uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage is required in Minnesota. This type of insurance protects you in the event of an accident where the other party is at fault and is uninsured or doesn’t carry enough insurance. State minimum requirements for uninsured coverage are in the amounts of $25,000 for injuries to one person and $50,000 for injuries to two or more people per accident; state minimum requirements for underinsured motorist coverage are in the same amounts.
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