What to Do if You’re in a Car Accident Without Insurance But Not at Fault in Minnesota

When not at fault, Minnesota's complex systems for filing claims makes it tricky to receive compensation after an accident without insurance. However, it's not impossible.
Written by Drew Waterstreet
Reviewed by Brenna Swanston
Minnesota uses a modified comparative negligence system to assess claim payouts for damage to vehicles and property in an accident. This means you can file a claim against the at-fault driver if you are found less than 50% at fault—even without insurance. But based on Minnesota’s no-fault law, you may be paying out of pocket for medical expenses if you don’t have personal injury protection (PIP).
We understand that is a lot to take in, especially in an already stressful situation. But don’t panic, the trusted
car insurance
broker app
is here to hold your hand the entire time. 
We’ll elaborate on what to do in this tricky situation, how Minnesota processes accident claims, what options you have for claiming damages without insurance, and how to get cheap
Minnesota car insurance
in a no-fault system!

What to do if you’re in a car accident without insurance in Minnesota and not at fault

Driving without car insurance in Minnesota is illegal. But you’ll only make matters worse (legally and financially) if you act irrationally at the scene of a car accident without insurance. So take a deep breath and follow these steps.
The most important thing you can do is stay at the crash scene. We get that leaving may be your first instinct without insurance, but letting panic overcome your decision-making could get you convicted of a hit-and-run charge.
Even minor hit-and-run property damage can fetch you a $100 fine and up to 90 days in jail. But more severe hit-and-runs involving injuries can cost you upwards of $10,000 and a 15-year maximum prison sentence. So based on the consequences, it’s best to let the claim processing system work it out (which we’ll cover next).
Once you’ve made the responsible decision to stay, you do have the legal right to park your car in a safe location (while staying on the scene) if the result of a collision puts you or others in danger.
Then, it is your legal responsibility to assess the health of yourself, your passengers, and other parties involved. Failure to provide necessary help to others could net you a hit-and-run charge even if you do stay on the scene.
You will then call 9-1-1 (in most cases—continue reading for exceptions) so police can review the incident and medical professionals can assist injured parties.
While you wait for emergency services to arrive, it’s time to start documenting. Here is a checklist of things you need to accomplish in the aftermath of an accident:
  • Don’t apologize. We understand that “Minnesota nice” is a real thing, but apologizing can be used against you when determining liability. Instead, only engage in the necessary conversations described next.
  • Obtain information from the other involved parties. Collect information such as name, address, phone number, vehicle type, registration, and insurance provider and policy number. This will only make your claim more accurate.
  • Gather information from witnesses. Get names, contact information, and a brief description of what the witnesses observed. This can help confirm you were not at fault.
  • Take as many pictures as possible. Photos of the accident scene and all vehicles involved are crucial to determining fault—the more, the merrier!
  • Get the police report. Gather the on-scene officer's name, department name, and badge number so you can obtain the official police report once it is published.
This documentation process is even more critical for drivers without insurance. That may sound counterintuitive, but let us explain.
Under the modified comparative negligence system, you can still file a claim against the at-fault driver for any vehicle repairs (through their property damage liability) and possibly even for medical bills (through their bodily injury liability coverage, since you don’t have personal injury protection) resulting from the crash if they are more than 50% liable—even if you don’t have insurance.
So if you are ruled not at fault, you may be off the hook for some financial penalties. However, you still will be facing the legal consequences for operating a vehicle without insurance and any leftover financial obligations not credited to the at-fault party’s insurance (
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Who decides fault in a car accident in Minnesota?

Fault is determined through a collaboration between police officers and insurance companies after reviewing the circumstances of the collision and the testimonies from drivers and witnesses. Remember, photographs can go a long way toward demonstrating that you were not at fault and not financially responsible for the other driver’s expenses.

Do you need to report a car accident in Minnesota? 

If there are no injuries and there is less than $1,000 in damages to vehicles, you don’t have to report the car accident to the police. Instead, these minor incidents can simply be worked out between the involved parties and their insurance companies.
But if either of these conditions is not met, you must call 9-1-1 and file a crash report. For insurance purposes, the police crash report can be accessed for three weeks after the accident by filling out a
Crash Record Request Form
and paying a $5 fee. Only involved parties (or their legal representative or next of kin, where applicable) can view these crash records.

What if you’re at fault?

Because Minnesota is a
modified comparative negligence state
, you’ll be financially responsible for your portion of the other driver’s damages if you are deemed more than 50% negligent for the accident. If you don’t have insurance, the not-at-fault driver can file a lawsuit against you to recover these damages. 
Example: In Minnesota, if you are assigned 60% of the blame, you are responsible for paying up to 60% of the other party’s damages. On the other hand, even though they were assigned 40% fault, they won’t owe any money to you, since their level of fault is less than 50%.
So, in this case, you’ll be on your own to pay your expenses out of pocket without insurance. (Not to mention the additional cost of being sued by the other party to recover their damages.)

What if you’re hit by an uninsured driver in Minnesota?

What if the other driver doesn’t have insurance, but you do? Well, Minnesota’s
minimum insurance requirements
account for this exact scenario. Let us explain.
No matter who caused the accident, you will first use
personal injury protection (PIP)
to cover injury-related expenses under Minnesota’s
no-fault system
. Once this is exhausted, you obviously won’t be able to tap into the uninsured driver's bodily injury insurance (since they don’t have it). However, Minnesota requires all insurance policies to include
underinsured/uninsured motorist
(UM/UIM) coverage for just this reason. 
If the uninsured driver is deemed over 50% at fault, your UM/UIM will pay for any additional medical expenses up to the limit of your policy. Once your UM/UIM coverage is exhausted, you may be able to use your health insurance as a supplement or sue the other driver for the remaining medical expenses if they were deemed at fault.
Now for property damage. If an uninsured driver hits you and you have
collision coverage
, your insurance carrier will pay up to the
actual cash value (ACV)
of your vehicle minus the
collision deductible
. However, collision coverage is optional, and if you don’t have it, you will need to repair your car out-of-pocket or pursue legal action against the other driver.
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Penalties for driving without insurance in Minnesota

As mentioned earlier,
driving without insurance
in Minnesota is illegal. Here are the direct penalties you will be facing if you are unable to provide
proof of insurance
at the scene of an accident or when pulled over by law enforcement:
  • License and registration potentially being revoked
  • License and registration reinstatement fees of $30
  • Fine of at least $200

Minimum required car insurance in Minnesota

Minnesota’s no-fault system is excellent for processing claims quickly, but it does require drivers to hold a greater amount of coverage. Here is an example of an insurance policy that meets the legal minimum:

Driving without insurance can increase premiums

Being caught driving without insurance can lead to your license and registration being temporarily revoked. Oftentimes, the only way to get it back is through an
SR-22 certificate
. This certificate validates that you have an insurance policy that meets the required minimum coverages, as stated above. 
Unfortunately, drivers with an SR-22 have difficulty finding an affordable insurance premium. The certificate says that you have a high appetite for risk by driving without insurance. These aren’t the driving profiles insurance providers like to give their best rates to—understandably so.

How to find cheap car insurance in Minnesota

Unfortunately, the
no-fault system
requires more coverage to process claims efficiently, which inherently raises
insurance premiums for Minnesota drivers
But you’re not just any old Minnesota driver, you’re a Minnesota driver with
on your side! Our innovative software is here to help you pinpoint the most affordable quote from over 55 top providers in less than a minute. 
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