NEW LAW TAKES EFFECT TO STOP UNINSURED DRIVERS
Starting January 1, 2016, the State of Minnesota will require people to show proof of insurance before registering a car. Previously, to register a vehicle in MN, you only had to say you had insurance. Now you’ll have to show proof before you can register your car.
This new law is designed to reduce the number of uninsured drivers in MN. According to the Insurance Research Council, an industry group, 10.8 percent of Minnesota drivers were uninsured in 2012. Other states have far higher percentages of drivers without insurance; for example, the institute estimated that more than a quarter of Oklahoma drivers didn’t have insurance.
There is also a MN state law requiring automobile drivers to show proof of insurance upon request by a police officer, for example if you are pulled over for any reason or cause an accident. Interestingly, another law was passed recently that allows proof of insurance to be shown electronically, e.g. on your smartphone, rather than having to show a piece of paper. Unfortunately, the police often don’t do anything to verify that a person’s auto insurance is valid, and many car accidents occur every year where the other driver has no insurance in MN.
Uninsured drivers are a problem for everyone in Minnesota. When an uninsured driver causes an auto accident, someone else has to pay for the damage. It would be nice if the uninsured driver would be held responsible for the damage from the crash, but that is rarely the case. It makes everyone else’s insurance rates go up to compensate, and it makes tax rates go up when the state has to pay medical bills that should have been paid by the uninsured driver’s insurance. Sadly, the requirement of auto insurance is not vigorously enforced. The first problem is that police and State Patrol officers do not consistently require drivers to show proof of insurance when they pull someone over and, as mentioned, often don’t verify that the insurance is valid. Even worse, when our lawyers get a case involving an uninsured driver, we rarely see any significant prosecution or consequence to the uninsured driver.
If you are in a car accident caused by an uninsured driver, your insurance will pay for the damage to your car if you have purchased collision coverage – but if you don’t have collision coverage you are probably out of luck on the car damage. However, even if you don’t have full coverage, your auto insurance will still pay some of your medical bills through your No-Fault coverage and uninsured motorist coverage, which comes with every auto policy in Minnesota. When you call our office, one of our experienced car accident lawyers will provide you with a free consultation and explain these insurance issues to you. Our attorneys will protect your rights and make sure you get the compensation you are entitled to.