Updated: Jan 6, 2021
2 years ago you were in an accident. Didn't worry too much about it, your insurance company handled everything and you figured you were good to go, vehicle fixed - life moved on. Today, you swing in to our office pricing out new insurance. When we ask you that dreaded question... "Do you have any tickets, accidents or violations on your record?" You tell us yes, that you had an accident 2 years ago. (Thank you, by the way for the honesty.) Then we are going to ask you if it's at fault or not at fault. And that's when you give us that look...
And you say "Minnesota is a no-fault state. So, not at fault, duh." Ok, no one really says "duh", but it's silently implied.
There might be a misconception that insurance agents enjoy giving bad news, when in fact we dread it. Believe me when I say it's never something we like to do. We are consumers, just like you. We have to pay our insurance premiums, just like you. We may be agents, but all the same laws and rules apply to us. So, when we have to give the bad news, keep in mind, we've all been there on the receiving end, too. We know the feeling. So when I say to you that no, that is not fact and start the insurance lingo explanation, I watch your eyes go blank. We get it. We've been there.
Here's the deal, Folks. Yes, Minnesota is a no-fault state. But as much as most of us wish that meant no one was ever at fault for an accident, that's not at all what it means. Minnesota's no fault law applies to your personal injury protection or PIP, as you may hear us insurance lingo suave' agents says. Your personal injury protection is part of your liability coverage on your auto insurance. Liability is the minimum insurance coverage the state of Minnesota requires you to have on your vehicle to be legal to drive it. I'll get into legal limits, full coverage, etc in a later blog. Okay, now that I've cleared the muddy waters a bit, let's explain that a little better.
Let's say in that accident you had 2 years ago, you were injured and another person in the other vehicle was injured. The Minnesota no-fault law says that regardless of who is at fault for the accident, you may be entitled to some payouts for medical expenses and some for loss of work from your own insurance policy. It does not say that if you ran that red light and t-boned someone coming out of the Walmart parking lot that you aren't going to be at fault. It simply says that regardless of who is at fault, any injured person may be eligible to receive some medical expenses and some loss of wages from their own policy.
That includes any passengers in said vehicles. Yes, you read me right. So, if I'm riding shotgun in your truck and you t-boned that little 1 person looking smart car coming out of Denny's and I injured my neck, guess what? I may be eligible to receive some medical expenses and some loss of wages from my own auto policy. It doesn't matter who's at fault in that accident in regards to my personal injury protection.
Now that I made the waters a nice clear pretty blue color... let me throw some dirt in and muddy it back up for you. There may be circumstances involved in an accident that change where coverage is pulled from. I use the above as examples only! Always talk to your agent in the event of any auto accident, injuries or not. This blog is meant to only help clarify a misconception. The bottom line is the Minnesota no-fault law does not mean you are not at fault for every accident you are in, it simply means there may be benefits available for certain things regarding your personal injury protection. Crystal clear, right?