Although it has its own auto insurance laws, the state of North Dakota is not all that different from most other no-fault states when it comes to the types of insurance that is required and the minimum amounts of coverage that must be obtained. Like every other no-fault state the core of North Dakota’s car insurance laws are based on certain types of required coverage, such as personal injury protection. Personal injury protection is a type of coverage required by every state that uses a no-fault insurance system and even a few that operate under the more common at-fault, or tort, auto insurance systems. Personal injury protection functions to financially protect the policy holder and passengers from injuries sustained in a car accident. No matter who is at fault, if a driver has personal injury protection and they or one of their passengers are injured in an accident the personal injury protection will cover their medical bills up to the amount of coverage purchased by the policy holder. The state of North Dakota requires that every vehicle registered with the North Dakota Department of Motor Vehicles be covered with at least $30,000 in personal injury protection. As is common with other no-fault states, North Dakota also requires that residents purchase uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage for their car insurance policies as well. Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage typically protects a policy holder and passengers from injuries sustained in an accident with an uninsured and underinsured motorist. If a driver does not have uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage and is involved in an accident caused by a driver without insurance they risk having to pay for their injuries out of pocket even though the accident was not their fault. North Dakota car insurance law stipulates that every vehicle should have a minimum of $25,000 in per person bodily injury uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage and $50,000 in per accident bodily injury uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage.
Every time a car insurance policy is purchased in North Dakota the insurance company that wrote the policy is required to send their new customer proof of insurance in the form of an insurance ID card. According to state law, this insurance ID card should be kept in the insured vehicle at all times and should be readily presentable to a law enforcement officer upon request. The insurance ID coverage is the main form of proof of insurance carried by most North Dakota residents and it can often mean the difference between getting hit with severe penalties for driving without insurance or not being penalized at all. A driver that is found to be driving without proof of insurance will most likely receive a citation and may face more penalties if they cannot provide proof of insurance by the time their court date comes around. Drivers that are found to be guilty of driving without insurance in North Dakota will be punished with a fine up to $150 and could have as many as 12 points placed on their driving record. The accumulation of too many points will result in the suspension of their license. A subsequent offense within a period of 18 months will be punished with up to a $300 fine and the addition of at least 6, but no more than 12, points to the driver’s license. Drivers that are caught driving without car insurance multiple times within an 18 month period will also be required to maintain an SR-22 as proof of insurance for a period of up to 3 years. Failing to maintain an up to date SR-22 at any time during the designated period will result in the immediate suspension of the driver’s license. Drivers caught without car insurance in North Dakota will also often have their vehicle’s registration suspended until such a time when they are able to provide adequate proof of insurance and pay any necessary reinstatement fees.
Despite the fact that no-fault insurance systems are meant to reduce the amount of lawsuits over car insurance related matters the state of North Dakota still allows fault to be placed on a driver responsible for an accident and if the cost of the accident exceeds $2,500 for any other driver involved they will have the legal right to sue the at-fault driver for any excessive costs. In many cases a driver’s insurance company will pay out benefits relating to personal injury protection or uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage and then attempt to recoup their money from the at-fault driver by taking them to court. A no-fault car insurance system like the one ran in North Dakota does not mean that fault is not placed on a driver for an accident; it just means that fault does not have to be established in order for an insurance company to provide benefits to their policy holders.