When driving a State of North Dakota registered vehicle, insurance is required. North Dakota is a no-fault car insurance state. This means each driver is covered under his or her own policy regardless of who is at fault for an accident. North Dakota minimum car insurance requirements are:
Auto insurance policy with limits of at least 25/50/25 – meaning:
- Liability coverage
- $25,000 of bodily injury to another person
- $50,000 of bodily injuries to all other persons
- $25,000 of injury to or destruction of property of others in any one accident
- Other required coverage
- $25,000 per person, or $50,000 per accident, of uninsured motorist coverage
- Underinsured motorist coverage equal to uninsured motorist coverage
- $30,000 of personal injury protection (Note: Some or all of this may be covered by an inclusive health insurance policy)
Drivers also have the option to purchase collision, comprehensive, towing, death and dismemberment, or GAP coverage. However, these types of coverage are not required by law.
Alternative Options to Insurance:
Self-insurance certificates are available in North Dakota. Those seeking to qualify as self-insurers must:
- Show proof of one or more motor vehicles registered in their name.
- Demonstrate that appropriate measures are in place to administer all claims, benefits, and obligations in a timely and efficient manner.
- Present evidence of necessary finances or deposits to pay basic personal injury protection and liability benefits.
- Submit an application with signed undertaking to:
600 East Boulevard Avenue, Dept. 401
Bismarck, ND 58505
In addition, the insurance commissioner may require self-insurers to maintain a deposit or bond to ensure all obligations are met.
Eligible residents who cannot secure insurance through traditional outlets due to a poor driving record or underwriting reasons can also seek coverage under the North Dakota Automobile Insurance Plan.
Required Proof of Insurance in North Dakota
Insurance card provided by insurance company including:
- Name of insurance company
- Insurance policy number
- Effective date/expiration date of policy
- Accurate description of year, make/model of registered vehicle
- Name of insured driver
Self-Insurance certificates are issued by the state and must include:
- Certificate number
- Effective date of certificate
- Accurate description of year, make/model of registered vehicle
- Name of driver covered by certificate
- Certificate of coverage under the North Dakota Automobile Insurance Plan
Office of the Insurance Commissioner – Adam Hamm
North Dakota Insurance Department
State Capitol, fifth floor
600 E. Boulevard Ave.
Bismarck, ND 58505-0320
Obtaining a Driver’s License
At 14, residents can obtain an instructional permit after meeting the following requirements:
- Proof of identification.
- Completion of eyesight test.
- Completion of a written exam to test your knowledge of driving laws and traffic signs. There is a $5 fee for this exam and a $10 fee for issuance of an instructional permit.
- All applicants under the age of 18 must have the signature of a parent or guardian.
An instructional permit is valid for up to one year and allows residents to legally practice driving when accompanied by a licensed individual over the age of 18 with at least three years of driving experience. Drivers with an instructional permit are also restricted to operating a vehicle owned by a parent or legal guardian or a dual-controlled driver education vehicle.
Once residents receive their instructional permit, they can enroll in a driver’s education program to prepare to pass the road test. Applicants must have their permit for at least 6 months prior to submitting to the road test and, if under 16, must show proof of having completed a driver’s education course. A driver’s education course will include thirty hours of classroom time and six hours of behind-the-wheel training.
A list of approved driving schools can be found on the North Dakota Department of Transportation website. Some secondary schools also offer driver training programs. These programs meet the state requirements and have licensed instructors.
In order to receive a driver’s license, residents must pass a road test demonstrating their ability to stay in the appropriate lane, give proper signals, parallel park, obey all traffic signs and traffic laws, and follow instructions. Those submitting to the road test must meet the following requirements:
- Must have permit for at least 6 months before submitting to the road test.
- If under 16, must obtain a certificate of completion from a driver’s education program.
- If under 16, must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
- No traffic violations within 6 months of applying for license.
- No conviction of alcohol/drug offense while holding permit.
Applicants are allowed to road test a vehicle that is not owned by a parent or legal guardian but must provide the vehicle themselves and submit it for an equipment inspection prior to the test. The road test requires an appointment and $5 fee.
If an applicant successfully completes the road test, with a $10 fee and a parent or guardian’s signature, they will be issued a restricted license. Drivers under the age of 16 are restricted to driving a vehicle own by a parent or guardian or a vehicle with dual controls. Drivers under 18 risk losing their license if they accumulate six or more points on their driving record or commit an alcohol-related offense. To regain their license, they will have to begin the entire process again, as if they had never had a license.
Applicants over the age of 18 must also pass the knowledge test, eyesight exam, and road test, but are not required to take a driver’s education course or have a parent’s signature. In addition, they will receive a North Dakota operator’s license, rather than a restricted license, upon successful completion of the road test.
Knowing the Rules of the Road
North Dakota uses a point system to keep track of traffic violations. For every offense a certain number of points are added to an individual’s driving record, depending on the severity of the violation, and getting too many points on your record can prevent you from getting the best car insurance rates in North Dakota. For example, failure to display a license plate is 1 point, illegally passing a school bus is 6 points, and fleeing from a police vehicle is 24 points. If an individual accumulates 12 or more points, their license will be suspended. Each point over 11 is equal to 7 days of license suspension. Drivers under 18 can lose their license if they accumulate 6 points.
North Dakota provides access to all motor vehicle rules and regulations online (http://www.legis.nd.gov/cencode/t39.html). Adhering to all these rules will ensure drivers do not run the risk of losing their license and that they qualify for the best possible car insurance rates:
- Alcoholic beverages: 39-08-18
- Cell phones – Use by minors: 39-08-24
- Child passenger restraints and penalties: 39-21-41.2
- Driving without proper insurance: 39-08-20
- Driving without proper registration: 39-04-37
- DUI – Impaired Driving:
- Minimum speed – Passing slow vehicles: 39-09-09
- Motorcycles – Operating on roadways: 39-10.2-03
- Motorcycles – Riding on motorcycles: 39-10.2-02
- Racing vehicles and reckless driving: 39-08-03
- Refusal to cooperate with officers – Penalty: 39-10-71
- Seat belt requirements and penalties: 39-21-41.1
- Speed zones – Reduction limitation: 39-09-07.1
- Speeding and maximum speed limits: 39-09-02
- Texting while driving – 39-08-23
- Unattended motor vehicle – Removal: 39-10-51
Please note, drivers can request a copy of their driving record through the North Dakota Department of Transportation.
Residents of North Dakota typically fall into one of three insurance coverage markets: the preferred, the standard, and the non-standard. Those who fall into the preferred market have an excellent driving record and are considered low-risk, qualifying them for the lowest auto insurance rates in North Dakota. Average risk drivers with a fair driving record typically fall within the standard market and qualify for mid-level rates, which are still some of the best car insurance rates in North Dakota. The highest premiums, compared to the average cost of car insurance in North Dakota, are assigned to the non-standard market. These drivers are usually less-experienced, have multiple tickets or accidents, or have at least one alcohol-related offense on their driving record. Drivers who do not qualify for insurance through a standard provider because of underwriting issues or a poor driving record may be eligible to receive coverage under the North Dakota Automobile Insurance Plan.
Know Your Rates
Auto insurance rates are calculated using a number of factors, some that can be controlled by the driver, some that cannot. Insurance companies will consider all of the licensed drivers in a household, such as teen drivers, permanent roommates, and spouses, when making their calculations. The base rate that is used to evaluate all drivers is then adjusted, according to several factors, including:
- Age. Statistics show that drivers under the age of 25 are more likely to be involved in an accident than 25 to 65 year olds. Due to this increased risk, insurance companies will charge households with younger drivers higher premiums. In addition, drivers over 65 may see their rates increase due to the fact that reduced reaction time contributes to a higher incidence of accidents in this age group.
- Gender. Men under the age of 25 will generally pay higher insurance rates than female drivers of the same age group due to the increased number of accidents they are involved in according to statistics.
- Driving record and claims history. Insurance companies will look at past accidents, tickets, and claims history in order to assess your risk level and corresponding rates.
- Marital status. Married drivers are considered lower-risk, since statistics show they are less likely to be involved in accidents. This qualifies them for low cost car insurance in North Dakota.
- Geographical area. Rates are also influenced by the area where an individual lives and the driving habits of others in that area. Those living in high crime neighborhoods or cities, heavily populated areas, or places with a higher incidence of traffic accidents are likely to see higher rates. All these factors increase the likelihood of damage to or loss of a vehicle.
- Make, model, and year of the vehicle. The general rule of thumb is that the more expensive and high-performance the vehicle, the more drivers will have to pay to insure them due to the higher cost of repairs and the increased likelihood of being stolen.
- Credit history. Statistical analyses have shown a correlation between an individual’s credit scores and insurance loss. This means that a driver’s history of bill payment, borrowing, and debt levels can influence the type of premium they pay.
Lower Your Rates
Shopping around regularly to compare premiums is the most important factor in securing the best rate. Talking about options with an agent can be particularly helpful in understanding what different plans do and do not cover. Going for the cheapest plan may not be the best course of action, so drivers should look for the best price for the best coverage and compare auto insurance rates in North Dakota. The overall value is what is most important.
Also, keep in mind, insurance companies may offer unadvertised discounts for teens with good grades, low mileage drivers, or individuals who have taken a defensive driving course. Paying close attention to your other insurance plans is also diligent. Some plans can overlap in coverage areas. For example, some health insurance plans may include personal injury protection that meets the state requirements for car insurance. Because of this, few North Dakota drivers actually purchase additional personal injury coverage. Do the legwork to ensure that you get the best car insurance in North Dakota to suit your needs.
If you have concerns about an insurance company or an agent, be sure to verify they are permitted to do business in North Dakota. You can do so by calling the Office of the Insurance Commissioner at 701-328-2440 or toll free at 800-247-0560. They can verify if any disciplinary actions have been taken against that company or individual.
Picking an Insurance Agent/Broker
An insurance agent represents a specific insurance company and sells policies for that company only for a commission. Insurance brokers, on the other hand, do not represent a company. Instead, they work with individual clients, assessing their clients’ needs and finding different insurance options to fit those needs. Like agents, however, they also receive a commission for the sales they make from different insurance companies. Either one can help you find the best car insurance rates in North Dakota.
You can research an agent or broker to make sure that they are properly licensed and do not have a history of complaints filed with the North Dakota Insurance Department. If there have been complaints or prior disciplinary actions, the insurance department can give you details of when and how many times this occurred.
If you have had issues with an insurance company, broker, or agent, you may file a complaint either online or by mail by providing the following:
- Completed complaint form.
- Full explanation of the situation.
- Copies of documents, such as letters you have written to the company or agent concerning the issue, your insurance policy, the claim you filed, and any other relevant information.
The insurance department will investigate the matter and get back to you if any formal disciplinary actions will take place.
After an Accident
If you are involved in an accident you should contact local law enforcement immediately. This could be the city police, the highway patrol, or county sheriff’s office depending on where the accident occurred. If you or someone else is injured, you may request emergency medical services at that time. Drivers should stay at the scene of the accident until released by a police officer. If no one is seriously injured, the drivers can exchange contact and insurance information while waiting for law enforcement to arrive. To expedite procedures, be prepared to give a thorough account of the events leading up to the collision to responding law enforcement members, and also take down information such as the names of the police officers and witnesses you spoke with for your own accident report. Fleeing the scene of an accident can lead to the suspension of your license, or if someone is injured or dies, possibly jail time.
You must also report the accident to your insurance agent or company claims line as soon as possible. They will lead you through the appropriate procedure for filing your claim according to the company’s policies. You will be required to provide a detailed description of the accident, any injuries, medical treatment, and employer information if your ability to work is influenced. In addition, a copy of the police report must be copied and sent to your insurance company.
North Dakota is a no-fault state, meaning that your own insurance coverage is primary, regardless of fault. If you want to make a claim against another individual, you need to contact the agent or company for that party to notify them. They will take down and file the claim information to start the process with their company.
Depending on the type of accident, different steps may need to be taken for filing your claim. For example, if the claim involves injury to you or your passengers, you will need to provide detailed information about the type and extent of injuries, details of the accident and information about the treating physician and medical records as evidence. If your vehicle is damaged and you have comprehensive or collision coverage, you will need to set up a time to meet with a claims adjuster who will examine the vehicle and prepare a damage estimate or submit an estimate from an approved repair facility.
Insurance for High-Risk Drivers
Some insurance companies specialize in covering high-risk drivers. These are called non-standard companies, and they typically have premiums that are much higher than the average cost of car insurance in North Dakota. However, drivers who have a lengthy history of accidents, tickets, or drunk driving may find themselves unable to obtain insurance even through these non-standard companies. In these instances, they can apply for coverage under the North Dakota Automobile Insurance Plan. An insurance agent or broker can help with this application process. In order to qualify, applicants must:
- Be a resident of North Dakota.
- Have a vehicle registered in North Dakota.
- Possess a current valid North Dakota driver’s license.
- Be free of debt from any previous auto insurance premiums in the last twelve months.
Individuals caught driving under the influence, under suspension, or without insurance, may be required to file a SR-22 Financial Responsibility form with the State Drivers License Division of the North Dakota Department of Transportation. The individual will have to show proof of future financial responsibility for a period of one year. This may require the individual to pay a cash deposit, cash bond, or possess necessary liability insurance. The driver’s insurance agent or broker will file this form, but typically only companies specializing in non-standard car insurance provide this type of service.
The North Dakota Insurance Department is a great resource for consumers shopping for car insurance. They can provide information about what insurance requirements are for the state and what additional coverage is available to consumers, look into complaints with specific agencies, agents, or brokers, and enforce insurance law on the consumer’s behalf if needed. You can contact them at 701.328.2440 or toll free at 800-247-0560.
Online resources include:
- North Dakota Insurance Department – Consumer Guide
- North Dakota Insurance Department – File a Complaint
- North Dakota Insurance Department – Cost Comparison Survey