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Is there a grace period in Minnesota when you can drive a vehicle without insurance after you have just bought it in full?

There is no grace period in which to obtain insurance in Minnesota. You are required to have insurance on a vehicle that is being driven on a roadway. You said you paid in full which would mean that you do not have a lien holder that requires full coverage before you leave with your new vehicle, however the state of Minnesota requires you to have at least the state minimum required liability and No-Fault insurance.

In Minnesota their state minimum limits are:

  • Bodily Injury Liability: $30,000/$60,000 Limit
  • Property Damage Liability: $10,000 Limit
  • Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Bodily Injury: $25,000/$50,000 Limit
  • Personal Injury Protection (PIP): $40,000 Limit

Whether you are buying a car from a dealer or a private party you need to alert your insurance company of this fact and make sure that you are covered when driving the car away from the place where you purchased the car from. If you are not adding a car onto an existing car insurance policy then you need to shop around for an insurance provider before buying the car and then once you purchase it call in the VIN and other vehicle information to get your policy started before taking the car onto the roadway.

The MN Driver and Vehicles Services (DVS, a part of the Department of Public Safety) states that the Minnesota No-Fault Act (M.S. 65B.48), requires owners of registered motor vehicles to maintain no-fault insurance. The law makes it a crime for a vehicle owner to operate or permit operation of any uninsured motor vehicle or motorcycle upon any public road, street, or highway. Violation of the law can result in fines or imprisonment and/or loss of driving privileges.

Minnesota Law (M.S. 169.791) requires drivers to carry proof of insurance in the vehicle at all times and to provide it to peace officers upon demand. This section of law states:

Every driver shall have in possession at all times when operating a vehicle and shall produce on demand of a peace officer proof of insurance in force at the time of the demand covering the vehicle being operated. If the driver does not produce the required proof of insurance upon the demand of a peace officer, the driver is guilty of a misdemeanor.

It is true that even if your insurance company started coverage on the vehicle you may not have an insurance card yet to show police when you first pick up your car. If that is the case and you were ticketed for no insurance then MN law does allow for that by permitting the driver/owner to produce to the court proof of insurance stating that the vehicle was covered at the time of the traffic stop. If this is done then you cannot be convicted of the citation for driving without insurance.

When you buy a car you need to title and register it in your own name and when you register a vehicle in Minnesota you are attesting that the vehicle is properly insured. So you also need to have your insurance on your vehicle so that you are making a true statement on your registration application.


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