North Dakota does not fare as well as its sibling to the south when it comes to auto insurance rates; although they are still a little below the average, rates are higher in North Dakota than in South Dakota on average, and higher than about half of the states in the country. That makes shopping around for the best deal on your car insurance an important way to save money – but it is also important to choose the best insurance company for you.
The Basics of Auto Insurance in North Dakota
North Dakota law requires that all drivers in the state carry a minimum level of car insurance. This helps to make certain that everyone on the road is financially responsible in the event of an accident.
The law requires bodily injury liability coverage in the amount of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per incident. Property damage liability coverage must be at least $25,000. Also required by law are uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, at the same bodily injury limits of 25/50. Your underinsured motorist limits must match the uninsured motorist limits. There is no requirement for property damage coverage in this category.
Finally, as a no-fault state, North Dakota requires that all drivers carry at least $30,000 in no-fault coverage, or personal injury protection (PIP). This coverage pays for medical bills, lost income, and other financial issues related to an accident for you and anyone in your household.
North Dakota’s legal minimums are fairly similar to those in other states, although they do require more PIP coverage than many other no-fault states.
In addition to what the law requires, drivers may also need to meet the requirements in a loan or lease agreement. Financed and leased vehicles usually need to have comprehensive coverage and collision coverage, and there may be further requirements. Check your agreement to find out what you need to carry.
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Specifics of North Dakota Auto Insurance
As we have already mentioned, North Dakota is a no-fault state. That means that after an accident each party files directly with their own insurance company, which pays out PIP benefits as the first line of defense regardless of who is at fault.
This does not mean, however, that no one will be considered at fault or that there will be no consequences. Property damage doesn’t fall under no-fault laws, so you are responsible for damage if you are found at fault. Your insurance company will pay up to the limits of your policy, after which you will be personally responsible.
While the PIP system avoids many lawsuits, a driver can still be sued for pain and suffering if the medical bills exceed $2,500 for one individual, or if the accident causes a serious injury or disfigurement that lasts more than 60 days. If either of these requirements is met, the at-fault driver can be taken to court. The liability coverage on your policy can pay for court costs and judgments against you – but only up to the limits you choose.
As one final note on North Dakota car insurance, drivers should know that if they cross the Canadian border to the north their insurance policy does follow them. Unlike Mexico, Canada does recognize and accept U.S. insurance policies, but it is still good to check with your insurance company before you go to see if there is anything you should know.
As our goal is to present the best picks for car insurance and not only the least expensive, we looked first at which companies provide the best in customer service to North Dakota drivers. We used consumer reporting and rating services like J.D. Power and also our own research into customer reviews and complaints online to determine which companies are living up to their promises. All of the companies on our list have a low complaint volume and high ratings, particularly when it comes to claims.
After considering reputation, we also looked at each company’s rates. We looked for the companies that have the most competitive prices for all types of drivers, and not just the lowest rate on bare-bones policies. Each of the companies we chose offers good value – a lot of coverage for your money and a great reputation as well.
Whether you’re in Fargo or out on the farm, all of the companies we chose can cover you. We looked for companies that cover all of the drivers in North Dakota, both urban and rural, and have no limitations on who can apply for a policy. While we always recommend USAA to military members and their families, they are not on our list due to their eligibility requirements.
Our Top Picks
These companies all offer exceptional value to North Dakota drivers, with great coverage, low rates, and a solid reputation.
Liberty Mutual has a long history and solid offerings within North Dakota and comes in as a top pick for any North Dakota driver looking for the financial stability of a major insurance company, while also shopping on a budget. They are a one-stop shop for most insurance needs, and they offer plenty of multi-policy discounts to sweeten the deal, making them a great pick for those looking to bundle.
Liberty Mutual consistently scores well in consumer ratings and has a low complaint volume overall. They offer a good blend of available personal agent assistance as well as online and mobile app options, which makes them appealing to both traditional and modern-minded car insurance shoppers.
Auto-Owners took the top spot in J.D. Power’s regional survey of overall customer satisfaction and also ranked very highly in the nationwide survey of claims satisfaction. That ranks them as one of the most dependable car insurance companies in North Dakota.
They do not always have the lowest rates, but plenty of added benefits and a good list of discounts go a long way towards making up for a few extra premium dollars. So too does the company’s top-notch reputation.
With solid ratings from J.D. Power, the biggest car insurance company in America is a good bet for drivers in North Dakota. With both local agents and online services, State Farm meets the needs of most drivers, and they are backed by a solid financial standing.
State Farm also offers highly competitive rates to drivers in North Dakota. They also have one of the bigger auto/home discounts available, which makes them a good choice for those seeking to bundle insurance.
Shopping for Car Insurance in North Dakota
The most important thing to know before you start shopping for insurance is how much coverage you need. We highly recommend carrying more than the legal minimum for liability, and in most cases the added cost is minimal, making the extra protection well worth it.
Knowing what you need – liability limits, deductibles, and optional coverage – is the best way to make sure you get useful quotes from insurance companies. Since each company has basic standards by which they issue quote if you do not tell them what you really want, the quotes end up being too different in terms of coverage to be easily comparable.
North Dakota is a state where smaller insurance companies are popular, and there are several that offer great service and low rates. They can be harder to research, however, due to the lack of information out there, so a local agent (and some word of mouth) are a good way to add them to your comparison list.
The Bottom Line
North Dakota drivers have a range of choices for car insurance that runs the gamut from small and local to the biggest in the nation. While that can seem overwhelming, comparing quotes and giving some thought to what you really want out of your car insurance company can really narrow things down.
For a list of companies that we recommend, visit our Best Insurance Companies page.