Getting auto insurance also means reading the fine print of the law and understanding the rules of the road. We’ll go over North Dakota’s state laws and no-fault system below.
North Dakota is a no-fault state, which means that you’ll file with your own insurance to cover your medical expenses. If you cause an accident, you’ll cover the cost of other driver’s damage and will need to file a third-party claim to cover property damage.
North Dakota uses the modified comparative fault rule law for personal injury cases. If you’re less than 50 percent at fault for an accident, then you can recover certain losses. If you’re over 50 percent at fault, then you can’t recover losses.1
Thirteen percent of drivers in North Dakota drive uninsured, based on 2019 data.2 The penalties for uninsured motorists in North Dakota include a $300 fine and license plate suspension.
In North Dakota, a DUI could stay on your record for seven years. If your blood alcohol content (BAC) reaches 0.18 percent, your license will be suspended for 91 days on the first offense, with a minimum $500 fine.
For the first offense, you wouldn’t need to use an ignition interlock device. If your BAC is over the 0.18 limit, your license will be suspended for 180 days with a minimum increased fine of $750 and at least two days of imprisonment. If you have a second offense, the state will suspend your license for two years, and you will need to use an ignition interlock device.
Seat Belt Laws
In North Dakota, only 8 out of 10 people wear seat belts, and 46 percent of vehicle fatalities included those who didn’t wear seat belts.3
North Dakota’s seat belt law requires the following:
- All occupants younger than 18 must wear seat belts, regardless of where they are seated.
- All front seat occupants over 18 must wear properly adjusted and fastened seat belts.4
North Dakota follows secondary enforcement of seat belt laws, meaning that a police officer can pull you over for not wearing your seat belt only if you also violate a primary law. The penalty for not wearing a seat belt ranges from $20 to $25.5
Distracted Driving Laws
Distracted driving includes texting and driving, changing the radio, grooming, or eating while driving. In North Dakota, texting while driving is illegal for all drivers. When you’re behind the wheel, avoid using any electronic communications device, including cell phones.
Fees for distracted driving in North Dakota vary depending on the offense. In general, fees range from $20 for minors using phones or any electronic devices to $100 for text messaging.
Teen Driver Laws
Here are the requirements for drivers under the age of 18 in North Dakota:
|Type of permit/license
|Minimum driving age
|Hours of training required
||Must complete driver’s education (if under age 16); 30 hours of classroom training and 6 hours of supervision training
||At least 50 hours of supervised driving in a variety of conditions (e.g., nighttime, rural)
||Must have parental consent
License canceled if teen driver gets 6 points for alcohol or drug offenses6
|Can only drive a parent, legal guardian, grandparent, or other family member’s car
Can’t have more passengers than car’s capacity
Drivers under age 16 can’t drive between sunset or 9 p.m. and 5 a.m.
|Can only operate a vehicle that a family member or guardian owns
||No specific restrictions
|Prohibited from using cell phones while driving
Statute of Limitations for Claims
In North Dakota, you have six years to file both property damage and personal injury claims following a car accident. If you wait more than six years to file a claim, then you won’t receive compensation for injury or property damage.
Cancellation and Non-Renewal Notification Laws
In North Dakota, your insurance provider has 20 days to notify you of a midterm cancellation before the effective date, or 10 days to notify you of a midterm cancellation for nonpayment of premiums.
If the company decides not to renew your policy, it must give you 30 days’ notice prior to the policy’s expiration date.
North Dakota lets you self-insure one or more vehicles. However, you need a minimum of $205,000 in collateral or proof of a bond.8
Car Inspection Requirements
To get your car inspected in North Dakota, follow these steps:
- Fill out a Certificate of Vehicle Inspection — https://www.dot.nd.gov/forms/sfn02486.pdf.
- To find a list of licensed and registered qualified businesses, search the North Dakota Secretary of State’s site by business name or system ID — https://firststop.sos.nd.gov/search/business.
- Get your car inspected at a qualified business.
- Get the signature of the agent of the qualified business. There is no fee for the form.
- Send the form to this address:
- North Dakota Department of Transportation
- Motor Vehicle Division
- 608 E. Boulevard Ave.
- Bismarck, ND 58505-0780
An SR-22 certificate proves you have minimum liability insurance for your vehicle and thus financial responsibility for accidents. In North Dakota, if you have had a DUI, you need to carry an SR-22 for one year after getting your license reinstated.
Defensive driving involves using safe and effective strategies to avoid hazards on the road. You can take defensive driving courses if you’re under the age of 18 with six points on your license, or over the age of 18 with 12 points.
Enroll in defensive driving classes online or in person to deduct three points on your record once every 12 months, or to get auto insurance discounts. Courses take an average of four to eight hours to complete, with an estimated cost of $50 to $95 per class.
Serious Injury and Monetary Thresholds
In North Dakota, you have a “reduced right to sue” in a civil suit following a car accident. The monetary threshold of damages and injuries in North Dakota is $2,000, with the following criteria for injuries:
- Permanent and serious disability
- Disfigurement of at least 60 days9
Accident Reporting Requirements
If you’re in an accident, first get a police report to file an insurance claim. In North Dakota, you’re responsible for reporting the accident to the police immediately when there’s property damage, death, or injury worth more than $1,000.
North Dakota’s auto insurance providers can review your credit score or use your gender to determine your car insurance rates. For example, if you’re a man with bad credit, you might pay higher premiums than a woman with good credit.10
When Is a Car Declared a Total Loss?
A car is declared a total loss in North Dakota if repairs cost more than 75 percent of its actual market value. Additionally, a car is a total loss if it can’t be repaired safely.