Buying a Car in Minnesota

Minnesota follows simple regulations for vehicle purchasing, with the exception of its no-fault insurance requirements. We have collected all the information regarding these regulations for you and have put it here, including links to further details, to help make your vehicle purchase as easy as possible.

1. Title Information

Minnesota requires all vehicles to be titled. If you are purchasing a new vehicle from a dealer, they will take care of the paperwork for you (most of which is pretty simple, compared to most states). Do make certain, though, that they are actually doing the paperwork. In Minnesota, if you have bought a vehicle with a “lien” (a loan), you will still receive a registration card until the lien is paid off. Then you will receive the actual title.

If you are purchasing a previously owned vehicle from a private owner, you will need to make certain that they give you a properly signed-over title and an odometer disclosure, and also that you fill out the appropriate application for title transfer. Once you have the appropriate documentation, you must take it in person to a Department of Vehicle Safety office to submit the paperwork.

2. Insurance Information

Minnesota’s mandatory auto insurance requirements are based on the idea of no-fault insurance. This can get very complicated, so it’s fortunate that the state has put out a brochure to cover it. In essence, however, Minnesota requires you to have the following:

  • Personal injury protection (which covers your medical needs and bills relating to any vehicle accident) of $40,000 per person per accident
  • $30,000 liability for one person bodily harm ($60,000 per accident)
  • $10,000 liability for property damage
  • $25,000 uninsured liability ($50,000 per accident)
  • $25,000 underinsured liability ($50,000 per accident)

Each of these forms of insurance covers something different, and together, they are comprehensive. They can also be pricey, but you must prove you have them before you can title and register your vehicle. So before you purchase the vehicle, make sure you shop around with Minnesota insurance agents and get the best deal you can, based on premiums and whether you want to choose higher amounts than the minimums required.

3. Emission Information

Minnesota had required vehicle emission testing from 1991 to 1999 but currently has no regulations regarding this.

4. Lemon Law Information

Minnesota’s Lemon Law covers new and leased vehicles bought in the state for the length of the warranty period or two years, whichever is shorter. Mileage is not a limitation with this state’s law. For a vehicle to be covered against a problem affecting it, the problem must begin within the warranty period or two-year timeframe; it if continues beyond that, you can still file under the law throughout the third year.

In order for the law to apply, the vehicle must have one of the following types of problems:

  • A problem that has continued with the vehicle after four attempts to repair it
  • A problem that has put the vehicle out of service for 30 cumulative days
  • A problem that has caused failure of steering or brakes and for which there has been an unsuccessful repair attempt

If any of the aforementioned problems exist, the owner can attempt to get a refund or replacement for the vehicle. The owner must contact the manufacturer with a certified letter, informing it of the problem. The manufacturer may require the owner to go through arbitration before replacing or refunding the vehicle. If the manufacturer refunds the vehicle, it may deduct an amount for use equal to up to 10 cents a mile or 10 percent of the vehicle’s value, whichever is less.

5. Special Information

There is no additional special information that prospective car buyers in Minnesota need to know.