Published: May 3, 2022Updated: August 16, 2022

Guide to Car Insurance in Maine

Maine’s financial responsibility laws require drivers to drive with valid auto insurance.

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If you’re driving on any of Maine’s 46,736 lane miles of road, you need to have auto insurance. Accidents happen, and insurance protects you and others from the costs of mishaps. If you are one of Maine’s 1.05 million drivers, you must carry liability insurance at the very least.

According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, Maine ranks as the least expensive state for car insurance . Maine drivers can expect to pay an average of $696 for insurance, much lower than the national average of $1,070. We’ve compiled this Maine auto insurance and laws guide to help you understand everything you need to know about driving in Maine.

Minimum Auto Insurance Coverage in Maine

  • $50,000 of bodily injury liability coverage per person
  • $100,000 of bodily injury liability coverage per accident
  • $25,000 of property damage liability coverage
  • $50,000 of uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage per person
  • $100,000 of uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage per accident
  • $2,000 medical payments coverage1

FYI

Having the state minimum amount of insurance is important, but it doesn’t mean that you have full coverage. Full coverage is crucial to protect your vehicle.

How Much Coverage Do I Need?

Minimum coverage may not be enough for your needs. If you lease a vehicle, you are likely required to have at least $100,000 in bodily injury coverage per person and $300,000 in bodily injury protection per accident. The lease contract sets these requirements, not the state. It is part of most leasing agreements.

Another reason to have higher liability limits is that if you have more assets, you are a target for lawsuits. The higher coverage limits help mitigate this risk. It isn’t uncommon for those with a lot of assets to protect themselves with $250,000 in bodily injury per person, $500,000 in bodily injury per accident, and $500,000 in property damage.

Liability coverage alone won’t protect your car in an at-fault accident. In order to protect your car, you’ll need full coverage, which consists of comprehensive coverage and collision coverage. These are optional coverages that you can add so that repairs to your car will be covered in accident circumstances other than someone hitting you.

Comprehensive coverage pays to repair your vehicle when something happens to your car that isn’t a collision. It covers things like hail damage, a tree branch falling on your car, and theft.

Collision coverage pays to repair your vehicle after accidents that you cause. Both comprehensive and collision coverage have deductibles that you must pay. You can determine the amount of your deductible.

Some other optional coverages are good to have as well. Rental car coverage allows you to rent a car while your car is in the shop under a covered claim. You can also elect to add emergency roadside assistance, which includes towing, jump-starting a dead battery, and changing a flat tire.

Average Auto Insurance Rate in Maine

Maine’s average annual cost of car insurance increased from $686 to $696 from 2018 to 2019. This difference of only $10 represents a modest increase, but Maine actually went from being the second-cheapest state for car insurance to the cheapest, with an average rate 65 percent below the national average of $1,070.2

We found a wide range of car insurance rates online for Maine. A liability-only policy might cost as little as $294 annually, while a full-coverage policy might cost $965 annually.

A lot of factors affect car insurance rates, including the driver’s age, location, number of miles driven annually, and driving history. Driving history includes both accidents and moving violations. In general, older drivers pay lower rates than younger drivers, and those with moving violations, such as speeding tickets and DUIs, pay higher costs than those with a clean driving record.

TIP

If you have a ticket, ask about taking a driving course to reduce the points on your driver’s license. Reducing your points helps keep insurance costs down.

Car Insurance Companies in Maine

  • Allstate
  • Esurance
  • GEICO
  • Liberty Mutual
  • Mercury
  • Progressive
  • Root
  • Safeco
  • State Farm

Compare car insurance quotes to get the best rates possible for your situation. When comparing quotes, make sure you have the same coverage options on each line. Otherwise, you won’t be comparing apples to apples. Also, look at customer satisfaction reviews to see how happy people are with the insurance carrier as a whole as you consider your insurance options.

How to Get the Lowest Rates in Maine

  1. Check on discounts. Discounts for things such as being a good driver and insuring multiple cars can reduce your premium dramatically.
  2. Raise your deductible. Increase your financial responsibility in an accident by raising your deductible; higher deductibles mean lower premiums.
  3. Reduce coverage. If you don’t think that you need extra coverage, you can reduce it to lower costs.

Proof of Car Insurance in Maine

There are times when you will need to show proof of insurance, including if an officer stops you or you are in an accident. If you don’t have insurance, you will receive a ticket for between $100 and $500. Your license and car registration can also be suspended until the Department of Motor Vehicles verifies that you have insurance.3

Maine State Laws

Fault State

Maine is a fault state, which means that the person who caused the accident is responsible for the financial losses incurred by others. Losses can include property damage and medical bills. Because Maine is a modified comparative state, a party that is more than 50 percent responsible will pay for the claim (or their insurance will).

Uninsured Motorist Coverage

Maine requires drivers to have uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. This requirement exists because not everyone follows the law and gets insurance. In fact, 5 percent of the driving population doesn’t have insurance, which means you are on your own if someone with no coverage hits you. Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage mitigates this risk by requiring $50,000 of coverage for bodily injury liability coverage per person and $100,000 of coverage for bodily injury liability per accident if you go with the state minimums.

Maine OUI Laws

Maine refers to driving under the influence as operating under the influence (OUI). If you have a blood alcohol content of 0.15 percent or greater, the state can convict you. The conviction stays on your driving record for 10 years, with a minimum 90-day license suspension for the first offense. You will also be fined $500 for the first offense, which can go up to $900 for subsequent offenses.4

Seat Belt Laws

Maine requires drivers and passengers to wear seat belts. Not wearing a seat belt is a primary offense, meaning that an officer can stop and ticket you for no other reason than your failure to wear a seat belt.5 The cost of a seat belt ticket rises with each offense.

  • First offense: $50
  • Second offense: $125
  • Third offense: $250

Distracted Driving Laws in Maine

Maine takes distracted driving seriously. The ban on handheld devices applies to drivers and includes texting while driving. The citation for a first offense is a $250 fine. Subsequent citations within three years carry a $500 fine with possible license suspension for up to 90 days.6

Teen Driving Laws in Maine

Restrictions Learner’s permit Intermediate license
Minimum age 15 16
Curfew 12-5 a.m. 12-5 a.m.
Supervision Licensed driver in passenger seat who is at least 20 and has had a valid license for at least 2 years Licensed driver in passenger seat who is at least 20 and has had a valid license for at least 2 years
Passengers Immediate family aside from supervising driver Under 18: Immediate family aside from supervising driver

Over 18: No restrictions

Distracted driving No electronic devices No electronic devices

Statute of Limitations for Claims

Maine has a long statute of limitations for car accidents, giving you plenty of time to file a claim with an insurance carrier. The statute of limitations is six years for both property damage and bodily injury claims. Insurance companies can deny claims filed after this period.7

Cancellation and Non-Renewal Notification Laws

There may be times when your insurance carrier can cancel or not renew your policy. When it does so, it must provide ample notice so that you can obtain new insurance and comply with the law.

In the first 60 days of the policy, the insurance carrier can cancel you for any reason as it completes the final underwriting of your policy. After the first 60 days, the only reasons the company can cancel you are for nonpayment or fraud. In cancellation scenarios occurring for reasons other than nonpayment of premium, the insurance company has to give you 20 days’ notice. For nonpayment of premium, the insurance company needs to provide you with only 10 days’ notice.

When you get a non-renewal letter, the company is choosing not to insure you for another term once the existing one ends. The reasons could include a high number of claims or tickets on your record. The insurance carrier must give you 30 days’ notice in this scenario.

Self-Insurance

Maine allows vehicle owners to self-insure their vehicles. The amount of self-insurance needed is at the discretion of the Maine Secretary of State. Contact the Maine Secretary of State at sos.office@maine.gov for the amount and paperwork needed. You will mail the documents to this address:

  • Secretary of State
    148 State House Station
    Augusta, ME 04333-0148

Car Inspection Requirements

Laws in Maine require every vehicle to undergo a safety inspection annually. Licensed contractors at mechanics’ shops or gas stations conduct the inspections. (You can find a location at https://www.pfr.maine.gov/almsonline/almsquery/SearchCompany.aspx.) Cumberland County also requires an emissions test.

Vehicles that pass an inspection receive an inspection sticker, and the Bureau of Motor Vehicles will receive a renewal qualification completion. It costs either $12.50 or $18.50 for the inspection; the higher amount includes the emissions test.

SR-22s

An SR-22 is a certificate showing that a high-risk driver meets the legal requirements for insurance in the state. Insurance companies complete SR-22s. Because of the higher risk, these policies are more expensive than others. You might need an SR-22 if you …

  • Failed to provide insurance.
  • Are convicted of reckless driving.
  • Are convicted of a DUI or refused to submit to a breathalyzer test.
  • Received an unsatisfied judgment or have left the scene of an accident that resulted in death or injury.

Defensive Driving

In Maine, defensive driving courses can reduce the number of points you get for some tickets like speeding. A defensive driving course teaches you how to avoid hazards and be a better driver. You can find a class at https://www.maine.gov/dps/bhs/driving-dynamics/classes.html.

A class might take as many as three points off your record. Classes are five hours long and cost $40 for those under age 65 and $25 for those over 65.

Serious Injury and Monetary Thresholds

Maine has no serious injury or monetary thresholds to sue for damage. Not having thresholds means that someone can sue a responsible party regardless of the value of the loss or the severity of their injuries.

Accident Reporting Requirements

Maine drivers must immediately file a police report for any accident where there is injury, death, or property damage valued over $1,000. Failure to do so will result in a fine of up to $1,000 and even imprisonment of up to six months.

Price Discrimination

The law in Maine allows insurance companies to determine rates based on credit and gender. Discrimination based on credit means that the insurance company can base rates on your credit score, although not exclusively. The worse your credit is, the higher your premium can be.

Also, men pay more for auto insurance in Maine because statistics show that men have more costly claims than women. This type of discrimination is also allowed.

When Is a Car Declared a Total Loss?

Maine insurance companies must use the total loss formula to determine if a car is totaled. The total loss formula says that the vehicle is a total loss if the salvage value is less than the repair cost.

Contact Information for Drivers in Maine

Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicles Contact Information

  • URL: https://www.maine.gov/sos/bmv/locations/index.html
  • Phone number: (207) 624-9000
  • Location address:
    • 101 Hospital St.
      Augusta, ME 04333
  • Mailing address:
    • 29 State House Station
      Augusta, ME 04333

How to Register Your Car in Maine

  1. Visit a local Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) office. You can find your nearest location at https://www.maine.gov/sos/bmv/locations/index.html.
  2. Gather the following documents:
    • Signed bill of sale
    • Title
    • Evidence of insurance
    • White and yellow registration application, which you’ll find at the BMV office
    • Excise tax receipt (which you’ll pay for at your municipality — https://www1.maine.gov/online/bmv/rapid-renewal/participating.shtml)
  3. Pay the Maine sales tax (5.5 percent) on a newly purchased vehicle.
  4. Pay the title application fee ($33).
  5. Pay the registration fee (up to $70 depending on your plate type).

Follow these steps to renew a registration:

  1. Gather the following information:
    • Current registration
    • Insurance card
    • Vehicle’s current mileage
  2. Visit a location with your renewal notice or access the online portal at https://www1.maine.gov/online/bmv/rapid-renewal/.
  3. Pay the fee. There is a nominal fee when you use the online renewal system.

How to Get a Copy of Your Title

  1. Visit the online title replacement portal at https://www.maine.gov/online/bmv/mvtr/.
  2. Have your vehicle’s year, VIN, and mileage ready.
  3. Have the name, date of birth, and driver’s license number of each owner ready.
  4. Pay $46 with Visa, Mastercard, or Discover.

Maine Insurance Commissioner Contact Information

  • Email: Insurance.PFR@maine.gov
  • Phone: 207-624-8475
  • Fax: 207-624-8599
  • Mail: 
    • 34 State House Station
      Augusta, ME 04333

Cost of Car Repairs in Maine

Maine’s average cost of car repairs is $357, including parts and labor, which is 7 percent below the national average. Labor is $138 and parts are $219.

Crime and Fatalities in Maine

Maine is below the national average for both auto thefts and fatalities.

Motor Vehicle Theft

According to the FBI, Maine had 64 auto thefts per 100,000 residents in 2020, which is 286 percent below the national average. According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, these are the worst cities in Maine for motor vehicle theft:

  • Bangor: 84 motor vehicle thefts per 100,000 residents
  • Lewiston-Auburn: 63 motor vehicle thefts per 100,000 residents
  • Portland-South Portland: 50 motor vehicle thefts per 100,000 residents

Motor Vehicle Fatalities

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tracked the number of traffic fatalities per 100 million miles driven in 2019. Maine fell well below the national average of 708 fatalities. It had only 157 fatalities per 100 million miles driven, which is 351 percent below the national average.

Recap

Maine drivers enjoy favorable car insurance compared to drivers living in other parts of the country. Residents can expect to pay anywhere from $294 for baseline coverage to $965 for full coverage. Higher coverage limits protect drivers from being sued for high-cost claims where low limits might not satisfy the entire claim’s costs.

FAQs

To get car insurance in Maine when you are not the owner of the car, you will need to do the following:

  1. Call an insurance agent.
  2. Request a non-owner policy.
  3. Pay the premium.

Adding a teenager to your car insurance in Maine can cost $1,500 to $2,350 per year, depending on your driving record, ZIP code, credit score, and other factors.

You should decline additional insurance when renting a car in Maine if you currently have car insurance or a credit card that offers rental car coverage.

To insure a car in Maine, bring your driver’s license and registration. These documents contain all the information you need to run a quote and buy insurance.

Citations

  1. Insurance Required by Law. Maine.gov. (2022). https://www.maine.gov/pfr/insurance/consumers/auto-insurance/insurance-required-by-law

  2. 2018/2019 Auto Insurance Database Report. NAIC. (2022). https://content.naic.org/sites/default/files/publication-aut-pb-auto-insurance-database.pdf

  3. Penalties for Driving without Auto Insurance by State as of January 2014. Consumer Federation of America. https://consumerfed.org/pdfs/140310_penaltiesfordrivingwithoutautoinsurance_cfa.pdf

  4. Increased Penalties for High Blood Alcohol Content. NCSL. (2016, Nov). https://www.ncsl.org/research/transportation/increased-penalties-for-high-blood-alcohol-content.aspx

  5. Seat Belts. GHSA. (2021). https://www.ghsa.org/state-laws/issues/seat%20belts

  6. §2119. Text messaging while operating motor vehicle; prohibition. Maine Legislature. (2021, Nov). https://legislature.maine.gov/statutes/29-A/title29-Asec2119.html

  7. Car Accidents: Statutes of Limitations. Enjuris. (2022). https://www.enjuris.com/car-accident/statutes-of-limitations.html