Maryland Car Insurance
If you want to learn about auto insurance in Maryland, we’ve got all the information you need right here. Keep reading for information on required coverage, penalties for driving uninsured, important coverage decisions, where high-risk drivers can go for insurance, and more.
Mandatory insurance law
Maryland is a “tort” state where state law requires all drivers to have insurance.
Minimum Maryland coverage requirements
Maryland law has certain standards for car insurance policies. Every policy must provide liability, uninsured motorist, and personal injury protection coverage. The following table breaks down the requirements.
|Required coverage types||Minimum amount of coverage|
|Bodily injury liability||$30,000 for each person's injuries in an accident|
|$60,000 total for all injuries in an accident|
|Property damage liability||$25,000 total per accident|
|Uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage||$30,000 for each person's injuries in an accident accident|
|Uninsured motorist property damage||$15,000 total property damage per accident|
|Personal injury protection||$2,500|
When someone driving your car causes an accident, it pays for victims’ medical and repair bills. However, it only pays up to a certain amount. Minimum policies include $60,000 worth of coverage for medical bills and $15,000 for property damages. If you get the minimum amount of liability insurance, you may see it referred to as 30/60/15 coverage. You can buy more than the minimums to be better protected.
Remember, liability doesn’t cover the driver’s medical bills or car repairs. It only covers those expenses for accident victims.
Uninsured/underinsured (UM/UIM) motorist bodily injury
It pays your medical bills and the medical bills of your family and passengers after an accident. It does so when the driver who caused the accident either:
- Doesn’t have insurance or fled the scene of the accident
- Has insurance, but not enough to cover all your medical bills
Minimum policies include $60,000 worth of this coverage total for medical bills.
Uninsured motorist (UM) property damage
It pays for repairing damage to your car or property. It does so when the driver who caused the accident doesn’t have insurance or fled the scene of the accident.
Minimum policies include $15,000 worth of this coverage for property damage.
Personal injury protection (PIP)
When someone insured by your policy is injured in an accident, it helps pay their medical bills and lost wages. It does so no matter who caused the accident.
Policies come with at least $2,500 worth of coverage, but you have the option of buying more.
If you feel that you don’t want PIP because you already have health insurance, you can choose to waive PIP. “Although waiving PIP results in a lower premium, you should keep in mind that PIP also pays lost wages and your household members’ medical expenses, which are not covered under health care policies,” according to regulators.
Penalties for driving uninsured
If you break the law and don’t buy coverage, it could cost you. You could get stuck having to pay other people’s medical and repair bills if someone crashes your car. You could have your registration and license plates suspended. On top of that, you could have to pay hundreds of dollars in fines and fees.
|Number of offenses||Fine||License & registration suspension|
|Any||$150 if uninsured for up to 30 days +$7 a day for each day after 30 days||Until all violations are cleared & $25 fee is paid|
If you try to use fake proof of insurance, you could get fined up to $1,000 and have to spend a year in jail.
Auto insurance verification
Officials can tell whether or not you have Maryland car insurance. By law, your car insurer reports policy info to the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA). If it looks like you didn’t keep proper coverage, you’ll get a request from the MVA to verify that you have coverage.
In addition to liability, uninsured/underinsured motorist, and personal injury protection, there are optional coverages you can add. They’ll raise the cost of your insurance, but they’ll also provide greater protection. The following are the most widely available coverage add-ons in the state.
It pays for repairing or replacing the insured car if it’s damaged by something other than a collision. Some examples of this type of damage are vandalism, hail damage, and theft. In 2011, more than 4 out of every 5 drivers in Maryland bought this coverage, according to data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC).
It pays for repairing or replacing the insured vehicle after an accident. In 2011, almost 4 out of every 5 drivers in Maryland bought this coverage, according to data from the NAIC.
It pays for you and your family’s medical bills after an accident. It does so no matter who caused the accident. It usually also covers you and your family members if they are hit by a car while walking.
Medical payments is different from PIP. Medical payments pays for medical bills, while PIP can also cover lost wages. For most policies with both PIP and medical payments coverage, your PIP kicks in first, according to state officials. If you use all of your PIP coverage, then your medical payments coverage kicks in.
Towing & labor
It pays for towing and labor due to a mechanical breakdown.
It pays the difference between an insurance company’s payment for a totaled car and the remaining balance on the car’s loan or lease.
It pays the cost of renting a vehicle while your car is getting repairs that are covered by comprehensive coverage.
How claims work in Maryland
Maryland uses a “tort” system for car insurance claims. That means if someone injures you or wrecks your car, their liability insurance helps pay your medical and repair bills.
But in some cases, the other driver won’t be 100% responsible for the accident. Your actions could have contributed to the accident, and you could be partially responsible. This makes things a little more complicated.
Maryland uses “pure contributory negligence” to sort this out. That means if you are in any way responsible for causing the accident, the other driver’s insurer doesn’t pay any of your bills. You have to completely rely on your own policy.
So which parts of your Maryland auto insurance coverage can help you with those expenses? The PIP coverage included in most policies can help you with your medical bills, and so will your medical payments coverage if you bought it. Collision will help pay your repair bills if you added it to your policy.
Maryland auto insurance rates
Maryland car insurance premiums are much higher than average. The average cost of a policy in the state was about 15.1% higher than the 2011 national average, according to data from the NAIC. That makes it the 11th-most expensive state in the U.S. for car insurance.
Expensive rates for Baltimore drivers
Maryland car insurance rates are pretty high compared with the rest of the country. But they’re especially high in Baltimore.
Baltimore had the 7th-highest car insurance rates of any city in the country, according to a 2012 study by Runzheimer International.
If you drive safely, infrequently, or both, you may want to look into a usage-based discount program. These programs use a device you install in your car to track how far it’s driven and/or if it’s driven safely. Depending on how you drive, you could potentially get a discount of up to 30%.
The following major insurers offer usage-based discounts in the Old Line State:
- Progressive: Snapshot
- Allstate: Drivewise
Maryland car insurance companies
Have you already filed a claim, only to find there’s a delay with your payout? Or is there another complaint you want regulatory officials to know about? The state’s Insurance Administration has people that can help with your problem when you file a complaint about a Maryland car insurer.
Want a quick response? There’s also a Rapid Response Program for claims. That way, consumers can have their claim disputes addressed “quickly and without having to file a formal written complaint.”
Car insurance for high-risk drivers
Have a lot of traffic tickets or accidents? You might have a hard time finding car insurance coverage. In the Old Line State, you can still turn to the Maryland Automobile Insurance Fund (MAIF). It’s the car insurer of last resort for the state’s high-risk drivers. That’s because prices will likely be higher for these drivers.
Driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants
In attempt to get more drivers licensed and insured, Maryland allows undocumented immigrants to get driver’s licenses. Undocumented drivers still need to buy Maryland auto insurance and obey the same traffic safety laws as other drivers.
Want to find out more? The state Motor Vehicle Administration details the process of setting up an appointment to get what’s called a federally non-compliant DL/ID in Maryland.
Did You Know?
Expensive rates for Baltimore drivers.
Maryland car insurance rates are pretty high compared with the rest of the country. But they’re especially high in Baltimore. Baltimore had the 7th-highest car insurance rates of any city in the country, according to a 2012 study by Runzheimer International.