Published: February 17, 2022Updated: July 12, 2022

Guide to Auto Insurance in Maryland

Everything you need to know about driving safely and legally in Maryland

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In Maryland, all 4.4 million licensed drivers must be insured at all times. For drivers with a clean record, auto insurance prices are around 13 percent higher than the national average. Living in Maryland, you can expect to pay around $1,236.61 annually on auto insurance.

Whether you are driving in a new state or becoming a new driver in your home state, it can be hard to keep track of the insurance requirements and driving laws. Whether you have questions about insurance requirements, Maryland state laws, or something in between, we’ve gathered the information here for your convenience.

Required Car Insurance in Maryland

Maryland requires you to have more than just liability insurance. In order to be properly insured, you must have the following.

  • Bodily injury liability: The minimum bodily injury coverage you must hold as a driver in Maryland is $30,000 per person and $60,000 per accident. Bodily injury liability covers the other party’s injuries or deaths that occur from you or someone else on your policy driving your car.
  • Property damage liability: You are required to have a minimum of $15,000 in coverage for property damage liability. This covers damage to third parties’ vehicles or property that you or someone else on your policy made while driving your car.
  • Uninsured motorist property damage liability: The state minimum for uninsured motorist property damage liability is $15,000. Uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage helps pay for damage to your vehicle if the at-fault driver doesn’t have enough or any liability coverage. Uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage covers hit-and-runs as well.
  • Uninsured motorist bodily injury liability: You must have a minimum coverage of $30,000 per person and $60,000 per accident. Uninsured motorist bodily injury liability covers the third party’s medical bills if they are injured in an accident by you or someone else on your policy driving your car.
  • Medical payments coverage: The state of Maryland requires you to carry a minimum of $2,500 of medical payments coverage. Medical payments coverage covers your medical costs in at-fault accidents, such as funeral costs, physical or occupational therapy, and other medical expenses that may result from an accident.

What Happens if You Don’t Have Insurance?

If you are caught driving without insurance, you will be issued a fine of $150 and your license will be suspended until you can show proof of insurance1.

How Much Coverage Do I Need?

If you are looking to spend the least amount of money, the minimums will work. However, we recommend buying more coverages with higher limits to ensure that you’re covered in at-fault accidents.

Liability Coverage

The minimum liability coverage is often not enough to protect you. We recommend at least $500,000 of both bodily injury and property damage liability.

Comprehensive Coverage

Comprehensive coverage is not required unless you are taking out a loan or lease. It covers any damage to your car that is not due to collisions, such as weather damage, earthquake damage, landslide damage, or theft.

The limit for comprehensive coverage is the actual market value of your car. You can find the actual market value of your car by going to a car pricing website, such as Kelley Blue Book or Edmunds, and plugging in your model, make, year, and mileage. Understand that your car will have depreciated in price from the wear and tear of driving. The actual market value of your car is not what you paid for it, but what it is worth now.

Collision Coverage

Collision coverage is similar to comprehensive coverage in that it is not required unless you are taking out a lease or loan. It covers the costs of repairing or replacing your vehicle in the case of an at-fault collision. The limit for collision coverage is the actual market value of your car.

Uninsured Motorist Coverage

Even though it is illegal to drive without insurance in Maryland, some still do. In order to protect yourself financially if you get hit by an uninsured motorist, we recommend getting at least $500,000 in coverage. This is the same amount of uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage as your bodily injury liability limits.

Medical Payments Coverage

When looking into medical payments coverage, consider your financial situation and health insurance. If you do not have health insurance or have a high deductible on your health insurance, we recommend purchasing coverage with higher limits up to $500,000 in coverage2.

Cost of Car Insurance in Maryland

As a Maryland driver, you can expect to spend around $1,236.61 on average annual premiums, which is 13 percent higher than the national average of $1,070.473. However, we have seen auto insurance rates as low as $787 and as high as $1,877. Prices are higher for young drivers, those with full-coverage car insurance, or those in a rural ZIP code. To see what car insurance will cost for you, get a car insurance quote.

Providers in Maryland

If you are looking for insurance options in Maryland, check out these providers:

  • Amica
  • Allstate
  • Direct Auto
  • Esurance
  • Farmers
  • GEICO
  • Homesite
  • National General
  • Nationwide
  • Progressive
  • State Farm
  • The General
  • USAA

How to Lower Premiums in Maryland

The best way to lower your premiums in Maryland is to be a good driver. Two factors that commonly drive up auto insurance premiums are accidents and traffic violations. Obey the speed limit and make smart decisions while driving. These are some other avenues to lower premiums in Maryland:

  1. Drop unnecessary coverages, like comprehensive coverage or an old car.
  2. Lower your limits.
  3. Pay attention to the discounts that your auto insurance provider offers. We’ve seen discounts for being a loyal customer, being a good driver, being a good student, or taking a defensive driving course.
  4. Raise your deductible. The higher your deductible, the lower your premium. If you couldn’t afford a higher deductible were you to get in an accident tomorrow, though, you shouldn’t raise it.

Proof of Car Insurance in Maryland

Maryland accepts both paper and digital forms of insurance. If you want to keep your auto insurance digital, your insurer may provide a mobile app. Otherwise, you can download a digital version of your auto ID card.

There are consequences if you get caught driving without proof of insurance.

  • Fines: $150 fine for a period of one to 30 days, or an increase of $7 daily if you don’t pay it after the 30th day
  • Suspension: Registration suspended until you provide proof of insurance

Driving Laws in Maryland

Now that you understand the insurance requirements, the next step is to learn the laws of the road.

Fault System

Maryland is an at-fault state, meaning that the at-fault party pays for both property damage and bodily injury. If it is a partial fault between two parties, you can split the costs by fault.

Maryland has a contributory negligence law, which states that if the plaintiff acted negligently in any way, they cannot recover any compensation for the accident.

Uninsured Motorists

An estimated 14 percent of drivers in Maryland, or 627,405 people, drive uninsured4. In some states, if you have more than one car on a policy, you can stack uninsured and underinsured bodily injury coverage. Stacking is when you combine coverage limits for multiple vehicles. Maryland does not allow stacking.

DUI Laws

Driving under the influence is a dangerous violation. In Maryland, a DUI stays on your record for 10 years.

For your first offense, your license is suspended for 90 days. Interlocks are applied and required for one to three years. If your blood alcohol concentration is higher than 0.15 percent, interlocks are required for a minimum of two years.

Seat Belt Laws

All drivers must wear a seat belt at all times. Maryland’s seat belt law is under primary enforcement for those driving and in the passenger seat. Law enforcement can write you a citation for not wearing your seat belt regardless of whether you committed any other traffic violations.

While a seat belt is still required in the rear seats, this law is under secondary enforcement, meaning that law enforcement can only write a citation for it if there are other violations5.

Distracted Driving Laws

In Maryland, there is a handheld ban for all drivers, and all cell phone usage is banned for drivers under 18. Texting while driving is illegal and under primary enforcement.

If you get caught texting and driving without causing a collision, there is a minimum $70 fine and one point added to your license. If your collision is the result of you texting while driving, you will receive a $110 fee and three points on your license6.

Teen Driver Laws

Before receiving a provisional license, new drivers must pass the Maryland driver skills test. During the time with their provisional licenses, new drivers learn driving skills without supervision, but with a handful of restrictions.

New drivers must abide by these restrictions for the first 18 months of having their provisional licenses:

  • If the new driver is under the age of 18, they are not allowed to drive with passengers who are also under 18. Exceptions to this law include driving immediate family members and driving with a supervisor over the age of 21. This restriction is in place for the first 151 days.
  • New drivers are not allowed to drive between the hours of midnight and 5 a.m. Exceptions to this law include driving to and from a job, an official school activity, or an organized volunteer program, or participating in an athletic event or related training session. If a new driver drives under the supervision of someone who has three years of experience and is older than 21, they are exempt from this restriction.
  • Wireless devices are not allowed, including hands-free devices.
  • All passengers and the driver must wear their seat belts at all times.

FYI

Any conviction or probation within a new driver’s first 18 months with their provisional license means the 18 months starts over again. The time period is restarted from the date of the conviction, probation before judgment, or the date the license was restored after suspension or revocation.

When new drivers successfully complete their 18 months of conviction-free driving with their provisional licenses, the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration will upgrade their licenses automatically. They will receive attachment cards in the mail. These attachment cards should be carried with the provisional licenses until they can renew their licenses. After renewal, drivers only need to carry their full licenses while driving.

Statute of Limitations for Claims

The period of time you can wait before you file a lawsuit in Maryland is three years. This applies to both property damage and personal injury claims. If you wait more than three years, your insurance company might not cover your claims.

Cancellation/Non-Renewal Notification Laws

Auto insurance companies cannot cancel policies that have been in force for over 60 days except when you don’t pay the premium, you have committed fraud or misrepresentation on your application, or your driver’s license has been revoked or suspended.

If a provider wants to cancel your plan midterm, it must notify you 45 days prior, unless the cancellation is due to nonpayment. In the case of nonpayment, the provider must notify you 10 days prior.

If the provider decides not to renew your policy at the end of the term, it must notify you 45 days prior. The provider must give you notice and explain its reasoning for not renewing your policy before it drops it. Common reasons why providers drop policies are that the provider no longer offers that type of insurance, it doesn’t want to write as many policies in your area, or you were convicted of drunk driving.

Self-Insurance

Maryland allows self-insurance, but only if you have more than 25 vehicles. The minimum required collateral is $105,000.

Car Inspection Requirements

In Maryland, all vehicles must be inspected every two years. The types of required inspections are based on the model year and weight of your vehicle.

  • Gas cap test: This test is required for model years 1977 to 1995 and vehicles that weigh 8,501 to 26,000 pounds.
  • Onboard diagnostic test: This test is required for model years 1996 and newer, model years 2008 and newer for heavy-duty vehicles, and vehicles up to 14,000 pounds.
  • Tailpipe test: This test is required for model years 1977 through 1995, heavy-duty vehicles from 2008 and newer, and vehicles that weigh 8,501 to 26,000 pounds.

Along with the specific model year and weight criteria, only certain counties in Maryland require testing:

  • Anne Arundel County
  • Baltimore City
  • Baltimore County
  • Calvert County
  • Carroll County
  • Cecil County
  • Charles County
  • Frederick County
  • Harford County
  • Howard County
  • Montgomery County
  • Prince George’s County
  • Queen Anne’s County
  • Washington County

Some vehicles are exempt from testing, such as vehicles that meet any of these criteria:

  • 1995 or older and under 8,500 pounds
  • More than 26,000 pounds
  • Powered solely by diesel or electric motor
  • Motorcycles
  • Registered as farm vehicles
  • Historic or antique
  • New and qualified hybrids for the first 36 months after titling and registration
  • Fire apparatus owned or leased by the state of Maryland
  • Ambulances
  • Registered to senior citizens over 70
  • Registered as Class N street rod vehicles
  • Military vehicle owned by the federal government
  • Registered as Class H school or Class P passenger buses

You will know when your vehicle needs to be inspected if you get an email from the Vehicle Emissions Inspection Program. It will email you 11 weeks from your car’s inspection due date. If you do not have an email address, it will notify you by U.S. mail six to eight weeks before your vehicle’s inspection due date.

SR-22s

An SR-22 is proof of minimum insurance. Maryland requires an SR-22 when you reinstate your license after revocation or suspension due to driving under the influence, driving without insurance, failing to pay compensatory damages, or, in some cases, committing multiple traffic violations. In most cases, you will need an SR-22 for three to five years following your date of conviction.

Defensive Driving

In Maryland, you may be required to take a defensive driving course for various reasons, but these are the most common:

  • Referral from a District Court judge
  • Referral from an administrative law judge in the Office of Administrative Hearings
  • Five to seven points on your driving record
  • Conviction or granted probation before a judgment for a moving violation while holding a provisional license

If a judge decides you must attend one of these courses, you will receive a letter from the Maryland Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administration four to six weeks after your hearing. In these classes, you will learn safe driving strategies to avoid hazards. These courses are available both online and in person.

Serious Injury and Monetary Thresholds

There is no minimum serious injury or monetary threshold in Maryland. Because Maryland is an at-fault state, each party pays for damages based on their degree of fault. If you don’t agree with the payout, you can file a lawsuit and seek uncompensated economic damages, such as medical expenses or lost wages. You can also seek noneconomic damages, such as for pain, suffering, and anxiety.

Accident Reporting Requirements

If you’re involved in a car accident that results in injury or death, you must report it to law enforcement within 15 days of the incident or be fined $150.

Price Discrimination

In Maryland, insurance providers can use your credit score to determine your rate on a new policy, but they cannot use it to deny the application, refuse to renew your policy, cancel your policy, or increase your premiums during renewal7. Providers can also use your gender to determine rates on your policy. In Maryland, men pay more than women for car insurance8.

When Is a Car Declared a Total Loss?

Your car is declared a total loss when repairs would cost more than the vehicle’s estimated value, the vehicle cannot be safely repaired, or the damage meets your state’s total loss guidelines. In Maryland, if the repairs cost more than 75 percent of the car’s actual market value, it’s declared a total loss.

Contact

Now that you’ve brushed up on Maryland’s driving laws, it’s time to register your car, get a copy of your car’s title, or contact the state’s insurance department.

Maryland Car Registration Information

After you obtain insurance, you will need to register your car. To register in Maryland, you need to call or visit your local DMV. Here are the contact options:

  1. Call 410-768-7000.
  2. Visit the nearest office to show your documents, including your insurance card, a primary document such as a bill of sale, and a federal odometer statement.
  3. Mail the documents to this address:
    • Motor Vehicle Administration Title File Unit
      6601 Ritchie Highway NE
      Glen Burnie, MD 21062

How to Get a Copy of Your Car Title in Maryland

Here’s how to get a copy of your car’s title if you need it to prove ownership:

  1. Go to https://mva.maryland.gov/Documents/VR-018.pdf.
  2. Print out the form.
  3. Fill it out.
  4. Include a $20 payment in the envelope with the form.
  5. Send it to this address:
    • Motor Vehicle Administration Title File Unit
      6601 Ritchie Highway NE
      Glen Burnie, MD 21062

FYI

A notary is required if a representative of the owner is applying for the duplicate title.

How to Contact Maryland’s Insurance Department

If you have more questions about Maryland’s insurance laws, you can contact its insurance department. We have listed the information below.

  • Phone number: 410-468-2090
  • Mailing address:
    • 200 St. Paul Place, Suite 2700
      Baltimore, MD 21202
  • URL: http://www.mdinsurance.state.md.us

Cost of Car Repairs in Maryland

If you get in an accident and need repairs, you should know that Maryland’s average costs for labor and parts are 4 percent higher than the national average of $383.37.

  • Parts and labor: $399.33
  • Labor: $145.76
  • Parts: $253.57

Crime and Fatalities in Maryland

Whenever you move, it is important to look at the crime rates in the area. The higher the crime rates, the higher the insurance rates. Insurance companies calculate risk when deciding your premium.

Motor Vehicle Theft

In 2020, the motor vehicle theft rate per 100,000 Maryland inhabitants was 173. Maryland’s average motor vehicle theft rate is 42 percent lower than the national average. The greater Wilmington area has the highest rates of motor vehicle theft in Maryland, followed by the Baltimore-Columbia-Towson area.

City in Maryland Motor vehicle thefts per 100,000 inhabitants in 2020 (high to low)
Wilmington area 12,449
Baltimore-Columbia-Towson 6,342
Salisbury 316
Hagerstown-Martinsburg 234
California-Lexington Park 104
Cumberland 54

Traffic Fatalities

Maryland had 521 traffic fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled in 2019. This is 36 percent lower than the national average of 708.

Recap

Every state has different laws surrounding car insurance and driving, so to learn more, read our car insurance by state guide.

Citations

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

  2. How Much Car Insurance Do I Need? Ramsey. (2022, Jan 18).
    https://www.ramseysolutions.com/insurance/how-much-car-insurance

  3. 2018/2019 Auto Insurance Database Report. NAIC. (2022).
    https://content.naic.org/sites/default/files/publication-aut-pb-auto-insurance-database.pdf

  4. One in Eight Drivers Uninsured. Insurance Research Council. (2021, Mar 21).
    https://www.insurance-research.org/sites/default/files/downloads/UM%20NR%20032221.pdf

  5. GHSA. (2022).
    https://www.ghsa.org/state-laws/issues/seat%20belts

  6. DISTRACTED DRIVING PROGRAM AREA BRIEF. Maryland.gov. (2018).
    https://mva.maryland.gov/Documents/FY19_Distracted_ProgramAreaBriefFINAL.pdf

  7. Which States Restrict the Use of Credit Scores in Determining Insurance Rates? Insurance Research Council. (2020, Sep 23).
    https://www.experian.com/blogs/ask-experian/which-states-prohibit-or-restrict-the-use-of-credit-based-insurance-scores/

  8. Women pay more on average than men for car insurance, despite getting into fewer accidents, study finds. CNBC. (2021, Apr 19).
    https://www.cnbc.com/2021/04/19/women-pay-more-than-men-for-car-insurance-in-21-states-study-finds.html