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About Maryland Auto Insurance
The Maryland General Assembly created the Maryland Automobile Insurance Fund in 1972 with the purpose of providing an auto insurance option for drivers who could not obtain coverage on the private market. The insurer used the acronym MAIF – which is still the official name – for many years, before switching to Maryland Auto. The name change was to avoid the common, mistaken impression that tax dollars are used to fund the program.
There are a few simple requirements to qualify for a Maryland Auto policy:
- Be a resident of Maryland
- Be licensed in Maryland or have a vehicle registered in the state
- Have been unable to obtain coverage from a private insurance company (at least two denials)
Maryland Auto covers anyone who meets the above requirements regardless of driving history, credit record, or any other issues. As a state provider, Maryland Auto is not a traditional insurance company. The Board of Trustees is appointed by the Governor of Maryland. The coverage is considered to be transitional until the driver is able to qualify for private coverage.
Maryland Auto Insurance coverage is sold through 1,400 agents across the state.
Maryland Auto Insurance Coverage
The auto insurance program from Maryland Auto operates in much the same way as any other insurance policy.
The base coverage is the minimum legal state liability requirements, with the option to increase those limits. Four options can also be added to the policy: comprehensive coverage, collision coverage, towing, and rental car coverage.
Because of the type of program, however, the coverage on Maryland Auto policies offers just the basics, and trendy add-ons like accident forgiveness are absent here.
Maryland Auto Insurance does not compete with standard insurance companies in terms of rates; by the nature of their program, they are not intended to do so. That said, the goal of the program is to reduce the number of uninsured drivers on the road by offering an affordable insurance program. While drivers will not see the kind of low rates offered by major insurance companies on standard policies, the rates should not be the kind of astronomical amounts often seen for high-risk drivers on the private market, either.
There is an online quoting option on the Maryland Auto Insurance website that those who qualify can use to obtain a rate quote. Since this is a Maryland-only insurer, we are unable to compare their rates on a national level.
Maryland Auto Insurance handles claims in much the same way as any other insurance company. Claims are reported, assigned to an adjuster, investigated, and a final determination on fault and benefits is made. The website offers very clear and detailed information on claims for policyholders.
Online claim reporting is not an option on the company’s website; all claims should be reported through a toll-free number. The website does not say whether or not the claims line is available 24/7.
Drivers are required to take their vehicle to one of the five approved estimate centres in order to obtain a repair estimate. After the estimate, however, the insured can choose the repair shop they prefer to complete the work.
Ratings and Consumer Reviews
The Maryland Automobile Insurance Fund has a D rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB), in spite of only five complaints on file in the past three years. The rating is due to the length of time the business has taken to respond to complaints, and failure to respond to one of the complaints.
Negative reviews of Maryland Auto are not difficult to find. There are 67 Google reviews, resulting in an overall 1.6-star rating. Most of the reviews are one star, with a few positive reviews sprinkled in. The majority of the complaints refer to poor customer service and claims issues. Many of the complaints are written by drivers who were involved in an accident with a Maryland Auto policyholder and had a great deal of difficulty getting their claim paid.
There are two negative reviews on Yelp, both of which give Maryland Auto one star.
The Bottom Line
Maryland Auto Insurance is a choice of last resort for drivers who are unable to qualify for a policy elsewhere. They are certainly not recommended as the insurance company of choice for anyone who can obtain standard coverage, and even drivers who are unable to might still find better value with a non-standard private insurer.
For a list of companies that we recommend, visit our Best Insurance Companies page.