Maryland protects drivers and passengers by requiring that everyone be covered by a liability insurance policy to pay for injuries and property damage after an accident.
There are minimum limits that are required by law, although many drivers choose to increase the limits for added protection.
Mandatory Insurance Coverage
In order to register a vehicle or obtain license plates in Maryland, drivers must sign a document stating that they will maintain insurance coverage on the vehicle at all times. This insurance must include the following coverage, at these minimum limits.
- Bodily Injury Liability of $30,000 for each person and $60,000 for each incident involving more than one person
- Property Damage Liability of $15,000 to pay for damages caused to another person’s vehicle or any other property belonging to someone else
- Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist – This option helps to pay for injuries and damage caused by another driver who is either uninsured or whose insurance is not adequate to pay for the full cost of the loss. The state minimums are equal to those of the liability coverage.
- Personal Injury Protection (PIP) – Also known as no-fault car insurance, this is a requirement in the state of Maryland. The minimum limit to PIP is $2500.
Beyond this basic coverage, Maryland drivers can choose to add a selection of optional coverage to create a more robust policy.
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Optional Insurance Coverage
The first option for Maryland drivers to consider is increasing the minimum liability limits to provide a higher level of protection, especially in serious accidents. Additionally, there are other options that can be added to a car insurance policy to provided added financial protection and extra benefits.
- Collision Coverage – Collision coverage pays for damage to your own vehicle when you are found to be at fault after an accident. Without this coverage, there is no benefit for damage to your vehicle unless another driver is found to be liable.
- Comprehensive Coverage – Usually sold with Collision, this coverage further protects you against the cost of damage to your vehicle from non-collision events. This usually includes theft, vandalism, weather-related damage, and fire. It can also cover you for glass-only claims resulting from cracks or chips.
- Medical Payments – This option provides medical expenses coverage for you, your passengers, or your household members who are injured in an accident, even as pedestrians, regardless of fault.
- Rental Reimbursement – This option pays for a rental car so that you can get around while repairs are done on your vehicle after a covered loss.
- Towing and Labor – This option provides roadside assistance, including towing to a repair shop, after a non-collision event.
Providing Proof of Insurance in Maryland
All Maryland drivers must provide proof of insurance upon request, and the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration keeps records of insurance policies on registered vehicles. When a policy is canceled or lapses, the MVA will be notified, and the driver will be required to file a Maryland Insurance Certification (FR-19), a document issued by the insurance company.
This document must also be submitted:
- When registering a new vehicle
- When a driver accumulates 3 points
- When an email alert requesting insurance verification is sent to the owner of the vehicle
Anyone who owns a vehicle without providing insurance is subject to a list of possible penalties, including:
- Revocation of license plates and vehicle registration
- Fines of $150 for the first 30 days uninsured and $7 per day thereafter
- Reinstatement fees for vehicle registration
- Prohibition from registering a new vehicle or renewing a vehicle registration
- Fines of up to $1000, plus up to one year of jail time for drivers who present false proof of insurance
Buying Car Insurance in Maryland
Maryland drivers are paying higher insurance rates than many other drivers in the country. They landed in the 21st spot with an annual premium cost of $1327, according to a 2017 study reported over at Insure.com.
The Maryland Insurance Administration offers auto insurance shopping tips as well as a yearly rate comparison guide to help drivers choose the right coverage and also help to find the best price. These rates are samples that give drivers an idea of what they can expect to pay in the voluntary market.
High-Risk Car Insurance
Drivers who have tickets, accidents, or other issues on their driving record may find it very expensive, or in some cases very difficult to find insurance. Maryland drivers who are having trouble finding insurance have the option to use a special insurance plan that was created by the government for this purpose.
The Maryland Automobile Insurance Fund (MAIF) was created by the state legislature in order to make certain that all drivers can find insurance to meet the legal requirements. MAIF policies provide liability insurance as well as the standard options to cover your vehicle fully but can be expected to be costly as a result of the risk involved.
Teen Drivers in Maryland
Teens in Maryland go through a Graduated Licensing Program in order to obtain a full driver’s license. Each stage is designed to offer more responsibility as teens develop driving skills and learn the rules of the road. Maryland refers to this Graduated Licensing System as the Rookie Driver Program.
Teens may apply for a learner’s permit at 15 years and 9 months of age. In order to obtain the permit, they will need to first pass a written knowledge test. While driving with a permit, teens must adhere to the following restrictions:
- A licensed driver of at least 21 years old, who has held a driver’s license for at least 3 years, must be in the passenger seat at all times
- Use of any mobile handheld device is prohibited
While driving with a permit, drivers must enroll in an approved driver education course, which will need to be completed before they can apply for a provisional license. The course must include 6 hours of behind the wheel practice and 30 hours of classroom instruction.
After completing all of the requirements of the learner’s permit and becoming at least 16 years and 6 months old, a teen driver can take the road test for a provisional license. With this license, teens must follow these restrictions:
- During the first 5 months of licensing, no passengers under the age of 18 are permitted, unless they are family members or the driver is accompanied by a qualified supervising driver
- Driving is not permitted between the hours of midnight and 5 a.m., unless for school, education, or other approved purposes, or if a qualified driver over 21 is in the passenger seat
Teens can graduate to a full driver’s license when they turn 18 years old, as long as they have held a provisional license for at least 18 months and have been conviction-free during this time. At this point in time, all restrictions will be lifted from the license.
Maryland teen drivers are required to meet all of the financial responsibility laws in the form of a liability insurance policy. Most teens choose to do this by having a parent or guardian add them to their insurance policy; this arrangement can continue even while the teen is away at school as long as all insurance company requirements are met.
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