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Maryland Automobile Insurance Review & Complaints: Auto Insurance

The Maryland Automobile Insurance Fund offers base coverage that meets the minimum legal state liability requirements as well as comprehensive coverage, collision coverage, towing, and rental car coverage additions. Qualifying Maryland drivers can get Maryland Automobile Insurance Fund quotes online.

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Eric Stauffer is a former insurance agent and banker turned consumer advocate. His priority is to help educate individuals and families about the different types of insurance they need, and assist them in finding the best...

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UPDATED: Sep 16, 2020

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Previously known as Maryland Auto Insurance Fund (MAIF), Maryland Auto Insurance is a state-run insurance program. They provide insurance to drivers unable to find coverage from private insurance companies.

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.

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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.

Rates

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.

Claims

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.

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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.

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Review Information

About Eric Stauffer

Author: Eric StaufferI am a former insurance agent and banker turned consumer advocate. My priority is to help educate individuals and families about the different types of insurance they need, and assist them in finding the best place to get it.

8 Comments

  1. It took 3 months for my claim to resolved.

    I was rear-ended and suffered back pain.

    I was on pain killers for a couple of months in December 2019.

    I finally spoke to someone and now they’re telling me they could offer me $100.

    Are you kidding me

    Reply
  2. My experience is consistent with all of the above comments, including those concerning MAIF’s business model.

    My parked car was rear-ended by a driver who was not the owner of the other vehicle, which was insured by MAIF.

    MAIF stalled for 6 weeks, claiming it could not reach the owner to verify that the driver had been authorized to drive her car (the driver was the owner’s niece and had the keys, so that argument would have been a loser in court).

    Getting MAIF to return phone calls was difficult if not impossible.

    I too found that I could at least talk to someone if I asked for the adjuster’s supervisor and generally acted like a squeaky wheel.

    In the end, they paid the claim 6 weeks after the accident occurred.

    With any other insurer, the matter would have been resolved in a week.

    My damage was relatively minor, and my car remained fully operable.

    My advice to someone dealing with MAIF concerning an inoperable vehicle is: rent a car immediately and let MAIF know that you’ve done that and that the meter is running on the car rental charges, which MAIF will have to pay if their insured is liable.

    That may prompt MAIF to speed things up.

    You’ll also get their attention if you file suit against their insured without waiting for MAIF, since they’ll have to defend the suit even if they think their insured isn’t liable for some reason (remember that, ultimately, a court will decide who’s liable, not MAIF).

    This will add to MAIF’s costs, therefore impinging on its business model.

    Filing suit isn’t expensive by itself; litigation only gets expensive if it moves forward after a suit is filed.

    In any case, be prepared for a very annoying experience.

    Reply
  3. I too am suffering through the abhorrent claims service of MAI.

    After some research, my conclusion is that this behavior is de rigueur at this agency and a part of their business model, resulting in a huge cost saving for MAI while inflicting more harm upon its accident victims.

    Filing suit against MAI is the only option.

    Reply
  4. Auto insurance in Md is simply a cash cow for insurance companies, and when there is an accident, the insurance goes up, in my case, 82%. I may as well be my own insurance
    co. Add up all those years I paid the insurance bill, and what did it get me. Nothing No credit at all for all those accident free years. How can they get away with this injustice.
    Maybe, the Md legislators? campain donations?? well shut my mouth. Unless there is a huge complaint from many people this will never change. The law is on the insurance companies side, excuse me, bought off is a better word.

    Reply
  5. I had an accident involving a vehicle insured by MAIF on 6-9-2017. I was told by MAIF that the person driving the vehicle was not the person covered. My car was rear ended and I have not been able to get anything done towards repairing my truck from MAIF. They are supposed to be determining if they are going to cover the repair costs. I am very disappointed with this company. My insurance company cannot move forward until I get a letter from MAIF saying they will not cover me, so as of today I am waiting with no vehicle to drive and no idea when a decision with be forthcoming in this matter. At this point I will discourage anyone thinking about using MAIF for their coverage. Claim [Redacted]

    Reply
    • I am having the exact same situation. A company insured by MAIF damaged my vehicle as well. That company took responsibility for it and stated they would pay for the damages. Unfortunately, MAIF denied my claim as well, for the same reason as you. The driver of the company vehicle was not insured. I too am waiting for the letter of denial so that I can move this forward with another insurance company (Agero). Who would have imagined that MAIF wouldn’t have fax or email capability in the 21st Century and its policy is to only use USPS. I am beyond livid!

      Reply
  6. Mr. Stauffer,

    My neighbor and I were hit by an individual insured by MAIF. I’ve attempted to contact the company’s representatives with no luck. I have been unable to go to work for two shifts (loss of income $130) and have been getting a ride to my full-time job only. The representatives at the claims department tell me to be patient, but my company, Elephant Auto, sent an appraiser out a day after Labor Day and assessed the damage done to my car by the carrier of MAIF. I am extremely upset with the lack of contact and progress being made for my case.

    Please help.

    Sincerely,

    Mr. Tracy Hartman

    Reply
    • Hi Tracy,

      The first thing I would do is get on the phone with your insurance company and see if they cover a rental car in this situation. If they do, that will at least buy you some time while they get it sorted out.

      If they do not cover a car rental, then I would make it my part-time job to keep calling MAIF. People underestimate the value of being the “squeaky wheel” in these situations. Get a manager (or two) on the phone, and keep calling them back until they start progressing through your claim.

      Best,
      Eric Stauffer

      Reply

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