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Maryland car insurance laws

Bankrate logo Bankrate 7/8/2021 Joshua Cox-Steib
a car parked on a city street: Former mill town now antique center, Ellicott City, Maryland, USA © Walter Bibikow/Getty Images Former mill town now antique center, Ellicott City, Maryland, USA

Like most states, Maryland car insurance laws require its drivers to carry minimum coverage car insurance. Driving without insurance in Maryland is illegal and can result in severe consequences. Before driving in Maryland, save yourself the risk of legal troubles and learn the insurance laws first. Not only will this prevent legal difficulties, but it can help you to make sure you have the best coverage available to meet your needs.

Based on reports by the Maryland department of transportation, some traffic statistics have been gathered below. Couple with these accident reports are statistics from the Insurance Information Institute (iii) regarding the percentage of uninsured drivers in Maryland. These numbers can help explain Maryland auto insurance requirements and show how auto insurance can provide financial protection for drivers.

  • There were 115,926 total car crashes in Maryland in 2019.
  • Of those 115,926, there were 32,919 that caused bodily injury.
  • And 82,511 that caused property damage.
  • Roughly 14% of drivers were uninsured in Maryland in 2019.

Cars insurance laws in Maryland

Maryland car insurance laws require all drivers to carry basic liability coverage, also known as minimum coverage insurance. There are two coverage parts to this requirement, bodily injury liability and property damage liability. These coverages are designed to pay towards the expense of others you damage or injure in situations where you are at fault for the auto accident. Basic liability won’t pay towards your own injuries or damages.

  • Bodily injury: $30,000 per person, and $60,000 per accident
  • Property damage: $15,000 per accident

Liability insurance in Maryland

Maryland insurance laws require all drivers to carry minimum liability coverage. Maryland minimum car insurance includes coverage for bodily injury liability and property damage liability. However, it may not always be enough. Auto accidents can lead to costs steeper than the required coverage limits, leaving drivers to pay extra costs out of pocket. Some drivers choose to increase their coverage limits to help prevent this.

Another dilemma with basic liability coverage is that it is designed to pay another person’s expenses. For example, suppose you are at-fault for an accident. In that case, your minimum coverage will pay for the other driver's (and their passengers') expenses, but not your own. Basic liability is primarily to protect the persons that are not at fault.

Some drivers choose to add collision, comprehensive or medical coverage policies to their auto insurance. These policies protect you and your vehicle in the case of injuries or damages, even if you are at fault. Specifically, collision insurance helps with the cost of damages that occur to the car while being driven. Comprehensive insurance covers costs of damages that the vehicle sustains while not being driven. Many of Bankrate's top car insurance companies offer these policies in addition to minimum coverage plans.

Is Maryland a no-fault state?

Maryland is an at-fault state, also known as a torte state. This means that drivers are legally liable for the damages caused by their vehicles when they are deemed ‘at fault’ for the accident. In general, with an auto accident in an at-fault state, at least one driver will be determined to be at fault for the accident. When you are at fault, your basic liability coverage will pay towards the other driver’s expenses or injured parties. Meeting this financial obligation is part of why Maryland laws require auto insurance for all drivers.

Penalties for driving without insurance in Maryland

Driving without car insurance in Maryland is illegal and can land you in significant trouble. From fines to vehicle impounding, the costs of driving without auto insurance are often more expensive than the insurance would be.

If it is your first offense, you will be charged a $150 fine for the first month and then a $7 fine for every day after that (up to $2,500 per vehicle) until you provide proof of insurance. Considering that the average annual cost for a full coverage policy in the U.S. is only $1,674, it’s easy to see how driving uninsured could cost more.

Additional auto insurance coverage options in Maryland

Some drivers choose to add more coverage options to their minimum coverage plan. Things like comprehensive and collision insurance can help to fill in some of the gaps in basic liability. While none of these extra options are required by Maryland law, they can be helpful in the right circumstances.

  • Medical payments coverage: Medical payments coverage follows the insured driver and covers medical expenses, no matter who is at fault. These policies cover the insured as well as their passengers. This policy type can cover medical costs for the insured even if the injuries aren’t related to a traffic accident.
  • Uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage: Although Maryland law requires all drivers to carry insurance, some break that law and drive without it. Uninsured drivers can create a financial headache for anyone they have an accident with. Uninsured and underinsured motorist policies help protect against this situation. In essence, if you have one of these policies, it can fill in for the other driver’s basic liability coverage if they are at fault for the accident and have insufficient insurance.

Frequently asked questions

What is the best car insurance company in Maryland?

The best car insurance company varies between drivers. Different companies offer different rates and deals, and every driver has their own personalized needs. This variance is one reason why experts recommend shopping around between insurance providers when looking for a new policy. Consider comparing the companies in the Bankrate guide to the best car insurance companies in Maryland for 2021.

What is the cheapest car insurance in Maryland?

The cheapest car insurance for one person is not always the cheapest for another. Auto insurance providers determine their rates using numerous points of personalized data. These variables include things like age, driving record, insurance score, location and more. For a look at averages, consider the Bankrate guide to the cheapest car insurance companies in Maryland for 2021.

How much does car insurance cost in Maryland?

Maryland is a bit higher than the national average when it comes to annual car insurance costs. On average, in Maryland, a full coverage policy costs $1,877 per year. In contrast, the U.S. average for a full coverage policy is $1,674. A minimum coverage policy in Maryland costs an average of $767 per year.

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