Maryland Car Insurance
In the state of Maryland there a minimum levels of car insurance that a vehicle owner must purchase for their vehicle in order for it to be eligible to drive on public roads. As of 2011 these levels are set at $30,000 of bodily injury coverage per person, $60,000 of bodily injury coverage per accident and $15,000 in property damage coverage. All three of the above types of coverage are liability coverage, meaning that they only cover injuries and damages to other parties in an accident and not the policy holder. Maryland drivers are generally free to purchase more coverage if they want as long as they at least maintain the state required minimum in every coverage category. Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage is also a requirement in Maryland and minimum coverage requirements are the same as the minimum coverage requirements for liability insurance. When a Maryland driver purchases a car insurance policy they must also ensure that it includes a minimum of $2,500 in personal injury protection that will pay for any medical expenses of the policy holder or passengers in the insured vehicle.
Although many states have methods of keeping up to date on the car insurance status of their residents the state of Maryland requires vehicle owners to do much of the legwork. Insurance companies will notify the Motor Vehicle Authority when a policy has been canceled but if a resident cancels a car insurance policy and then purchases another one from a different company the new car insurance company will not notify the MVA of this new policy. Eventually, the MVA will send out a request of proof of insurance after it is notified that an insurance policy has been canceled and the resident will be required to provide the MVA with the requested proof of insurance. The MVA will also send out a request for proof of insurance if a driver accumulates more than three driving points on their record. When a driver purchases an insurance policy for a vehicle they are also required to send an F-19 insurance certificate to the MVA as proof that a vehicle is insured. The F-19 is typically provided by the insurance company and signed by an insurance agent that will certify that the vehicle in question has active insurance.
Uninsured motorist in Maryland could face a series of costly penalties if they are found to be driving without insurance or if they allow their insurance policy to lapse. Lapse penalties are probably the most common car insurance penalties in the state of Maryland and while they may not be initially costly, the longer a vehicle goes without insurance the more penalties it will incur. The fee for the first 30 days of an insurance lapse is typically $150 and after that initial 30 days the fee will grow by $7 for each day that a vehicle remain uninsured. Driving without insurance can also result in a driver losing their license and having their registration suspended, both of which will result in more fees that must be paid to the MVA. A driver that has an outstanding penalty for driving without insurance will not be able to register any vehicles until all penalties are cleared. The same goes for car insurance violations that have not yet been handled by the court; until a violation is addressed by the court a driver will not be able to get their license or registration unsuspended even if they have paid all required fines. This is due to the fact that when an insurance violation must work its way through the court added fees or penalties may be handed down, especially if it is not a driver’s first time being caught without insurance. In order to avoid penalties for a lapse in insurance drivers who sell or transfer the ownership of a vehicle should notify the MVA of a change in status immediately. Perhaps one of the most severe penalties is reserved for motorists that attempt to fool law enforcement officers or the MVA by providing false proof of insurance. A driver that is guilty of this infraction will be forced to pay a fine up to $1,000 and could even be sentenced up to a year in prison.
Unlike most other states, Maryland allows a policy holder to excluded insurance coverage for other people in the household. Most states allow insurance companies to automatically cover everyone in the same house as the policy holder whether they want the added coverage or not but in Maryland all a policy holder has to do is request that certain people be excluded. This is useful for homes with two or more vehicles and a young driver that will inflate the car insurance premiums. Maryland state law also allows insurance companies to take the credit score of a policy holder into account when determining premiums for customers.