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Maryland Car Insurance Basics

Drivers in Maryland should be informed about the car insurance requirements for their state. That way, they can check their insurance policies or speak with their company's representatives to determine whether their policy meets their state's demands. While it may seem like the auto insurance company should track this information, the individual motorist is the one who will be held responsible by the state of MD if they do not carry the correct auto insurance.

Basic Insurance Requirements

There are three types of auto insurance that all Maryland drivers must carry. The first of these is liability insurance. This insurance coverage pays the costs of other people's damages in an accident that you cause. Even if you are a safe driver who has never had an accident in your entire driving career, the state of Maryland asks that you carry this type of insurance, just in case something happens.

Liability insurance comes in two different varieties. The first of these is property damage insurance. As its name implies, this coverage pays the costs of repairing or replacing any property damaged in an accident that you cause. Because most auto accidents involve vehicles, the property in question is usually the other driver's car. However, this coverage will also pay if you damage a building, sign, lawn, fence, or any other piece of property.

You must carry at least $15,000 worth of this coverage per accident. This means that your insurance company will pay up to that amount to cover other people's damages. Any damage above that amount would be your personal responsibility.

The second flavor of liability insurance is bodily injury coverage. This insurance is usually used to pay the medical bills of other people who are injured in an accident that you cause. It can also be used to pay other peoples' funeral costs if they are killed in the accident or as a result of it. Sometimes, this coverage will also pay for wages lost as a result of injuries from the accident or in-home health care that is required.

You must carry at least $20,000 worth of this coverage for any one person injured in an accident, and $40,000 worth of coverage per accident. Again, these amounts are the maximums that your insurance company will pay. Medical and/or funeral costs above these amounts will be your responsibility.

Maryland also requires each of its drivers to carry uninsured motorist insurance coverage. This coverage pays for your property repair or replacement costs and medical bills if you are in an accident that is caused by a driver who does not have the state's required types and amounts of automobile insurance. It assures that you will get the medical care you need and that you will not have to pay to repair your vehicle yourself in case of an accident. You must carry it in the same amounts required for liability insurance: $15,000 in property damage coverage, $20,000 for one person injured in an accident and $40,000 medical coverage per accident.

Finally, Maryland drivers must carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage of at least $2,500. This insurance will pay for your medical bills regardless of who caused the accident. Because Maryland is a no-fault state, you can choose to have this coverage pay your bills instead of the at-fault driver's insurance. While the auto insurance companies may settle the bills differently later, you will not have to be involved if you have this coverage.

Note that the amounts of insurance required by the state are only minimums. Accidents can cost much more than these amounts, so you may actually want to purchase more of each type.

Other Maryland Insurance Requirements

In addition to having the correct types and minimum amounts of auto insurance, drivers in Maryland must always carry proof of their insurance in their vehicle, and must show this to any officer of the law who demands to see it. Drivers must also have proof of their automobile insurance when they go to register their vehicle. If they cannot show proof of insurance at that time, the state will not grant them vehicle registration.

If a motorist is caught without the minimum required types and amounts of car insurance, the penalties are stiff. They can be fined up to $1000 and will spend up to a year in jail. Maryland takes its insurance laws very seriously, because the state's lawmakers want all drivers to be safe on the roads. These penalties help ensure that every driver takes the state's auto insurance laws seriously.

These are the basic vehicle insurance requirements for all drivers in Maryland. Be sure you know them well if you plan to driver in the state. If you have any additional questions, the Maryland Insurance Administration can answer them. Contact them via their website at http://www.mdinsurance.state.md.us.

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