In the state of Maryland, obtaining a driver's license doesn't automatically mean that a person is legally allowed to operate a motor vehicle. Anyone who drives in the state must also maintain valid liability car insurance. For that reason, this type of coverage is easy to find. After all, there are more than a million licensed drivers in the Old Line State. At the same time, drivers should be discerning about the policies that they buy. Prices vary considerably, and quality does too. With a small amount of research, drivers can get terrific coverage without breaking the bank.
When shopping for car insurance in Maryland, the logical first thing to do is to find out what kinds of laws are in place regarding auto insurance coverage. Insurance providers in the state are generally aware of the requirements, but drivers should know the basics themselves as well. Some drivers incorrectly assume that buying policies with the minimum requirements is enough. That's rarely the case. A good way to understand why more extensive coverage is warranted is by considering who drives in the state. Millions of people share the road in Maryland, so it pays to buy excellent insurance.
Who Drives in Maryland?
According to estimates by the U.S. Census Bureau, Maryland had a population of 5,884,563 in 2012. Statistics about driving in Maryland are tracked by the Federal Highway Administration, which reports that there were 3,856,604 licensed drivers in Maryland as of November 2012. This means that 65.5 percent of the population is legally allowed to drive. The remaining 34.5 percent of people are either children, seniors or people who aren't able to drive for various reasons. 1,875,291 people, or 48.63 percent of all licensed drivers, were men; 1,981,313 people, or 51.37 percent of all licensed drivers, were women.
A person's insurance premiums shouldn't be impacted by his or her gender. However, car insurance companies do take age into consideration. There are many valid reasons for this. Younger drivers have much less experience and are more likely to end up in accidents. In the state of Maryland, there were 123,449 licensed drivers aged 19 and below as of November 2012, so they accounted for 3.2 percent of all drivers in the state. Drivers between the ages of 45 and 49 totaled 408,331 people, or 10.6 percent of the total.
Car Insurance Requirements in Maryland
Every legally registered vehicle in the state of Maryland has to have car insurance coverage. As with most other states, drivers are legally required to prove financial responsibility, which means that they have the means to cover damages that are caused by their actions in car accidents. Unlike many states, however, Maryland only gives drivers one way to do this: by purchasing liability car insurance. Alternatives like posting surety bonds or using self-insurance are off the table.
In Maryland, there are specific minimum requirements for auto insurance. Without purchasing insurance that meets these requirements, drivers are technically breaking the law.
The basic requirements for liability car insurance in Maryland are:
- At least $20,000 in bodily injury coverage for a single person
- At least $40,000 in bodily injury coverage for two or more people
- At least $15,000 in property damage coverage
There are additional auto insurance requirements in Maryland. Drivers must have personal injury protection coverage for at least $2,500 in medical expenses. Uninsured motorist coverage is also required, and the minimums are equal to those for liability coverage.
Maryland enforces the liability insurance requirement in a number of ways. Drivers can't register vehicles without filing form FR-19, which confirms coverage and must be submitted to the Motor Vehicle Administration. Insurance companies are also required to notify the MVA of changes in insurance status.
Drivers who don't carry valid insurance may be fined $150 for the first 30 days without coverage and another $7 per day after that. Eventually, a driver's plates and registration may be revoked. Drivers who are caught using fake insurance face fines of up to $1,000 and up to one year in jail.