If you operate a motor vehicle in Maryland, you’re required to maintain a certain level of liability insurance. The coverage requirement is designed to protect you and other parties from astronomical bills for medical care and property damage should a vehicle accident occur.
At a minimum, your insurance policy must include:
- $30,000 to cover injuries or death to one person — you, a passenger, a pedestrian or another driver.
- $60,000 to cover injuries or death to more than one person in one single accident.
- $15,000 to cover damage to property.
You may wish to have coverage amounts that are higher than the required minimums. If you cause an accident and are held liable, you could have to pay amounts that exceed your policy minimums.
Additional Maryland Insurance Requirements
Maryland requires that mandatory vehicle insurance be in effect at all times from an insurer that is licensed in the state. In addition, you’re required to return your license plate to a branch of the state’s Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) before canceling your insurance coverage.
If you move out of Maryland and don’t return your plates, you’re required to notify MVA and provide information including a copy of the current registration, the date you obtained title in another state, your Maryland title and tag number, and your insurance information.
If you move into Maryland and are continuing your vehicle insurance from the state where you previously lived, you’ll need to contact your insurer to convert the policy to one that is valid in Maryland. You’ll also need to make sure your insurer is licensed to do business in the state.
In addition to the liability minimums, Maryland requires that coverage for uninsured and underinsured motorists be included in all policies sold within the state. If you’re in an accident that is the fault of another driver, and that driver has insufficient insurance or no coverage at all, your uninsured motorist policy will cover your losses. If the other driver has some insurance but the policy does not cover all your losses, your policy will make up the difference.
Penalties for Failing to Insure a Vehicle
Driving with no vehicle insurance is against the law in Maryland. Uninsured motorists who are caught are subject to a number of fines and penalties:
- A fine of $150 for the first 30 days, plus $7 for each additional day. The maximum penalty can reach $2,500 per vehicle on an annual basis.
- Suspension of registration. Driving with a suspended registration can result in a vehicle being impounded, along with possible fines and ticketing. The restoration fee for registration can be as much as $25.
- When motorists fail to respond to insurance notifications from MVA, cases are sent to the Central Collections Unit. Once cases go to CCU, a 17-percent collection fee may be added to fines. In addition, income tax refunds can be taken.
In addition, an uninsured motorist may not be allowed to register additional vehicles until any violations have been resolved, and a motorist may not be able to renew a suspended registration until any insurance violations are resolved. License plates also may be confiscated when registration is suspended.
The penalty for providing false evidence of vehicle insurance is a fine of as much as $1,000 or a year in prison, or both. The penalties are in addition to any penalties or fines handed down by a court.
Providing Proof of Vehicle Insurance
You may be required to provide proof of vehicle insurance to Motor Vehicle Administration in several different circumstances:
- Your previous insurance company alerts MVA of your policy cancellation, and MVA notifies you that you will need to provide verification of insurance.
- MVA sends you a letter because you’ve accumulated three or more driving points.
- You register a vehicle with a new title, and MVA notifies you that insurance verification is required.
- MVA emails you to request verification of insurance.
When MVA requests verification of your vehicle insurance, the only acceptable format for providing it is with a Maryland Vehicle Insurance Certification form. Your insurance identification card or the full policy are not considered valid forms of verification.
Vehicle Insurance and Accidents
If you are involved in a vehicle accident, MVA advises that you contact your insurance agent right away and that you provide information about your insurance policy to anyone involved in the accident, along with law enforcement officers.
- Hit and Run Accidents: What to do?
- Who is Responsible for Fixing Your Car After an Accidents?
- How is Fault Determined After an Accident?