From Cumberland to Ocean City, Hagerstown to Frederick, Maryland has hundreds of miles of roadways. They’ll take you from downtown Baltimore to Annapolis, from the Piedmont Region to the Chesapeake Bay. They’re used by 3.9 million licensed drivers, who each average 9,600 miles a each year. Along the way, they’re involved in thousands of traffic accidents, including many that result in serious injury or death. Wherever you live and drive in the Old Line State, carrying adequate car insurance is both a legal requirement and commonsense protection. This is your guide to Maryland’s basic vehicle insurance requirements and laws.
Maryland state law requires you to carry a minimum amount of car insurance. Failure to do so can result in severe penalties that may include monetary fines. Maryland has a tort system, which means that if you are found to be at fault in a car accident, you can be sued for actual damages (expenses associated with property damage and medical costs), economic damages (lost wages and earning capacity) and emotional and physical pain and suffering. However, Maryland also allows you to purchase personal injury protection.
The bare minimum car insurance requirement for Maryland drivers is:
$30,000 bodily injury per person per accident
$60,000 bodily injury for all persons per accident
Maryland will allow you waive the personal injury protection coverage and choose a limited PIP option. Maryland does not require you to carry additional coverage such as Collision and Comprehensive. However, if you own property or other valuable assets, supplementing the minimum requirements can help you protect yourself from monetary loss.
Penalties for Failure to Carry Maryland Auto Insurance
If you own a car in Maryland, you are required by law to maintain adequate insurance, keep proof of insurance in your vehicle and keep your registration tags current. Penalties for driving without insurance can include fines, revocation of your registration and confiscation of your license plates. Maryland requires insurers to inform the Motor Vehicle Administration if your insurance is canceled or lapses. You will be sent a notice from MVA to correct the problem immediately. If you fail to do so, you will be fined $150 for the first 30 days you are without insurance and $7 per day for every day after that. You will also be charged $25 to reinstate your registration and get your plates back.
Maryland Car Insurance Premiums
Vehicle insurance premiums are regulated by the Maryland Insurance Administration. Insurance companies are allowed to charge premiums and award discounts based on a number of factors that can include:
The type of car you are insuring
Prior auto insurance coverage
How much you drive
Your driving record
Your marital status
Your geographic location
How long you’ve been driving
Whether or not you use your car for business
Maryland also allows insurers to consider your credit rating to determine your premium.
How to Get the Cheapest Maryland Car Insurance Policy
You may be able to lower the cost of your premiums in the following ways:
Ask about available discounts for good driving habits, anti-theft devices, multiple cars on one policy, bundling your car insurance with your homeowners or renters policy, automatic or online payments and driving a hybrid or electric car
Compare quotes from a variety of providers on this website
Eliminate unnecessary coverage
Check to see if you qualify for any low-cost auto insurance program your state may offer
New Maryland Driving Laws
Laws regarding driving and car insurance can change frequently. It is your responsibility to stay current about the legal requirements in Maryland. The following laws have recently been enacted in Maryland and may affect your insurance coverage decisions.
There is a ban on texting while driving for all drivers and a ban on all cell phone (handheld and hands-free) for novice drivers. Since October 2013, it is a primary offense for Maryland drivers to use handheld cellphones while driving. The exception is calling 911 for emergencies. First time violations carry a $75 fine; second violations, $125; subsequent violations, $175.
sSince October 2013, everyone in any vehicle must wear a seat belt and it is against the law to transport more people in a vehicle than there are seat belts. Fines are $50 per unbelted passenger. Child safety seats are now mandatory of children under 8, unless the child is 4’9” or taller.