According to the latest National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) annual report 2009/10, Maryland has one of the lowest rates of serious injuries and fatalities on the roads in the country. The “fatality rate” (road deaths per 100,000 population) is nearly 20 per cent below the national average, yet car owners in Maryland pay around 10 per cent more than the national average for auto insurance.
Part of the reason for the high cost of Maryland car insurance is the requirement to carry personal injury protection and uninsured/underinsured motorist protection as well as third party liability insurance with a fairly high minimum limit. However, a closer look at the NHTSA annual report will reveal that, as much as car drivers in Maryland are amongst the safest on the roads, on the pavements they are deadly – being responsible for the fourth highest rate of pedestrian deaths in America!
Maryland Car Insurance Requirements
As mentioned above, Maryland car insurance requirements are quite stringent and, with no alternatives available for proving financial responsibility, auto insurance in Maryland is compulsory. With over 100,000 crashes reported in 2008, and harsh penalties for being uninsured, it makes sense to have at least the minimum Maryland car insurance requirements.
Liability limits and types of car insurance required in Maryland:-
$30,000 for injury/death to one person
$60,000 for injury/death to more than one person
$15,000 for damage to property
$2,500 for personal injury protection (* see below)
$30,000/$60,000 for uninsured/underinsured motorist protection
(*) You can choose limited personal injury protection which covers any non-family occupant of your car if you already have alternative medical and hospitalization insurance beyond $2,500.
Maryland Auto Insurance Laws
Maryland auto insurance laws come into effect the second you wish to register a new vehicle. Like many States, the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) want to see proof that you have auto insurance in Maryland, however they will not register your vehicle until you have completed a form FR-19 – effectively pledging that you are going to maintain the minimum Maryland car insurance requirements throughout the lifetime of the vehicle ownership.
Should you cancel your car insurance in Maryland, the MVA are notified straight away by your insurers. Therefore, if you change your auto insurance policy to a different Maryland car insurance company you must inform the MVA and send them a new form FR-19 – otherwise the MVA will assume you have no car insurance at all. Similarly, if you start collecting points against your driving license, you will get a letter telling you to re-file the FR-19. This is because it is likely that your car insurance in Maryland will become more expensive.
Maryland auto insurance laws are adamant that a valid insurance card is kept in your car at all times. If you are stopped by a law enforcement officer without auto insurance in Maryland, you will be fined up to $1,000, have your vehicle registration suspended and potentially face up to a year in prison. You will have to pay a $150.00 uninsured motorist fee, plus $7.00/day for each day (after 30 days) you have not renewed your vehicle registration, for which you will have to file another FR-19, an SR-22 insurance form and pay a further $25.00 vehicle registration restoration fee.
Recommended Maryland Car Insurance Coverage
Most experts in the insurance industry recommend that you carry at least 100/300/100 in liability coverage to give you complete peace of mind in the event of an accident. If you are the at-fault party in a road traffic accident, and your liability limits are less than what it takes to adequately compensate the other driver, you could possibly face court action and become personally liable to cover the difference. Increasing your liability to ten times the minimum liability limit for car insurance in Maryland does not cost ten times the amount, so worth considering if it is affordable.
Some people believe that having comprehensive car insurance in Maryland is adequate for your needs, but this is not the case. Comprehensive car insurance is a useful add-on to third party liability insurance to cover theft of your vehicle, own-fault accidents and damage to your vehicle due to inclement weather, but it is not suitable as stand-alone insurance auto insurance coverage in Maryland. Inasmuch as comprehensive auto insurance in Maryland is recommended should you own a valuable car (or necessary if it is purchased with finance), car owners in Maryland driving an older car may wish to overlook this insurance option.
Cheap Maryland Car Insurance Quotes
Even when you feel that you are getting the best deal with your auto insurance in Maryland, there is no harm in shopping around for a better one! There are a series of measures you can take to attract cheap Maryland car insurance quotes which include fitting anti-theft devices to your car, introducing safety features such as automatic seatbelts, and participating in a State approved advanced driving course.
Some car insurance companies in Maryland also offer Pay-as-you-Drive auto insurance and, if you do not use your car to commute to work, you could save up to 50 per cent on your auto insurance rates in Maryland. You could also save money on your Maryland car insurance by paying a full year´s premiums in advance, paying a higher deductable on collision and comprehensive policies or by using the insurer for other policies (home, life, etc.) to get a multiple policy discount.
Maryland Car Insurance Ratings
The most influential element of a Maryland car insurance quote is your personal insurance rating. This rating represents how much risk the car insurance company is taking by offering you auto insurance in Maryland and is based on historical data about the driving habits of people your age, gender and occupation. Many other factors combine to create your Maryland car insurance rating, and we have listed some of these below.
- Credit Rating – A good credit rating will indicate to a car insurance company in Maryland that you are financially responsible. The car insurance company translates this responsibility to the road and rewards you with discounted Maryland auto insurance rates.
- Marital Status – You are also considered to be more responsible if you are married. Historical statistics indicate that fewer married people are involved in serious “at-fault” road traffic accidents, and – you will be glad to hear – even less when you start to have children.
- Where You Live – Although car insurance rates in Maryland are generally higher than the national average, in urban areas they will be higher than in rural areas, and in urban areas with a high degree of car theft (see below), higher still.
- Year, Make and Model of Vehicle – A modern security-conscious vehicle may be more valuable than your neighbors twenty-year-old gas guzzler, but because your car is safer to drive on the roads, you may pay lower car insurance rates than the guy next door.
- Your Driving History – Young drivers do not have the opportunity to develop a good driving history before they require auto insurance in Maryland and are penalized because of this. Once you have driven safely and without a claim for a number of years, you will benefit from discounted auto insurance rates in Maryland.
Most Stolen Vehicles in Maryland
The make and model of your car will also influence car insurance companies in Maryland if it appears on the National Insurance Crime Bureau´s “Hot Wheels” list. Each year the National Insurance Crime Bureau publishes a list of the most frequently stolen vehicles State-by-State and, if your car appears on this list, you had better tell your insurance company about any anti-theft devices you have added to your car.
The most commonly stolen vehicles in Maryland in 2010 were:-
- Honda Accord
- Dodge Caravan
- Honda Civic
- Toyota Camry
- Dodge Intrepid
- Ford Crown Victoria
- Grand Cherokee
- Nissan Maxima
- Dodge Stratus
- Plymouth Voyager
Where You Car May Get Stolen in Maryland
The National Insurance Crime Bureau also produces a list each year of the top 360 metropolitan districts in the country which suffer the highest levels of car theft per capita. If you live in any of these “Hot Spots” you are likely to be paying more for your car insurance in Maryland than elsewhere in the State. Although moving to a different area might be a considered a little radical to save a few bucks on your Maryland auto insurance, you might like to know why you are paying more than other people you know and want to take extra precautions to safeguard the security of your vehicle.
Only six metropolitan districts within the State of Maryland were deemed sufficiently “crime-worthy” to feature on the National Insurance Crime Bureau´s list. The six (and their national position in brackets) for 2010 were as follows:-
- Baltimore (70)
- Arlington (78)
- Wilmington (123)
- Hagerstown (231)
- Salisbury (236)
- Cumberland (339)
Maryland Car Insurance Companies
Despite the high volume of road traffic accidents in Maryland – particularly those involving pedestrians – car insurance companies are keen to offer auto insurance and the market for consumers is very competitive. The list below is a comprehensive selection of car insurance companies in Maryland and it is your best interests to contact as many as possible before your next car insurance renewal to see if you can get a better deal. Those which are underlined have been reviewed by us already, and you can read what we have to say about Maryland auto insurance companies by clicking on the links to the right of the page.
|AAA Mid-Atlantic||First Liberty||Ohio Casualty|
|Agency Insurance Company||First National||Omni|
|American Bankers||Great Northern||Pennsylvania National|
|American Family Home||Guardian Casualty Insurance||Progressive|
|AMEX Assurance||Hartford||Seminole Casualty|
|AMICA Mutual||Horace Mann||Sentinel|
|Atlantic Mutual||IDS||Standard Fire|
|Bankers Independent||Infinity||State Auto|
|Brethren Mutual||Interstate Auto||State Farm|
|California Casualty||Kemper Independence||Teachers|
|Donegal Mutual||Markel||United Farm Family|
|Erie||Mutual Benefit||Virginia Surety|
|Farmers||National Union Fire||West American|
It can also be to your advantage to use the free car insurance comparison tool at the top of the page. Do not forget that if you change car insurance companies in Maryland that you have to file another FR-19 form and, although this might be a little bit of hassle for you, the savings you can make by comparing Maryland car insurance quotes will more than justify the extra trouble you experience.