Maryland Car Insurance Requirements and Laws

A look at car insurance laws in Maryland, including minimum coverage requirments, penalties for driving without insurance, and more.

By , J.D. · University of San Francisco School of Law
Updated by Stacy Barrett, Attorney · UC Law San Francisco

To drive legally in Maryland, you need more than a valid driver's license. You also need car insurance that meets the minimum state requirements.

If you own or drive a car in Maryland, here's what you need to know about the state's car insurance laws:

  • You must carry liability insurance coverage, and uninsured motorist coverage, in order to register a vehicle in Maryland.
  • Maryland is a "fault" state—the driver who causes a crash in Maryland is on the hook for anyone else's injuries and other accident-related losses.
  • Drivers who are caught driving without insurance in Maryland face stiff penalties and lack financial protection if they are involved in an accident.

Is Maryland a "No-Fault" Car Accident State?

Maryland follows a fault-based insurance system. In "fault" states, the driver who is at fault for a car accident has to pay for the other party's "damages," including medical bills, car repairs, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

At-fault drivers typically rely on liability insurance to pay for damages, which is why Maryland law requires car owners and drivers to carry a minimum amount of liability insurance.

Car Insurance Requirements in Maryland

Maryland requires two types of car insurance:

  • liability insurance, and
  • uninsured motorist coverage.

Maryland's Liability Car Insurance Requirements

The minimum amounts of liability coverage required in Maryland are:

  • $30,000 for bodily injury or death of one person
  • $60,000 for bodily injury or death of more than one person, and
  • $15,000 for property damage.

Liability coverage pays for injuries, property damage, and other losses you cause in a car accident, up to coverage limits. You can purchase coverage above the minimum from your insurance company or agent.

Here are a few examples of the kinds of accidents liability insurance typically covers:

  • You rear-end another car in a parking lot and cause damage.
  • You crash into your neighbor's mailbox.
  • You hit a pedestrian in an intersection and cause injuries.

(Md. Code Transportation, § 17-103 (2022).)

Liability coverage doesn't cover your own injuries or vehicle damage after a Maryland car accident. You'll need additional coverage for that if you're involved in a car accident and no one else's coverage applies to your losses. For example, collision coverage can help pay to repair or replace your damaged vehicle after a car accident, regardless of who caused the crash. Collision coverage is optional in Maryland, but your car loan lender may require you to have it.

Your liability coverage will cover anyone named on the policy, most household members, and "permissive users." Permissive users are people who have permission to drive your car. Your liability insurance will also likely cover you if you get into an accident in a rental car.

Maryland's Uninsured Motorist Coverage Requirements

Maryland's minimum requirements for uninsured motorist coverage are identical to the state's liability requirements:

  • $30,000 for bodily injury or death for one person
  • $60,000 for bodily injury or death for more than one person, and
  • $15,000 for property damage.

Uninsured motorist coverage protects you and your passengers if you're hit by an uninsured or underinsured driver, or if you're the victim of a hit-and-run driver.

(Md. Code Insurance, § 19-509 (2022).)

Does Maryland Require Personal Injury Protection Car Insurance?

Not exactly. On top of the required coverages we just discussed, any car insurance policy issued in Maryland must include personal injury protection (PIP) coverage, unless the customer waives PIP coverage in writing.

Personal injury protection covers medical expenses and lost income for people who are injured in an accident, regardless of fault, up to $2,500. Full PIP in Maryland covers you, members of your family, and non-family passengers. You may also choose limited PIP, which excludes benefits for you and members of your family age 16 and over. Limited PIP costs less and makes sense if you already have good medical insurance.

(Md. Code Insurance, § 19-505 (2022).)

What Are My Options for Getting Compensation After a Maryland Car Accident?

In Maryland, you can get compensation for injuries, vehicle damage, and other car accident-related losses by:

  • filing a claim under your own personal injury protection or collision coverage
  • filing a third-party claim directly with the other driver's liability insurance carrier, if it's pretty clear that the other driver was at fault for the crash, or
  • filing a personal injury lawsuit in civil court against the other driver (usually after you've attempted to settle the matter and negotiations have reached an impasse).

Proof of Car Insurance In Maryland

Maryland requires vehicle owners and drivers to carry proof of insurance in their cars. If you're stopped for a traffic violation or involved in an accident, a law enforcement officer may write you a traffic citation if you can't provide proof of insurance.

If the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) requests proof of insurance, you'll have to provide a Maryland Insurance Certification (FR-19). You can get an FR-19 from your insurance company for free.

Penalties for Driving Without Insurance in Maryland

If you know or have reason to know that a car isn't insured and you drive it anyway, you can go to jail. First-time offenders face a fine of up to $1,000 and up to one-year imprisonment. Second or subsequent offenders face a fine of up to $1,000 and up to two years imprisonment. (Md. Code Transportation, § 17-107 (2022).)

According to the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration, other penalties for driving uninsured include:

  • $150 fine for the first 30 days and $7 for each additional day
  • registration suspension, and
  • collection fees.

As stiff as these penalties are, they pale in comparison to the financial hit you could take if you're in a car accident and you don't have car insurance.

Getting Help After a Maryland Car Accident

If you've been involved in a car accident in Maryland, you might want to discuss your options with a lawyer, especially if your injuries are serious and you're having trouble proving that the other driver was at fault. Learn more about how an attorney can help you with your car accident claim and how to find the right lawyer.

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