Updated October 13, 2022
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:
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.
Maryland requires three types of car insurance:
Let's take a closer look at each type of insurance.
The minimum amounts of liability coverage required in Maryland are:
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:
(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 minimum requirements for uninsured motorist coverage are identical to the state's liability requirements:
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).)
Personal injury protection (PIP) 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).)
In Maryland, you can get compensation for injuries, vehicle damage, and other car accident-related losses by:
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.
If you know or have reason to know that a car isn't insured and you drive (or allow someone else to drive) the car 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:
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.
If you've been involved in a car accident in Maryland, talk to a lawyer. A lawyer can answer your questions and explain your legal options.
Learn more about how an attorney can help you with your car accident claim and how to find the right lawyer. When you're ready, you can connect with a lawyer directly from this page for free.