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Minimum Car Insurance in Maryland

All motor vehicles registered in Maryland must carry insurance under Maryland law (Transportation Code §17-103), and all motor vehicles registered in Maryland must carry insurance.

What Is the Minimum Required Car Insurance in Maryland?

The minimum car insurance required is:

  • $30,000 for bodily injury per person (and for uninsured motorist coverage),
  • $60,000 for bodily injury for two or more persons (again, also for uninsured motorist coverage)
  • $15,000 for property damage.
  • No minimum for PIP coverage

Uninsured motorist coverage is also required. This coverage protects you and your passengers if you are involved in an accident with an uninsured driver or if the at-fault driver’s insurance coverage is insufficient to cover your expenses.

Maryland requires minimums that mirror the minimum liability coverage:

Type of Coverage Amount
UM Coverage for Bodily Injury (Per Person) $30,000
UM Coverage for Bodily Injury (Per Accident) $60,000
Property Damage Coverage $15,000

Why are Maryland’s minimum car insurance requirements so low? The truth is Maryland is in line with most states.

A few outliers, like Maine and Alaska, have higher limits. But most states are in line with or even behind Maryland. California, remarkably, is 15/30/50.

Why Shouldn’t You Should Get Minimum Auto Coverage?

You should selfishly carry far more insurance than the minimum policy limits in Maryland for two reasons. The first reason for taking just the minimum coverage is foolish is obvious. You might get in an accident that is your fault, and the claim’s value could exceed your policy limits.

Protecting Yourself from Liability

One of two things can happen when this happens, and they are both terrible for you. First, the victim can get a verdict against you that exceeds your insurance limits. In this case, the victim can go after your assets and future wages and otherwise make your life miserable.

The second scenario is less understood and more likely to come back to bite you in real life. If you do not have enough insurance, the victim’s uninsured motorist coverage pays the victim for the difference between the claim’s value and your insurance policy.

That works for a moment. But the victim’s insurance company may reserve the right to bring a claim against you for whatever they paid out. This concept is called subrogation. These insurance companies have an entire cottage industry with lawyers who do nothing but beat down people who find themselves in this situation of not having enough coverage.

More Insurance Coverage for You

But the risk of personal exposure pales compared to this more critical risk: the other driver does not have enough insurance to cover your loss. Like the second scenario above, your insurance company does step in under this scenario if your insurance coverage exceeds the person who caused your injuries. (On most policies, your uninsured motorist coverage mirrors your liability coverage, so if you have, for example, a $300,000 policy limit for your negligence, that would be the same policy limit for your uninsured motorist coverage.)

Our lawyers cannot underscore the gravity of this. We have had clients in death cases in paraplegia cases, where they only got the minimum insurance limits. People don’t realize this. They get so angry that the person who hit them was so irresponsible to have so little coverage without truly appreciating that they could have protected themselves if they had had better insurance coverage themselves.

What is most frustrating for victims in these cases is just how little it would have cost to get the coverage that would have provided more protection. In most cases, you can dramatically increase your coverage limits for less than $100 a year. Remember that most people have much less insurance coverage than they think they do.

What to Do When You Have an Accident with a Driver with the Minimum Coverage?

If the at-fault driver has minimum coverage and you have minimum coverage, your options are slim. But if you have a larger policy, there may be a path to recovery beyond the at-fault driver’s policy.

Underinsured Motorist (UIM) coverage in Maryland is designed to provide protection when you are involved in an accident with a driver whose insurance coverage is insufficient to cover the costs associated with the accident. This coverage protects you and your passengers if the at-fault driver’s policy limits are inadequate.

UIM coverage comes into play when the at-fault driver’s insurance policy limits are exhausted and the compensation received is insufficient to cover your damages. For example, if your medical expenses and lost wages amount to $100,000, but the at-fault driver’s liability coverage limit is $30,000, if you have $300,000 in UIM coverage, it would help cover the remaining $270,000, up to your policy limits. If you opted for coverage that stacks (which few people do), the coverage would increase to $330,000.

Call Us Today for a Free Consultation

If you suspect the other driver’s insurance coverage may be insufficient to cover your expenses, consult a Maryland personal injury attorney who can help you understand your options and navigate the legal process.  You can call us 24 hours a day at 800-553-8082. For a free consultation with a Maryland personal injury lawyer via the Internet, click here.

Relevant Maryland Case Law

There has not been any new case law in recent years that drills down on Maryland’s minimum insurance limits, but these cases are related to how coverage works in our state:

  • Wilson v. Nationwide, 395 Md. 524, 910 A.2d 1122 (2006). The Maryland high court affirms that public policy permits fellow employee exclusions as they are liability exclusions in automobile policies. This exclusion prevents an employer from maintaining employee coverage under worker’s compensation and business automobile insurance policies.
  • Larimore v. American Ins. Co., 314 Md. 617, 552 A.2d 889(1989). The court held that the minimum coverage still applied because the fellow employee exclusion was authorized by the Maryland requirement that all vehicles maintain insurance. So if the policy says there is no coverage, you still have the minimum.
  • West American Ins. Co. v. Popa, 352 Md. 455, 723 A.2d 1 (1998). The court found that a provision excluding a vehicle owned and operated by a self-insurer, governmental unit, or agency was void because it was against sound public policy.
  • Leonard v. Sav-A-Stop Services, 289 Md. 204, 424 A.2d 336 (1981). The Maryland high court found an employer had no duty to inform an employee that a fellow employee exclusion in a commercial car insurance policy could result in only minimal coverage.
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