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Maryland Car Insurance Requirements
by Doug Cohen

Car insurance rates in Maryland, the Old Line State, will always to go up and down. This is why it's so important to comparison shop car insurance to find the cheapest insurance you can without sacrificing quality. But before you do, know what's required and what is optional to make a more informed decision.

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So What is the Mandatory Car Insurance Law?
Maryland is a No Fault State which requires all drivers, whether in Baltimore or Bowie, Frederick or Gaithersburg, Rockville or Hagerstown, Annapolis or College Park, to have an insurance policy with at least the following required minimum limits.

Maryland's Required Minimum Limits:
Maryland law requires you to carry the following car insurance coverage and limits:

Liability Coverage (mandatory):
$20,000 per person, for bodily injury,
$40,000 per accident, for bodily injury, and
$15,000 per accident, for damage to anotherís property, usually their car.

Uninsured / Underinsured Motorist (optional):
$20,000 per person
$40,000 per accident

Comprehensive (optional): Covers physical damage to your auto that results from non-collision damage, subject often times to a deductible.

Collision (optional): Covers damage to your car that results from a collision with another car or object, subject to a deductible.

Proof of Insurance
Always keep current proof of Maryland auto insurance in the car with you at all times especially if you're driving through Washington DC or Virginia where the laws vary.

Penalties for Uninsured Vehicle Owners:

  • Lose license plates and vehicle registration privileges.
  • Pay uninsured motorist penalty fees for each lapse of insurance - $150 for the first 30 days, $7 for each day thereafter.
  • Pay a restoration fee of up to $25 for a vehicle's registration.
  • Be prohibited from registering any future vehicles until all insurance violations are cleared.
  • Be prohibited from renewing a suspended registration until all insurance violations are cleared.
  • Have license plates confiscated by an authorized tag recovery agent, once a registration suspension is in effect.
  • Pay a fine of up to $1,000 and/or one year imprisonment for providing false evidence of insurance.

Note: These penalties are in addition to any fines or penalties imposed by a court of law.

Any time you request, the insurance company will provide you proof for each car covered under your policy and if you purchase your insurance from InstantCarInsurance.com or from Ensurance.com you can also print your ID cards instantly online, anytime of day, for free.

The insurance ID card includes the name of the car insurance company, the insurance policy number, and the insurance policy effective and expiration dates. It also includes a description of the insured car(s) and usually the name(s) of the First Named Driver on the policy.

Maryland has mandatory financial responsibility laws that are easily satisfied through buying car insurance from a licensed Maryland Insurance Company or agent. All registered cars and trucks are required to have minimum liability coverage, although InstantCarInsurance.com recommends that you buy higher limits and additional types of coverage as you can afford.

Proof of Insurance - Frequently-Asked Questions:
When must I provide proof of insurance to the MVA?

  • When your previous insurer informs the MVA your policy has been cancelled, and the MVA notifies you that proof of insurance is necessary. Your new company does not automatically notify the MVA.
  • If you receive a letter from the MVA for the accumulation of at least three driving points.

Why must I provide proof of insurance?

The law protects the public and helps reduce insurance costs by identifying Uninsured Motorists and keeping them off the roads.

What is meant by proof of insurance? How do I provide it?

When the MVA requests a proof of insurance, a Maryland Insurance Certification (FR-19) is the only acceptable form of verification. The ID card and actual policy are not acceptable.

Maryland Insurance Certification: (FR-19)
When you register or renew a vehicle registration, you must sign an insurance certification. Your signature acknowledges that the minimum vehicle liability insurance will be maintained throughout the registration periods and the vehicle will not be driven without insurance.

  • It can only be issued by an insurance company licensed to do business in Maryland or an authorized agent of such a company.
  • It's only valid for 30 days.
  • It's free of charge from your insurance company or authorized agent and should be mailed or brought to an MVA full-service office along with the request form from the MVA.
  • It can be faxed to the MVA by your insurance company or authorized agent.
  • Photocopies are not accepted.

Where can I find a licensed Maryland Auto Insurance Company?
Go to the top of this page to begin your quote and by completing one application you will instantly be shopping up to 15 car insurance companies at once.

To Change Insurance Information on MVA Records:
You need to provide the MVA with your name and address, vehicle title number, new insurance company name (not agency), and new policy number. You can provide the information by:

  1. Mailing it to:
        Motor Vehicle Administration
        Insurance Compliance Division, Room 140
        6601 Ritchie Highway, N.E.
        Glen Burnie, MD 21062
  2. Emailing the MVA Insurance Compliance Division at insurance@mdot.state.md.us.
  3. Calling 1-888-768-7431 and speaking with a customer service representative. You may also need to provide written verification of the new policy.

How to Find the Best Auto Insurance Rates in Maryland?
It is very important to comparison shop for the best coverage in Maryland at the lowest rates. Let's face it, Maryland auto insurance is not cheap! But there are many online resources that provide free quotes from licensed Maryland insurance companies approved by the Maryland MVA. If you think you may be paying too much for auto insurance, Maryland residents can save time and money by comparing car insurance quotes quickly and anonymously between all the top name auto insurance carriers simply by logging on to InstantCarInsurance.com.

Just remember, the State of Maryland requires minimum car insurance limits of 20/40/15 as long as you have a valid Maryland car registration. Keep this in mind when shopping for basic coverage and evaluate it against car insurance quotes with higher coverage limits for a little more money. Cheap car insurance is not always the best car insurance.

The Maryland Department or Transportation recommends the following tips for lowering your auto insurance bill:

Shopping for Personal Automobile Insurance
Gather information you'll need before you begin to shop. Be reminded that the cheapest deal isn't always the best deal. Good insurance value means finding the right price, best coverage, and quality service. Answer all questions truthfully and correctly. Check to see what discounts can save you money. Make sure the premium charge quotes you get are for the same term and coverage. For example, not all companies will offer the same options and deductibles. Decide what you need before shopping.

Tips For Lowering Your Premium

  • Shop around and compare prices.
  • Maintain a good driving record.
  • Take the highest deductible you can afford on collision and comprehensive coverage.
  • On cars with market value less than $3,000, consider carrying only liability coverage.
  • Pay your premium well in advance of due date. No grace period applies to automobile insurance.
  • Review your policy periodically and update coverage accordingly.

For parents of teen-aged drivers: If your teenagers donít own cars, name them on your policy as occasional operators of your least expensive cars. They may be named as an occasional driver if they donít drive to and from school or work. If they do own cars, cover them under your policy. This would also qualify you for a multi-car discount. It is important that you report actual driving habits to the company. Itís not uncommon to have juveniles automatically assigned to your most expensive car.

Check into discounts for a driverís education course or good academic record. If the young driver goes to school more than 150 miles awayówithout a caróanother discount may apply.

Young singles on their own: Avoid high performance or ďturbo cars.Ē A turbo engine can add more than 15 percent to your premium.

Older people: Take a defensive-driving course thatís approved by the State Board of Education or National Safety Council. You may earn a 5 to 15 percent discount off your premium. Call our Consumer Assistance Toll-free Hot Line.

Ask About Discounts
Ask your agent or company if you are eligible for any discounts. Here are some discounts you should ask about:

  • Two or more cars on a policy
  • Motor Vehicle Accident Prevention Course
  • Driver Education Courses
  • Good student drivers under age 20
  • Mature driver (between 40 and 65 years of age)
  • Airbags, anti-lock braking system, and other safety equipment
  • Anti-theft devices
  • Low mileage
  • Carpooler
  • Clean driving record
  • Accident free record
  • Auto/home insurance on same policy or with same company

One last tip: Shop, and shop often! Why? Most people do not realize that insurance companies change rates continuously and typically repost new rates twice monthly. Therefore we recommend returning and re-rating your cars on the 1st and the 16th of each month just to be sure you are still getting the best deal and the rock-bottom, lowest, cheapest price you can for car insurance! Why not? Itís free.

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