Maryland may be one of the smallest states, but it’s in the top 10 for highest average auto insurance premiums. Part of that’s due to the fact that it’s also one of the most densely populated states in the country. Also, its Mid-Atlantic location and position as a gateway between the north and south make it heavily traveled by non-locals. Both of these factors increase the risk of accidents for residents.
Comparing car insurance rates is one key to beating the high rates in Maryland, and it only takes a few minutes. SmartFinancial’s carrier-neutral service allows you to pick the coverages you want and compare companies to make sure your premium is as low as possible. It’s simple, fast, and can be done from the comfort of your home.
With so many car insurance carriers in Maryland, where do you start? We recommend first checking out the state’s top 3 providers (see the full list).
Whether you’re interested in insuring a new car or simply want to check out your options, comparing auto insurance rates is an excellent way to get the best coverage for your money. Make sure any quotes you receive are for the same limits, deductibles, coverages, and discounts. That way, you’ll have all the information you need to make the right choice.
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Car insurance is an investment in your fiscal security. Without it—or without enough coverage—an accident can be financially devastating. Drivers may elect to purchase more than the required minimum protections to safeguard against medical expenses, high repair bills, lawsuits, and other costs.
Maryland Driving Safety
Traffic crashes kill more people each year in Maryland than homicides, making them the number one killer of people between 4 and 34 years. Sadly, 90% of crashes are preventable and caused by driver error, according to the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration. Because you can’t control other drivers on the road, it’s wise to carry as much auto insurance as you can afford.
Let’s look at some key Maryland safety statistics below.
If you’re one of the many eco-minded consumers living in Maryland, good news! The state offers more incentives to green drivers than most other states. These incentives, which range from tax credits to large rebates for plug-in electrified vehicles, save residents a lot of money while also helping to save the environment.
Just some of the incentives offered to environmentally conscious drivers in Maryland include:
Maryland offers drivers of plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) a credit of up to $3,000. The amount you’ll receive if you own one depends on the battery size. Some cars, such as the hybrid Chevy Volt, get less of the incentive than battery electric cars like the Tesla and Nissan Leaf.
In addition to the plug-in tax credit, the Maryland Energy Administration also offers an income tax credit equal to 20% of the cost of qualified charging equipment for electric vehicles. Federal tax credits for electric cars, hybrids, diesels, plug-in hybrids, and alternative fuel vehicles are also available.
Qualified alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs) qualify for an HOV solo lane exemption. This allows motorists of eligible vehicles to use the HOV lane no matter how many passengers are inside. To qualify, the AFV must be able to travel at a speed of at least 65 mph and display a permit issued by the Motor Vehicle Administration.
Maryland requires vehicles to be insured at all times by a carrier licensed in the state. The minimum amount of insurance needed to fulfill financial responsibility is $30,000 of bodily injury per person and $60,000 of bodily injury to cover two or more people per accident. $15,000 of coverage for property damage is also required. Additionally, Maryland requires $2,500 in personal injury protection (PIP), but this coverage can be waived in some cases.
Maryland is an at-fault state. For policies renewed or written after January 1, 2011, uninsured motorist coverage in the amount of $30,000 bodily injury per person, $60,000 bodily injury per accident, and $15,000 property damage is required.
Maximum payment for serious or permanent injury or death to a single person
Maximum payment for serious or permanent injury or death to multiple people
Maximum payment for all damaged property in an accident caused by you
State law in Maryland may set the minimum coverage requirements, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that’s all you need. Lenders who provide financing for your vehicle often require additional coverage, so be sure to check with yours and consider these additional costs when calculating your monthly auto expenses.
Optional coverages are added to basic policies and are not required by law. However, these coverages can provide much-needed financial protection and peace of mind. Some exclusions will apply.
Our article 11 Mistakes People Make When Shopping for Auto Insurance can help you shop smarter for coverage.
*The above list is based on consumer ratings for the Mid-Atlantic U.S. Region in the J.D. Power 2016 U.S. Auto Insurance Study. Ratings are derived from five customer service areas: billing, price, claims, interaction, and policy offerings. USAA is a military-only option and is therefore not including in the above rankings.
Although the number is declining, motor vehicle crashes are the second leading cause of death for kids older than 4 years. Proper use of car seats, booster seats, and safety belts helps prevent these tragedies.
Maryland law requires all children under 8 years who are less than 4’9″ tall to ride in an approved child restraint seat. Children 8 to 16 years who are too tall to ride in a child restraint seat must use the vehicle’s seat belt. These rules apply to both in-state and out-of-state vehicles.
Parents should follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding height and weight requirements for infant seats, child car seats, and booster seats. Booster seats are designed for children who have outgrown their car seat. This typically happens around 4 years of age, but age is less important than weight and size.
Although Maryland does not prohibit children from riding in the front seat of a vehicle, with the exception of rear-facing car seats, it is recommended that all children younger than 12 years ride in the back seat. That’s because air bag deployment can cause serious injuries to young children.
In Maryland, children must be 8 years or older to be left unsupervised. This applies to cars as well as homes and other “enclosures.” If a child is caring for a younger sibling, the minimum age is 13 years. This means a 12-year-old child is too young to be legally left unattended in a vehicle with a younger sibling.
Young children (as well as pets) left alone in cars are in danger of overheating, which can lead to brain damage and death. There’s also an increased risk of accidental injury and kidnapping or other violence. Young children should never be left unattended in a vehicle for even a few minutes, no matter what the outside temperature is or how safe you consider the area to be.
Violating Maryland’s unattended children law is a misdemeanor offense, and those found guilty are required to pay a fine of up to $500; imprisonment and probation are also possible. Anyone who sees an unattended child is urged to call 911.
Maryland allows insurers to consider your credit score when determining your insurance premium, with some limitations. A poor credit score or history can significantly increase how much you pay for a new policy, but a drop in your score cannot be used to increase your premium once it has been established.
Yes, Maryland offers discounts to good drivers. A good driver is typically one who has not had any traffic accidents or violations in the past three years. Other common discounts include:
As the 35th state to allow electronic insurance cards, Maryland permits drivers to show evidence of insurance on their mobile device when asked for proof of coverage by a law enforcement officer. Drivers may still use paper cards, if desired.
It’s against the law to drive while uninsured in Maryland. If your coverage lapses, you’ll receive a fine that increases the longer you’re without coverage, up to $2,500 per vehicle. Additionally, your registration will be suspended, and driving with a suspended registration can lead to your vehicle being impounded and other penalties.
It’s illegal for individuals to operate a vehicle in Maryland with the following BAC percentages:
.08%+ for 21 years old or older
.04%+ for commercial vehicle drivers
.02%+ for under 21 years old
Maryland’s impaired driving laws are strict and aggressively enforced. You can be found impaired while under the influence of legal as well as illegal drugs, including alcohol, prescription medications, over-the-counter drugs, and recreational drugs.
Refusal to take a test ordered to determine your blood alcohol or drug concentration levels can result in confiscation of your driver’s license. This same penalty applies if you fail a chemical test.
Potential penalties for driving while impaired in Maryland include driver’s license suspension or revocation, CDL disqualification, fees, mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device, points on your license, jail time, mandatory participation in a drug or alcohol abuse program, and more.
Maryland’s Driver Improvement Program (DIP) is in place to provide education and training for those whose driving records or court appearances have required it. Some carriers may offer discounts on their coverage for completion of these classes; ask your representative.
Yes! To reduce your insurance premiums, inquire about all the possible discounts, consider paying your full bill up front instead of in monthly installments, and maintain a good driving record and credit history. And, of course, the best way to save is by shopping around and comparing rates.
Yes, Maryland mandates uninsured motorist coverage at coverage levels in the amount of $30,000 bodily injury per person, $60,000 bodily injury per accident, and $15,000 property damage. This insurance helps protect you against damages caused by a driver who does not have any or enough insurance.
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