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Driving without car insurance is financially risky, but it’s also illegal in most states like Maryland. Maryland requires all drivers to carry at least a minimum amount of liability coverage that is determined by the state. While not carrying proper insurance can leave you financially liable for expenses associated with a motor vehicle accident, you face additional penalties for driving without insurance. Penalties can range from expensive fines to losing your license. New Maryland drivers should fully understand what insurance coverages are required because purchasing the proper policy can save you time and money in the long run.
Minimum insurance required in Maryland
Maryland drivers are required to carry liability insurance at all times, which is designed to pay for injuries, repairs and losses the at-fault driver causes to others. Maryland will not allow you to register your vehicle until you are insured with the minimum amount of insurance or higher. The state’s minimum liability requirements are:
- $30,000 for bodily injury per person
- $60,000 for bodily injury per accident
- $15,000 property damage for accident
The state minimum may be the most affordable amount of coverage, but may not be enough to provide you with adequate financial protection in the event of an accident. Liability car insurance only pays for injuries and property damage to others to the limit set. $15,000 may not be enough to cover all damages in a serious accident. You would have to pay the expenses above the limit of coverage out-of-pocket.
If your vehicle needs to be replaced or repaired, liability insurance will not reimburse your personal expenses. You would need to have full coverage to include your property.
Penalties for driving without insurance in Maryland
If you are caught driving without insurance in Maryland, the fines and other consequences depend on the situation. Your first offense could cost you $150, plus $7 per day (for up to $2,500 per year) until you provide the Maryland Motor Vehicle Association (MVA) with proof of insurance. In more serious situations, an accident in which you are found to be driving without insurance could cost you your license.
Insurance premiums must be paid to maintain coverage, so failure to pay your bill on time or according to your payment agreement could result in a lapse or cancellation. Because insurers are required to report any lapse or cancellation to the Maryland DMV, you may have to take extra steps to prove you are still insured once you have resolved your outstanding bill.
Whether you are caught driving without insurance, have received an uninsured motorist complaint form filed against you, or the DMV is notified of a lapse in coverage, there are several potential outcomes:
- You receive a Proof of Vehicle Insurance Needed letter and must respond with proof of coverage by asking your agent to file an FR-19 on your behalf.
- You are issued a fine for driving without insurance and would have to pay in a timely manner. Unpaid fines may be sent to collections, potentially resulting in collections fees being added to your already outstanding fine.
- Your license or vehicle registration may be suspended, especially for a repeated offense or if you caused an accident. If you are caught driving on a suspended registration, your vehicle could be towed.
Fees from Maryland’s online insurance verification system
Maryland’s online insurance verification system can flag drivers with lapsed coverage, or who do not have enough vehicle insurance. Even if no one reports you for driving without car insurance, the MVA may still flag you when your policy is canceled.
Some of the fees generated from the online insurance verification system are:
|Reason for fee||Fee amount|
|Uninsured motorist fees||$150 for the first 30 days|
|Fines for not responding to a notice||$7 per day after the first 30 days up to $2,500 per day|
|Vehicle restoration fee||$25|
|Providing false evidence||$1,000|
Getting into an accident without insurance in Maryland
Getting into an accident without car insurance comes with more severe consequences. You could lose your driver’s license, be mandated to report to court for a suit or face penalties and fines. Aside from the standard penalties, the other party could report you by filing a claim against an uninsured driver for the state to investigate.
A court may charge you with a criminal fine of up to $1,000 if it was the first offense or send you to jail for up to one year if it’s your first charge for an accident with no car insurance. You will likely also get five points on your driving record, which could raise your car insurance premiums once you restore or renew coverage.
Frequently asked questions
Driving without insurance can have several consequences and penalties, but it doesn’t always occur intentionally. You may have forgotten to pay your bill and your coverage lapsed, for example. It is far better to handle the matter responsibly than to try and falsify information. Getting caught providing false insurance information comes with a fine of up to $1,000 in Maryland.
An FR-19 is the form your insurance company files on your behalf with the Maryland MVA to confirm proof of insurance. If you receive a Proof of Vehicle Insurance Needed notice, it may be necessary to pay your past-due insurance premium as soon as possible to reinstate coverage. Once your vehicle coverage is in force again, ask your insurer to provide the state with proof of insurance, known as an FR-19. Remember not to drive your vehicle until the state accepts the FR-19 filing or your vehicle may be impounded.
The average cost of car insurance in Maryland to meet the state’s minimum coverage requirement is $836 per year. This is a bit higher than the national average of $545 per year for minimum coverage. Maryland drivers in search of full coverage pay an average of $1,931 a year, which is also more expensive than the national average of $1,771 per year.
Continuous vehicle insurance is mandatory in the state for all drivers. You must have a minimum of 30/60/15 liability coverage, which is $30,000 in bodily injury per person and $60,000 per accident, as well as $15,000 in property damage.