Having car insurance is vital to being a driver and car owner, particularly if you get into a car accident. If you do not have car insurance and get into an accident, you could be responsible to pay for medical costs, vehicle, or property damage, or all three.
It is always a good idea to have some form of car insurance before you start driving. A common question involving car insurance revolves around having enough to cover your damages should you get into an accident. Fortunately, Maryland and other states require their drivers to carry uninsured and underinsured insurance in their auto policies. With this type of coverage, if the at-fault driver’s insurance does not cover all your expenses, your own underinsured coverage would be used.
Most states have minimum requirements when it comes to car insurance. Some states do not require you to have insurance at all. Maryland is one state that requires carrying car insurance by law, and the minimum required coverage and minimum limits are as follows:
- Bodily injury. Required minimum limits for bodily injury are $30,000 per person and $60,000 per accident.
- Property damage. Required minimum limit for property damage is $15,000 per accident.
- Uninsured/underinsured motorist, bodily injury. Required minimum limit is $30,000 per person/$60,000 per accident.
- Uninsured/underinsured motorist, property damage. Required minimum limit is $15,000 per accident with a $250 deductible.
All auto insurance policies for Maryland drivers must include liability insurance, personal injury protection, and uninsured motorist coverage. Of course, you have the option to select additional coverage options if you wish. Furthermore, this minimum coverage pays for the other party’s medical bills and vehicle repairs and may pay some of your own bills as well.
Bodily injury coverage is for the other person’s medical bills should you be liable for an accident. Property damage covers whatever damage you have caused, either the other person’s car, personal belongings, or public property, up to $15,000 per accident.
Uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage pays for your own bills and damages should you are hit by another driver who has no insurance coverage or not enough coverage for your bills. If the other driver who caused the accident does not have enough coverage in their policy to pay for your expenses, you would use the underinsured motor coverage portion of your policy.
An Uninsured/Underinsured Insurance Example
An example of using your uninsured/underinsured coverage could be getting into a car accident that costs about $2,000 in medical bills and expenses, as well as $4,000 in damage to your vehicle. You find out that the at-fault driver does not have any insurance. Because the minimum requirements for uninsured/underinsured coverage are $30,000 for bodily injury and $15,000 for property damage, you are covered and only have to pay your deductible. The same would go for if the other driver did not have enough insurance to cover, for example, the $4,000 of damage to your car. In this case, your underinsured portion of your policy will kick in and cover the rest.
It is always a good idea to have uninsured/underinsured insurance, even if the state did not require it. Research shows that as many as 15 percent of adult drivers get on the road without carrying any insurance, or at least the minimum liability coverage. If one of these drivers causes an accident, they would be responsible to pay for it, as well as face fines and penalties. It is likely that those who drive without car insurance cannot afford to pay for your repairs as well, leaving you responsible for your own repairs if you did not have uninsured/underinsured coverage.
Maryland and At-Fault Insurance
It is important to know that many states, including Maryland, are considered an at-fault insurance state. It is a traditional system used for when you get into a car accident. If you are found to be liable for an accident, you and your insurance company are responsible for the losses stemming from the accident.
If a person gets into an accident and has been injured or whose vehicle has been damaged, and they did not cause the crash, that person has three options in seeking compensation:
- By filing a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier.
- By filing a claim with their own insurance carrier, whereas their policy has coverage for the specific loss. Their own insurance carrier would then file a subrogation claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier, which basically means that they collect money from the other insurance company.
- By filing a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver.
Some states are no-fault insurance states, meaning that you would go to your own insurance company following an accident to pay for damages, regardless of who caused the accident. This is also known as personal injury protection and limits your right to sue the at-fault driver. In a no-fault state, you could sue the at-fault driver only if you suffered a serious injury and the expenses go above your personal injury protection limits.
Maryland requires drivers to also carry personal injury protection coverage; however, you are able to limit your amount of coverage compared with no-fault insurance states. In Maryland, personal injury protection overage covers $2,500 of your own medical expenses, regardless of fault.
Penalties for Having No Insurance
Most states will fine you if you are caught driving without car insurance. Maryland, and most of its surrounding states, will fine you $150 within the first 30 days of driving without insurance. It is an additional $7 a day following that. Other penalties include:
- Loss of registration and license plates
- Payment of a $25 restoration fee
- Confiscation of license plates
- Inability to register vehicles in the future
An accident can get overwhelming and quite stressful if you are not careful, especially if the accident you were in was caused by someone who did not have enough insurance to cover your injuries and damages. If you get into an accident and are injured, the next recommended step is to seek the legal guidance of a qualified car accident lawyer right away.
National Harbor Car Accident Lawyers at the Law Offices of Duane O. King Help Those Injured by Negligent or Uninsured Drivers
Car accidents can be a complex experience, especially if you are injured. If you have been injured by a negligent driver, reach out to the National Harbor car accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Duane O. King. We will investigate the cause of the accident and hold the negligent party responsible so that you receive the compensation for which you are entitled. Call us today at 202-331-1963 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Washington DC, Alexandria, Virginia, and National Harbor, Maryland, we work with clients in Prince George’s County, including Laurel, Beltsville, Adelphi, College Park, Greenbelt, Mitchellville, Woodmore, Greater Upper Marlboro, Springdale, Largo, Bowie, Capitol Heights, District Heights, Forestville, Suitland, Seat Pleasant, Clinton, Oxon Hill, Temple Hills, and Fort Washington.