Maryland Uninsured Motorist Coverage – Protect Yourself
If you are injured in a car accident involving someone who only carries the minimum liability insurance required by the state of Maryland, it can be very easy to become overwhelmed by the costs that you may face. Maryland requires that every vehicle owner carry a minimum of $30,000 of uninsured motorist coverage. In addition, Maryland requires that drivers also have $2,500 of Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage to cover their own medical expenses. While Maryland requires this much protection, it is always a good idea to carry more than just the required minimums.
Example of What Can Happen to You
Here is an example of what can happen to you. Suppose the other driver carries the minimum amount of liability coverage ($30,000) and you carry the minimum amount of uninsured motorist coverage ($30,000).
If you were injured and your medical bills total $100,000, you could be in a difficult situation. First, the other driver’s insurance company will pay you $30,000 to cover your medical bills and lost wages from being unable to work during recovery. Your uninsured motorist coverage may pay you $30,000, depending on what type of uninsured motorist coverage you purchased through your own insurance company. If your insurance company paid you $30,000 of uninsured motorist coverage, you are still left with additional expenses of $40,000 that need to be covered out-of-pocket.
What are the Minimum Car Insurance Requirements in Maryland
Bodily injury liability coverage, uninsured motorist coverage, and personal injury protection are mandated by law if you live in Maryland. Let’s go over the Minimum Requirements for each:
Liability Coverage (Property): $15.000
Bodily Injury Liability Coverage: $30,000 per person / $60,000 per accident
Uninsured / Underinsured Coverage (UI and UIM): $30,000 per person / $60.000 per accident
Personal Injury Protection (PIP): $2,500
What does “per accident” mean? The per-accident limit applies to each accident in which multiple people are injured. If there were 3 people injured in one accident, then all 3 would be covered up to the policy limits.
What is Liability Coverage as it relates to car insurance
Liability coverage pays for damage or injury caused by the insured person’s negligence. Liability coverage comes in two types:
- Bodily injury liability (BI) covers bodily injuries sustained by other people that result from your negligent actions. For example, if you rear-end another driver while driving too fast, causing them to hit their head on the windshield, then they could sue you for damages resulting from the impact. They would be covered up to your policy limits because you were at fault. BI covers things like medical expenses and wages lost while the victim recuperates from an injury they sustained due to the accident. It may also cover funeral costs after a fatal accident.
- Property damage liability (PD) covers property damage that results from your negligent actions. The most common type of property damage is when you hit and damage another vehicle. It can also include objects that were in the car and damaged due to the collision.
What is Uninsured and Underinsured Motorists Coverage
As we have discussed, UM is required by the State of Maryland. Underinsured motorist coverage (UIM) falls under the umbrella of “Uninsured Motorist Coverage” (UM).
An example of what we mean by underinsured is if your medical bills cost more than the liability policy limits held by the at-fault driver; your underinsured motorist coverage will pay the difference.
Uninsured motorist coverage also pays for your injuries caused by someone else who unlawfully neglects to purchase liability coverage.
Are Hit-and-Run Accidents covered by Uninsured Motorist Coverage
Yes, if you were injured in a hit-and-run accident, your UM coverage would be in effect. A hit-and-run accident is when another driver hits your vehicle and then leaves the scene without leaving any information. This means the owner or the operator of the other vehicle cannot be identified. Some insurance companies cover both bodily injury and property damage with your uninsured motorist coverage in a hit-and-run.
Are Bicycle Accidents and Pedestrian Accidents covered by Uninsured Motorist Coverage
Remember you can only purchase UM coverage if you own or lease an automobile. If so, the answer is yes, your UM would cover injuries caused by a driver who struck you while you were riding your bicycle.
Pedestrian accidents are also covered under uninsured motorist coverage if the at-fault was driving without sufficient liability insurance. If someone is jogging, skateboarding, bicycling, etc., and they get hit by an uninsured driver or a driver with insufficient insurance, the injured victim’s medical expenses will be covered by UM.
What is Enhanced Uninsured Motorist Coverage
Enhanced uninsured motorist coverage (EUIM) is offered, but not required by Maryland. If you elect to have enhanced uninsured motorist coverage, you can “stack” the at-fault driver’s liability coverage with your own UM.
So what does that mean? It means if you are injured by an at-fault driver who carries the minimum Maryland requirement of $30,000 and you have elected to carry EUIM of $100,000, you would be entitled to $130,000 of damages. If you didn’t elect to have EUIM, your coverage would be reduced by the amount of the at-fault driver’s limits. Using the same example, $100,000 would be reduced to $70,000. Your maximum amount of coverage would only be $100,000 ($30,000 + $70,000), not $130,000.
What is Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Insurance
Personal Injury Protection is another type of insurance that you purchase. This coverage is also referred to as no-fault coverage because it pays for your injuries regardless of who caused the accident. Maryland requires that all motorists carry a minimum of $2,500 worth of this type of coverage.
PIP coverage pays for medical expenses, loss of income, funeral costs, and physical therapy, and co-pays if you are injured in an accident no matter who caused the accident.
Is It Worth Purchasing More Insurance?
Most agree that it is wise to purchase more than the minimum amount of insurance required by Maryland law. Yes, it costs more money, but the money you spend could prevent further significant financial loss.
How Do You Go About Shopping for and Comparing Car Insurance Rates
There are 3 ways to compare rates. These free tools can help with the information-gathering process by giving an estimate based on your driver profile. It is always best to do your research and purchase insurance from a reputable company.
- One way is visiting each insurance company’s website and having the quote emailed to you. Keeping a spreadsheet is a good way to track the information and see which company offers the best rates.
- Another option is using an independent insurance agent that can provide you with comparative quotes from several companies in just one sitting. It’s often more convenient, but it does cost extra for this convenience.
- A third way is to use an insurance comparison website such as Gabi, The Zebra, or compare.com. These sites will compare insurance rates for you based on the information that is entered. However, be prepared for a barrage of phone calls from companies you may not have heard of.
Car Insurance Coverage Calculator
All three options above will ask you to input and share various pieces of information to get a quote. The following information will be asked of you:
- name, birth date, physical address, and email address
- year, make and model of your vehicle
- your current insurance company, if you are already being covered, and how many years you have been insured
- personal information such as gender, marital status, own or rent your home or apartment, education, employment status
- whether you have had any issues in the past 3 years such as an at-fault accident, traffic citations, or a DUI conviction
- Your car’s primary use: commuting, personal, business; and an estimate of how many miles you plan on driving your car each year
- You may be offered a discount such as a military discount, multiple vehicle policy purchases, good driving record, or making payments twice a year rather than monthly.
Comparing Rates is a Tedious Complicated Process
Comparing rates can be complicated and frustrating. It is a very tedious process. Not only must you compare prices across providers, but you also owe it to yourself to experiment with the calculator to evaluate the pricing differential between the policy limits choices. But it is worth it.
One thing you will find is that increasing your policy limits does increase your premium, but probably not by as much as you would think. For instance, increasing your Underinsured Motorist Policy Limit from $30,000 to $250,000 may only increase your rate by less than $2 per day.
Filing a Claim Will Not Affect Your Insurance Rates
It is also important to understand that if the injured person files a UM claim with their own insurance company, NOTHING happens to your relationship with the insurance company. Premiums do not increase and you are not dropped from your policy. Claims for uninsured or underinsured motorists are common and routine.
Is It Worth Purchasing More Insurance?
It is definitely worth purchasing more insurance than the minimum required by Maryland law. Insurance gives you peace of mind. If the unexpected happens and you find yourself injured in a car accident, bicycle accident, or pedestrian accident, having higher policy limits makes sense. Medical costs, loss of wages, and pain and suffering damages do not come cheap. Paying for higher premiums can save you many thousands of dollars if you are ever injured.
Baltimore Car Accident Lawyer Is Here to Help
If you or a loved one is ever injured in a car accident, it is always best to contact a Baltimore car accident lawyer. Call the Law Office of John J. Leppler at (443) 955-1989 for a FREE consultation to discuss your situation. Even with good insurance coverage, insurance companies are notorious for refusing to pay what is owed on a claim. You need an experienced Baltimore car accident lawyer who will go the extra mile for you and fight tirelessly on your behalf. John’s commitment is to help you get the compensation you deserve. We’re here to help!