Maryland has minimum insurance requirements for vehicles registered or operated in the state. However, if you walk into your insurance agent’s office and request “full coverage” automobile insurance, your agent may tell you that full coverage does not exist. There is not a type of auto insurance called “full coverage.” When people refer to full coverage auto insurance, they are often referring to a combination of insurance coverages.
What Does Full Coverage Mean to You?
For some individuals, full coverage means that they have purchased an insurance policy that includes the minimum insurance requirements under state law. For other individuals, full coverage may mean they purchased an insurance policy that includes all available types of automobile insurance coverage at the highest policy limits.
Maryland requires all drivers to purchase and maintain the following coverage for motor vehicles:
- $30,000 ($60,000 per accident) of Bodily Injury Liability insurance coverage
- $15,000 in Property Damage insurance coverage
- $30,000 ($60,000 per accident) of Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Bodily Injury insurance coverage
- $15,000 in Uninsured/Underinsured Property Damage insurance coverage
You may purchase insurance policies that include higher limits than the above minimum insurance limits.
What About PIP Insurance Coverage?
Insurance companies in Maryland are required to include a minimum of $2,500 of PIP or Personal Injury Protection coverage with each auto insurance policy. PIP insurance reimburses you for medical expenses and some of the lost income you incur because of a motor vehicle accident, regardless of who was at fault for causing the crash. Because PIP is no-fault insurance coverage, you can receive prompt reimbursement for these losses while you wait to settle a liability insurance claim or if you were the driver who caused the crash.
Full PIP Coverage vs. Limited PIP Coverage
You may choose to purchase PIP coverage for all insured drivers and residents in your household who are 16 years of age or older. This coverage is known as “Full PIP” insurance. If you decline to purchase PIP insurance for all drivers and members of your household who are 16 years of age or older, you have “Limited PIP” coverage.
You may also waive PIP coverage. While it is mandatory that insurance providers offer Personal Injury Protection insurance coverage with each automobile insurance policy, policyholders may waive PIP coverage for various members of their household. In some cases, an individual may reject all PIP coverage. While rejecting or waiving PIP coverage may reduce your car insurance premium, it also places you at a disadvantage if you are injured in a car accident.
If you do not have health insurance or disability insurance to cover your medical bills and loss of income after a car crash and you elect to waive PIP coverage, you may not receive any compensation for your losses for more than a year after the crash if the other driver denies liability for the collision. If you were responsible for causing the car crash, you receive nothing from your car insurance provider if you do not have PIP coverage.
Optional Motor Vehicle Insurance Coverage
Other types of auto insurance are optional. You are not required by state law to carry optional insurance, but many people choose to purchase other types of auto insurance coverage so that they have what they consider to be “full coverage” in case of a car accident.
Examples of optional car insurance coverage include:
- Collision Coverage — Collision coverage pays to repair or replace a vehicle that is damaged in a crash caused by the insured driver. Most lenders require collision coverage as a condition for a car loan.
- Comprehensive Coverage — Comprehensive coverage is like collision coverage and is also required by most lenders who have a loan secured by the vehicle. Comprehensive coverage pays to repair or replace the vehicle if it is damaged because of theft, flood, fire, vandalism, and other occurrences other than a collision.
- Medical Payments Coverage (Med Pay) — Med Pay is similar to PIP insurance in that it is considered no-fault insurance coverage. Med Pay pays for medical expenses incurred because of a motor vehicle accident regardless of who was at fault for the crash. Med Pay is on available after PIP coverage is exhausted.
- Rental Reimbursement — If you need to rent a vehicle because your vehicle has been damaged, rental coverage reimburses you for the rental costs of another vehicle for a specific number of days at a fixed daily rate.
- Towing Coverage — If your vehicle breaks down on the side of the road, towing coverage pays to have your vehicle towed. In some cases, you can also purchase labor insurance that would cover the labor expenses related to the breakdown.
It is wise to discuss all types of automobile insurance coverage with your insurance agent to determine the types of coverage you need to protect yourself, your family members, and your personal assets in the event of a car accident.
Contact a Maryland Auto Accident Attorney for More Information
Insurance claims can be difficult. Claims adjusters may not be straightforward with you about your legal rights and options for recovering compensation for your injuries and losses. If you have been injured in a traffic accident, contact an experienced Maryland car accident lawyer for advice.
Call Pinder Plotkin now at 410-661-9440 for a free consultation with one of our Maryland personal injury attorneys.