What Are Car Insurance Requirements In Your State?
Car insurance requirements vary from state to state. Our firm practices in Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia and each of these jurisdictions have different requirements. In Maryland, the minimum insurance coverage for bodily injury liability is $30,000 per person or a combined total of $60,000 in coverage for bodily injuries per accident. The minimum property damage liability is $15,000 per accident. Uninsured motorist coverage in Maryland is also required in the minimum amount of $30,000 per person and $60,000 per accident.
In Virginia, the minimum required coverage for liability is $25,000 for bodily injury per person and $50,000 in total bodily injuries per accident. The minimum for property damage liability is $20,000 per accident. Virginia actually allows vehicle owners to operate uninsured if they pay an uninsured motorist fee to the Department of Motor Vehicles.
In the District of Columbia, vehicle owners must purchase liability coverage, as well as uninsured motorist coverage, in at least $25,000 for bodily injury per person with a total of $50,000 bodily injury coverage per accident. The required minimum liability for property damage is only $10,000 per accident. The required minimum uninsured motorist coverage for property damage is only $5,000.
How Much Insurance Should I Be Carrying?
Given the degree of injuries that can be caused by a motor vehicle accident and the rising costs of healthcare, it is recommended that you purchase as much insurance as you can afford. It is important to keep in mind that if you are at fault for an accident, you may be personally responsible for damages in excess of the amount of liability insurance that you have purchased. Uninsured motorist insurance can provide important protection for yourself and your passengers if injuries are caused by an uninsured or underinsured driver.
It is important to keep in mind that regardless of the legal requirements for maintaining liability insurance, there are a large number of people who are operating vehicles today without insurance. Lapses in coverage and cancellations of insurance policies commonly occur as a result of non-payment of premiums.
Does Your State Require Uninsured Or Underinsured Motorist Coverage?
Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia all require that uninsured motorist coverage is made available in at least the same minimum amount as is required for bodily injury liability. Considering the large number of people who may not be insured or may not have enough coverage to fully compensate you or your passengers, we recommend purchasing as much uninsured motorist and underinsurance coverage, you can afford.
What Does Uninsured Or Underinsured Motorist Coverage Actually Cover?
Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage applies in two different types of situations. First, uninsured motorist coverage provides compensation when a negligent driver who caused the accident has no auto insurance coverage at all. In such a case, your own insurance company will pay for losses caused by the at-fault driver up to the amount of the uninsured motorist coverage purchased. This coverage applies both to the driver and any occupants of the vehicle at the time of the accident.
Underinsured motorist coverage applies when an at-fault driver does not have sufficient liability insurance coverage to fully compensate for the injuries and damages that were caused by the accident. If you have purchased underinsured motorist coverage in an amount that is greater than the at-fault driver’s liability insurance, your company steps in and pays the difference between the other driver’s policy limits and the value of your claim, to the extent of your underinsured motorist coverage limits.
For example, if you were injured in an accident and you have $60,000 in medical bills and the at-fault driver has a policy that provides for only $30,000 per person per accident, it is quite likely that the value of your claim would exceed the $30,000 policy limits of the at-fault driver. If you purchased a policy of insurance that provides for $300,000 in underinsured motorist coverage, you would make claims against both the at-fault driver and your own insurance company. If the case does not settle, goes to trial, and you are awarded $300,000, the at-fault driver’s insurance company would pay you $30,000. Your insurance company would pay the remaining $270,000. If you are awarded a higher amount of damages, your company’s obligations would be limited to the amount of underinsured motorist coverage that you had purchased.
Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage covers compensation not only for medical expenses and loss of income but also for pain and suffering. The purpose is to put the victim in the same position as if the at-fault driver had sufficient auto insurance to pay the damages that were incurred, including economic losses as well as pain and suffering. Each state has different laws that govern the procedures and time limits for obtaining uninsured motorist benefits or underinsured motorist benefits.
For more information on Car Insurance Requirements In MD, VA & DC, a free consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (301) 453-5656 or (703) 429-0888 today.