How much car insurance drivers in Maine must carry will depend on several factors. To begin with, it is a matter of law. You must have car insurance to drive a motor vehicle in Maine. The law requires that anyone owning or operating a motor vehicle in Maine have insurance. Maine’s financial responsibility law requires that proof of insurance must be presented before a vehicle can be registered.
Though the law states that you must have insurance on your car or truck, it doesn’t state how much or give a recommendation. Instead, the law establishes a minimum amount of insurance that Maine drivers must carry. Remember that the term ‘minimum amount of insurance’ on your vehicle is considered a starting point, and that amount will likely be inadequate to protect yourself from claims that may exceed the minimum amount.
What Types of Car Insurance Do You Need in Maine?
In addition to having a minimum amount of insurance on your vehicle, the law requires drivers to have liability, medical, and uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM) coverage on their policies. Liability covers damages that you may do to someone else, i.e., bodily injury, and their property, i.e., their car, as a result of a crash. Liability insurance coverage is based on the concept of ‘fault.’ Some states have no-fault policies, referred to as personal injury protection, where, in the event of a car accident, the insurance company pays for damages to their policyholders, no matter who is at fault. However, Maine is considered an at-fault state, meaning that the driver at fault for the accident must pay the damages to the property and any medical expenses.
Liability insurance covers bodily injury and property damage to others due to a crash for which you are responsible. The minimum required limits for liability insurance in Maine are, for bodily injury, $50,000 per person/$100,000 per accident and, for property damage, $25,000. Drivers can also meet the minimum limit requirement with a Combined Single Limit of $125,000. Though these minimum coverage amounts may seem reasonable, given the cost of health care these days, if multiple people are injured or anyone is seriously injured, the amounts will be exhausted quickly. In other words, think carefully about your liability coverage and go as high as you can reasonably afford.
Maine law also requires medical payment coverage on policies, a type of car insurance to pay for medical expenses after a car accident. Liability insurance only covers bodily injury to other drivers and their passengers. It does not cover your medical bills or any of your passengers. To comply with Maine law, operators must have at least $2,000 in medical payments coverage. That covers the medical expenses of the policyholder, any other named drivers on your policy, and any of their passengers. Options of $5,000, $10,000, $25,000, or even higher limits are available for policyholders, and the additional costs for these amounts are relatively inexpensive.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage
In Maine, the law requires drivers to carry a minimum of $50,000 per person/$100,000 per accident in uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM) coverage. The insurance covers injuries, not damages. You will need to carry an adequate amount of collision insurance to repair or replace your car in the event of an accident with a UM driver.
As the name suggests, UM coverage protects you and your passengers if the other driver responsible for the accident does not have the correct insurance, specifically if the driver is operating a vehicle without insurance. Additionally, UM covers you if an at-fault driver flees the scene and cannot be identified, such as in the case of a stolen car or hit-and-run. It also applies to drivers behind the wheel of another person’s car without permission or if a driver’s insurance policy has been canceled or has lapsed. UM insurance coverage also extends to underinsured at-fault drivers. Maine law requires that the UM limit on your policy equals your liability limit. If your liability is higher than the minimum, you must reject the higher limit for UM in writing.
How much of a problem is UM for Maine drivers? What happens if you get into an accident with someone who does not have the correct insurance? First, just under 5% of drivers in Maine operate vehicles without insurance coverage. How many are underinsured is unknown. This is why having UM coverage as part of your policy is important. It provides the necessary medical coverage for you and your passengers if the at-fault driver has been adequately insured in the first place. If hurt, medical expenses will be paid by your insurance carrier under the UM part of your car insurance policy and your insurance provider cannot increase your premiums because of it.
Contact Maine’s Injury Lawyers
Maine’s financial responsibility law requires all drivers to have minimum liability, medical, and UM car insurance coverage. To protect yourself and your loved ones, it is recommended that you get the highest coverage that you can afford. If you have been in a car accident, whether involved with an uninsured or underinsured driver, or if your insurance provider is not giving you the coverage you believed you paid for, contact the car accident lawyers at Hardy, Wolf & Downing for a free consultation. We can help you resolve any UM liability issue or, when necessary, file a UM liability claim on your behalf to ensure you get the compensation you deserve.