Maryland SR-22 and High-Risk Auto Insurance Explained

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  • Maryland SR-22 and High-Risk Auto Insurance Explained

Imagine you’re driving home to Baltimore after a nice day on the Chesapeake Bay when the sun momentarily blinds you, and you accidentally hit another driver. Unfortunately, your insurance policy lapsed last week without your knowledge, so you were uninsured at the time of the accident.  

Those with a record of driving without the legal minimum car insurance, at-fault accidents, SR-22 insurance, or other infractions on their driving records may be classified as high-risk drivers in the Old Line State. High-risk drivers may have a tough time finding car insurance policies in Maryland and often pay higher-than-average premiums.

Let’s take a look at who’s considered a high-risk driver in the state, what an SR-22 is, and how high-risk drivers can find a policy that works for them in the Old Line State. 

Maryland SR-22 Insurance Explained

An SR-22 in Maryland isn’t required. The form itself isn’t a special insurance policy or coverage but rather a form an insurer will submit to the state on behalf of a high-risk driver to verify they have an active and sufficient car insurance policy under the state’s requirements. In the Old Line state, all drivers must have at least $30,000 of bodily injury liability per person, $60,000 of bodily injury liability per accident, $15,000 of property damage liability per accident (30/60/15 liability coverage), and the same 30/60/15 limit for uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage.

Those who lease or finance their vehicles may be required to carry collision coverage and comprehensive coverage as a component of their legally binding contract. Those caught driving with an insurance policy that fails to meet these standards, or without a policy at all, will face legal consequences and eventually have an SR-22 filed on their behalf. 

An SR-22’s purpose is to prove to the state that a high-risk driver is taking financial responsibility for their insurance premiums and any expenses they might incur in the event of an accident. Since high-risk drivers land themselves in the category by demonstrating a lack of responsibility, whether financial or otherwise, the only way to prove their trustworthiness is by taking responsibility for past actions. However, this form isn’t offered nor required in the Old Line State. 

Why Does Maryland Need SR-22 Insurance?

SR-22 insurance in Maryland isn’t required, nor is it even offered. When a driver is caught driving uninsured in the Old Line State, law officials will penalize the driver according to the severity and frequency of their offense, and insurers will likely raise their premiums. However, drivers aren’t required to have an SR-22 filed on their behalf in the Old Line State as they are in others. 

What’s Maryland High-Risk Auto Insurance?

High-risk auto insurance can be a form of short-term insurance in Maryland or long-term, depending on the driver. Like an SR-22, high-risk insurance isn’t a specific insurance policy or coverage but a category where insurers place drivers at a high risk of filing a claim.

Insurers use a few different factors when assessing a potential policyholder’s risk level. Typically, one’s driving record is the most significant way insurers determine a driver’s risk level and premiums. If a driver has a poor record, specifically if they have a history of driving uninsured or filing many claims, an insurer is more likely to charge them higher premiums or refuse to bind a policy at all. 

Insurers also use what’s known as non-driving factors. Non-driving factors are a driver’s characteristics that help an insurer determine their risk level based on statistics. Insurers may use a driver’s gender, age, ZIP code, or credit score when determining premiums. 

For example, drivers that live in densely populated cities like Baltimore are more likely to get into car accidents and file claims. Drivers in city ZIP codes typically pay higher-than-average premiums due to their increased risk of filing claims. Insurers charge high-risk drivers higher premiums to compensate for the risk they take by insuring such a driver. 

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How To Find the Cheapest Auto Insurance in Maryland for High-Risk Drivers

Auto insurance for high-risk drivers in Maryland can be tough to find, especially at an affordable rate. Standard insurers, like Travelers, Progressive, or other top insurers in the state, may refuse to bind with high-risk drivers because the risk of them filing a claim is too high. However, some high-risk drivers may be able to bind a policy with a standard insurer, depending on the severity of their offense.

Drivers of any risk level, high or low, should always start their search for a policy with a standard insurer. Starting your search with a standard insurer will decrease the steps you may take to get a great policy. It’ll also guarantee you’re binding a policy with a reputable company that offers a range of discounts and plenty of optional coverages.

The most significant way to lower one’s premiums is to have a minimum coverage policy that only contains the legally required amount of coverage in the state. While a high-risk driver typically pays double or triple what a driver with a good record pays, a minimum coverage policy will always cost less than a full coverage one.

However, the cheapest policy in the state won’t always be the best option, especially not for a high-risk driver. Many drivers, especially those with a history of at-fault accidents, prefer full coverage over minimum coverage. A policy that exceeds the legal coverage limits in the state will always be safer than a minimum coverage one, as it provides more expansive protection for various accident scenarios. While a full coverage policy will be more expensive than one with minimal coverage, drivers may be able to lower their premiums while maintaining a policy that exceeds the legal limits.

High-risk drivers who bind a policy with a standard insurer must utilize discounts. Insurers offer various discounts, ranging from enrollment-based to criteria-based. Typically, criteria-based discounts like those for drivers who bundle multiple policies, those with multiple cars on the same policy, or those with anti-theft safety devices on their vehicles may see up to 15% off their annual premiums.

Enrollment-based discounts require some action from the policyholder but typically at a more significant payoff, with some insurers offering up to 20% off annual premiums. Insurers may offer the option for drivers to enroll in a usage-based driving program to track and send their driving data to their insurer via a telematics device to receive a discount based on their driving score. With such programs, the better the score, the better the discount. Some insurers may even offer a pay-per-mile program where drivers can enroll for a discount if they drive less than the national average of 12,000 miles annually.

If you have trouble finding a standard insurer that will bind a policy with you, your next option is to search for a non-standard insurer specializing in high-risk policies. Non-standard insurers are a good plan B for those who can’t find coverage with a standard insurer. However, policies with non-standard insurers typically offer fewer benefits, and premiums are often far more expensive.

If you’re a high-risk driver in the Old Line State needing a policy, the best way to start your search for one that meets your needs and your budget is to get and compare quotes online. Getting and comparing quotes online is a great way to determine what types of coverages and rates insurers in your state offer so you can tailor your policy to suit your needs.

Luckily, you’ve come to the right place to get a quote. Here at Clovered, we have a free quoting tool you can use to access quotes from a variety of insurers in Maryland. If you’d rather chat with an agent about your quote or other insurance needs, you can contact one of our licensed agents at 833-255-4117 or agent@clovered.com.

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The editorial content on Clovered’s website is meant to be informational material and should not be considered legal advice.

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