Failure to carry a minimum amount of car insurance can result in severe penalties including monetary fines and jail time. Maine's tort law also shows you may also be liable for:
- Physical pain and suffering
- Actual damages – medical costs and property damage expenses
- Economic liability – lost wages and earning capacity
For medical coverage, the law requires that insurance coverage is taken to cover medical expenses for both you and your passengers. A minimum of $2,000 is acceptable as medical payments coverage per person. However, higher limits of $5,000, $10,000, and $25,000 or higher are available at relatively affordable additional cost.
If you are responsible for a crash, liability insurance covers property damage and bodily injury to others. The minimum insurance cover for this category is:
- Property damage - $25,000
- Bodily injury - $50,000 per individual / $100,000 per accident
If you choose to take a combined single limit, $125,000 will suffice for the minimum limit requirement.
However, you should bear in mind that if serious injuries are sustained, this limit will be quickly exhausted. Additionally, if more than one person suffers minor injuries, this limit will still be exhausted quickly.
Given many vehicles on the road are worth more than $25,000, you should carefully consider if the minimum cover will protect your assets adequately if you are involved in a crash.
Uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM)
If the other driver responsible for the crash has no insurance, this coverage protects you and your passengers. The minimum insurance cover acceptable by the law for Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM) is $100,000 per accident or $50,000 per person. If the other driver responsible for the crash has coverage limits less than your UM limit, this insurance coverage also comes into play.
In Maine, the driver's UM limit is supposed to be equal to his or her liability limit. The condition holds when the driver's UM limit is higher than the minimum. If you want to reject the higher limit for UM, you have to put it in writing.
Penalties for not carrying Maine auto insurance
Maine laws do not require drivers be in possession of additional coverage while driving. However, there are penalties for not carrying the required auto insurance coverage in your car if an enforcement officer asks to see it. A fine of between $100 and $500 is charged for driving without insurance cover.
Additionally, given this is a Class E crime, you may be arrested and serve up to six months in jail. You may also have your driver's license and registration suspended until you produce proof of insurance, or you may be given a restricted driver's license.
Maine car insurance premiums
In Maine, vehicle insurance premiums are regulated by the Maine Bureau of Insurance. However, auto insurance premiums to be paid are determined by insurance companies depending on factors such as:
- The type of car being insured
- Whether the car is for business or not
- Previous auto insurance coverage
- How long you have been driving
- Your driving record
- How much you drive
- Your geographical location
- Your marital status
- Your age, and
- Your gender
Maine laws allow the insurer to take into account your credit history in determining your premium.
Getting the cheapest car insurance policies in Maine
You can legally lower your insurance premiums by:
- Eliminating unnecessary coverage
- Checking if you qualify for low-cost car insurance programs offered by the state
- Asking for discounts for good driving habits, putting multiple cars on one policy, and using anti-theft devices, among other exceptions.