Pay less for your non-standard auto insurance in Maryland. Cheap prices, low down-payments, and same-day coverage is available. High risk car policies can be affordable, if you shop the smart way. A less-than perfect driving record may take time to fix, but we find reasonable rates until your tickets and accidents are off your MVR report.
If you have a DUI, DWI, license suspension, or other major violations, we can help, by providing multiple discounts. Other violations that can substantially increase your premium include excessive speeding, fatalities resulting from an accident, driving without a license, and illegal street racing.
Your customized online quotes are always free (top of the page) without any obligation. By shopping multiple companies that specialize in drivers that have a propensity to sometimes drive too fast, or have been involved in recent accidents, you save money. If you need an SR-22 Bond filing, we will simplify the process and show you the best offers.
We can also provide information regarding available defensive-driving course, that can lower your premium. A less than perfect MVR report or lack of driving experience, doesn’t always mean you have to pay non-standard rates. By comparing quotes from several options, you, the consumer, wins.
Most Common High-Risk Situations
Multiple Moving Violations – A single ticket won’t significantly impact your rate. Two might. Three definitely will. And it’s not just speeding tickets. Not coming to a complete stop, improper turns, following too closely, failure to signal or yield, and several other minor infractions will still put points on your MVR. A license suspension could also occur if too many moving violations occur within a short period of time.
Car Accident Involvements – The key word is “involvement.” Although at-fault accidents have the biggest impact, having too many accidents when fault can not be determined may have serious consequences. If a carrier continues to pay large settlements, your policy premium will be impacted. Accidents where both parties are at fault are also a concern to the carrier since large payouts can still occur.
No Prior Coverage – Of course, it’s against the law to drive without coverage. But you are also immediately considered a high-risk driver, since you’re not acting responsibly. Although specific carriers will offer competitive pricing, it still will be higher than if you were already insured. Typically, three years of continuous coverage (with no lapses) is required to qualify for the maximum discount. Many carriers offer “loyalty” discounts, which reward customers that renew their existing policy for more than 5, 10, and 20 years.
Lapse in Coverage – If your policy lapses for more than 30 days, there is a risk of losing existing discounts, and paying a higher premium when the policy is reinstated. Although the higher rate may not be permanent, it may temporarily increase the cost of coverage by 10%-20%. A second lapse may have larger consequences.
Teenagers – If you are a teenager, and covered on a parent’s policy, you are probably eligible for many of their discounts, and an acceptable premium. If you are on your own policy and haven’t been driving very long, you will pay a higher rate. This also applies for any new driver that just got licensed, regardless of their age. Thus, a 50 year-old that has been licensed less than one year, will not receive discounts that most other drivers receive.
Over Age 80 – If you are already covered, then stay with your existing company. If you are shopping for a new policy, your driving record better be squeaky clean. We only recommend changing if your existing policy is not being renewed. Seniors (age 80 and over) that have had recent at-fault accidents, despite a potentially large rate increase, should not change carriers. Many companies will require proof of good health before renewing coverage. This also is often required when renewing a driver’s license.
Speeding Tickets – Perhaps the leading cause of high auto insurance rates in Maryland. Although all moving violations count, speeding tickets are the most common infraction. And when you have three or more on your MVR, it might be costly. If your driver’s license was suspended because of excess violations, perhaps using Uber may be more cost-effective. Local transportation costs may be less expensive than owning and operating your own vehicle. And of course, purchasing auto insurance coverage is not required.
Poor Credit – Perhaps not as serious as the other reasons given, but many carriers reward drivers with excellent credit, and slightly increase prices for persons with below-average credit. Of course, a recent bankruptcy will also be a concern to many companies. If your credit score is below average, or poor, several companies do not utilize credit when determining rates. Since viewing your credit score annually is free (from reputable vendors), it makes financial sense to view your score each year.
Comparison Of High-Risk Auto Rates In Other States
Maryland ranks around the middle, when comparing with prices from other states. There are many metrics that must be taken into account, including moving violations, serious violations (DUI, DWI, hit and run), and the experience of the driver.
States with significantly more expensive rates include California, Connecticut, Delaware, Louisiana, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island. States with significantly lower rates for non-standard drivers include Alabama, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Vermont, and Wyoming.
What Is An SR-22 Bond And When Is It Needed?
This “safety responsibility” document is often required when your driver’s license has been suspended. The most common reasons are operating a vehicle without coverage, getting convicted of a major violation, such as DUI, hit and run, or reckless operations, or any other violation that takes away your driving privileges. Both owner and non-owner bonds are available, and typically stay in-force for approximately three years (five years for a DUI conviction). NOTE: this document is not insurance. It is verification that the owner has current coverage with an approved and registered carrier. Also, if you don’t own a vehicle, you can still be required to file an SR-22 Bond.
A licensed insurance company files and issues the SR-22 Bond with the Department of Motor Vehicles. A copy of the certificate should always be kept in your possession, the vehicle, or both. If you fail to pay the premium on your Bond, an SR-26 filing is sent to the Department of Motor Vehicles. At that time, the driver’s license is suspended, and a new SR-22 Bond must be filed to reinstate the license and driving privileges. NOTE: Staying aware of current car insurance laws in Maryland can help you save money and perhaps help avoid a license suspension.
Criminal and administrative penalties are immediately imposed for a DUI and DWI, including a 6-month license suspension. The reinstatement process involves completing an alcohol abuse and treatment program, and possibly an electronic starter device installed on your vehicle. NOTE: the DUI required blood alcohol level is .08 while the DWI requirement is .07.
An “ignition interlock program” allows some drivers to keep their driver’s license without an administrative hearing. the device is installed on the vehicle and requires you to blow into a device before operating the vehicle. If your alcohol-content reading is above a designated level, the vehicle will not start. The owner of the car (or truck) is also liable for all costs including installation of the device, repairs (if needed), and any monthly charges.
Although incarceration is not likely for a DWI, if a minor was in the vehicle at the time of the offense, a six-month sentence can be imposed. DUI penalties are harsher with jail time up to two years possible. Maximum fines for DUI violations are higher ($2,000) than for DWI violations ($1.000). However, additional surcharges, fines and expenses will increase your out-of-pocket expenses.
The lookback period is five years, so a second offense during that time period is still considered a misdemeanor. However, the penalties still can be quite severe. For example, if the blood alcohol level exceeds .15. a six-month license suspension can be imposed. An ignition interlock system will be required along with an SR-22 Bond filing. The Bond must be kept for three years.
Fines are also higher than a first-offense conviction, with a $3,000 DUI and $2,000 DWI maximum with a minor in the vehicle. The maximum jail times are also higher. A second DWI can result in a 1-year sentence while a second DUI conviction can lead to a two-year sentence.
A third DUI conviction (within five years) typically causes you to lose all driving privileges for 18 months. However, depending on additional factors, a permanent license revocation could be requested, and is often granted.
Additional criminal-related penalties are very possible. For example, a three-years jail term is possible (four years if a minor was present). A $4,000 fine may also be imposed. Of course, your personal and business credit rating are likely to be adversely affected, along with possible impacts on other family members.
What If You Refuse To Take A Blood, Breath, Or Urine Test?
If a driver in Maryland is legally stopped by a police officer who believes you are operating the vehicle while intoxicated, then the “implied consent” law applies. Therefore, you automatically give permission (consent) to have your urine, blood, or breath tested for alcohol content. The testing should commence immediately following the discovery, unless reasonably delayed. Alcohol test or refusal in Maryland, can result in an automatic 120-day license suspension.
Reinstatement is possible, but your current premium will likely increase. Your MD driver’s license will also be confiscated, and a temporary license will be issued. If you have a commercial driver’s license, it will be immediately suspended, and future driving may be prohibited. An “Officer’s Certification And Order Of Suspension” form will be created to document details of the incident, and verification that you agreed or refused to submit to testing.
Information will be provided to the offender about the Ignition Interlock Program. An “Advice Of Rights” form is also provided by the police officer, which explains the ramifications of not taking the test, and subsequent fines and penalties. Both the offender and police officer sign and date the form. An administrative hearing may be requested within 30 days, so you can provide evidence why the driver’s license should not be suspended. The request must be in writing, and submitted within 10 days of the “Order Of Suspension.”
Also, it is possible to be arrested if at the time the officer arrives, you are not actively driving the vehicle. For example, if the accused party is sitting in the passenger seat, but still has control of the vehicle (able to move the vehicle), an arrest can be made. In many situations, despite someone being asleep when found, they are arrested.
An “implied consent” law allows the field officer to conduct a field sobriety exam. From those results, probable cause may be determined, although you can decline to take the test. However, if you choose not to take the test, an immediate 120-day license suspension will be imposed. If it is your second or third offense, the suspension will be for one year.
DUI and DWI Checkpoints
Sobriety checkpoints are legal and are typically unannounced. Locations and times will often vary and are designed to be unpredictable. However, there are several consumer websites that report roadblock sightings. The average time to complete a check is usually about 20 minutes. After a short interview, suspicious drivers may be subject to sobriety testing.
Search and seizure laws do not apply to DUI and DWI checkpoints, so “probable cause” is not needed. However, details regarding times and locations of these checkpoints must be publicly disclosed so ample warning is given. Regardless, most consumers are usually unaware of the details, which actually helps keep Maryland roads and highways safer.
Although checkpoints are constitutionally legal (according to the Supreme Court), 10 states do not permit this action since their own constitution forbids it. The 10 states are Wyoming, Wisconsin, Texas, Rhode Island, Oregon, Minnesota, Michigan, Iowa, Idaho, and Washington.
Pleading Down To “Reckless Driving”
You may be able to plea down from a DUI or DWI to a lesser offense. The less-serious conviction could potentially save you thousands of dollars in fines, penalties and insurance surcharges. A jail sentence also might be avoided. Whether pleading for the lower conviction is advantageous will depend on many factors that your attorney can review with you. In some situations, it may not be feasible, or can not be justified, based on the facts of the case.
Also, your car insurance rate is still going to increase, since “reckless operation” of a vehicle is considered a major violation. However, the rate hike will be less than a DUI or DWI conviction. If multiple prior offenses appear on your driving record at the time of your DUI or DWI, a reckless operation conviction may still result in a suspended license. Also, until the violation is at least three years old, it may be most cost-effective to remain with your existing insurer.