What You Need to Know About Car Insurance in the DMV

Car insurance is mandatory in DC and Maryland, but not in Virginia. Rules differ substantially in all three jurisdictions. 

Let’s take a look at the requirements and consequences for violations. Remember that when you have a question about insurance coverage, it is important to look not only at the legal requirements but also the contractual terms of insurance policies to know exactly what is covered because every policy is different.

No-Fault Insurance in DC

In DC, the Compulsory/No-Fault Motor Vehicle Insurance Act requires drivers to carry insurance for property damage they cause to others and injuries they cause to others. In addition, they must buy insurance to pay for their own injuries and property damage if they are in a collision with an uninsured motorist. Failure to carry required coverage subjects the vehicle owner to fines and penalties and the registration will be suspended. 

The absolute minimum coverage amounts are:

  • PD – Coverage for property damage to others $10,000
  • BI – Coverage for bodily injury $25,000 per person/$50,000 per accident
  • UM BI – Coverage for bodily injury caused by uninsured motorists $25,000 per person/$50,000 per accident
  • UM – PD – Coverage for property damage caused by uninsured motorists – $5,000 (with a $200 deductible)

The DC Department of Motor Vehicles recommends that anyone involved in a collision with no injuries complete a designated checklist to record necessary information and then report the accident to their insurance company. If a crash involves injuries, someone should call 911.

Maryland Requires Liability Coverage

In Maryland, anyone who registers a vehicle must have proof of liability coverage. This pays for injuries and damage that the driver of the insured vehicle causes to others. Coverage for damage or injuries caused by uninsured motorists is not required.

Vehicle insurance in Maryland must provide at least $15,000 coverage for property damage, $30,000 coverage for bodily injury to one individual and $60,000 coverage for injuries to two or more people. Driving without proper insurance can subject you to a fine of up to $2,500 and suspension of the registration.

Uninsured Motorists Can Still Register Vehicles in Virginia

If you drive through the state of Virginia, it is wise to have uninsured motorist coverage on your policy. That is because the state allows drivers the option of driving without insurance, so long as they pay the state a $500 fee every year.

Drivers who falsely claim to have insurance coverage need to pay additional fees and provide proof of insurance for the next three years in order to register a vehicle. If someone is involved in an accident with an uninsured motorist in Virginia, they should report the accident to the DMV.

Drivers and vehicle owners who choose to operate without insurance agree to assume personal liability for harm they cause. That means they can be sued after an accident.

Talk to a Knowledgeable Attorney for Help with Insurance After an Accident

With different insurance requirements throughout the DMV, it can be hard to know what to do if you’re in an accident. Do you report it to your insurance company or the other driver’s? How do you file a lawsuit if the driver is uninsured?

An experienced car accident attorney can help you determine the best course of action and speak to insurance companies on your behalf to help you avoid inadvertently saying something that could jeopardize your ability to recover. To discuss your potential case with a dedicated attorney at Johnnie Bond Law, contact us today.