In Maine all drivers must carry automobile insurance in order to be on the road legally. However, if your driving record includes accidents or traffic tickets, you may find it a challenge to get an auto insurer willing to cover you. If you are turned down for auto insurance, you can look into the Maine Automobile Insurance Plan (ME AIP). As long as you meet the eligibility criteria described below, the Maine AIP will ensure that you receive coverage. In Maine, a minimum policy includes liability, medical and uninsured motorist coverages.
What is the Maine Automobile Insurance Plan (ME AIP)?
Maine’s Automobile Insurance Plan began in 1970 as Maine’s assigned risk pool. Its purpose is to make sure that all Maine drivers who are considered poor risks by auto insurers still receive coverage. Auto insurance companies in Maine’s voluntary market choose to insure drivers who they consider “good risk” for the business, and reject those they consider “bad risk” or “high risk” drivers that would represent losses. The Plan was created as a contract between the State and all the Maine insurers to accept a proportion of high risk drivers in the assigned risk pool.
The Maine AIP is an entity that assigns drivers to insurance companies that already do business in the state. Assignments are based on the overall market share of those auto insurers in Maine. So for example, if GEICO covers 8% of all drivers in Maine, then GEICO will be assigned 8% of all drivers who apply for coverage through the Maine AIP. The Plan does not actually cover that many drivers, but it is there as a last resort if you need it.
Once you are assigned an auto insurer, that assignment lasts 3 years. Ideally, you will use this time to build a better driving record and become eligible for lower auto insurance rates in Maine. However, if you remain a high risk at the end of 3 years, then you can re-apply to the Maine AIP and be considered a “new” applicant. As long as you are otherwise eligible, you should receive coverage once again.
Maine AIP Eligibility
In order to apply for coverage through Maine AIP, you must certify on your application that you have tried to obtain auto insurance in the preceding 60 days – without success. If that is the situation you face, then you also need a car registered in Maine and a valid driver’s license.
Your application to the Maine AIP may not proceed if:
- You have failed to pay an auto insurance premium within the previous 12 months
- Your auto insurance has been cancelled within the last 12 months because you did not bring your car for a requested inspection by an insurance representative
- Your application is deemed to misrepresent important facts about your driving record or vehicle such that the application was made in bad faith
If you do pay the outstanding auto insurance premium bill, and/or bring your vehicle for inspection, then your application to the Maine AIP can proceed immediately. However, if your insurer thinks you made your application in bad faith, then the Maine AIP can require you to wait for 12 months before applying to them again.
Maine AIP Coverage
Even if you are receiving coverage through Maine AIP’s assigned risk pool, the coverage options you have are mostly the same as those in the voluntary market. The table below shows the mandatory coverages that you must carry in Maine.
Note that your level of Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist coverage is tied to the level of Bodily Injury coverage you choose. Unlike other states, such as in New York, in Maine the two coverage limits must be the same. If you wish to choose a lower level of Uninsured Motorist coverage, you can fill out an additional form to signify that, and to specify the lower level of coverage that you want instead. In addition, you may purchase higher levels of these coverages as shown. Talk to your insurance agent about what level of protection is appropriate for your specific situation.
|Mandatory Coverage||Maine Required Min. Limits||Maine AIP Maximum Limits|
|Bodily Injury (BI)||$50,000 per person / $100,000 per accident||$250,000 per person /$ 500,000 per accident|
|Property Damage (PD)||$25,000 per accident||$100,000 per accident|
|Medical Payments (MedPay)||$2,000 per person / accident||$5,000 per person / accident|
|Uninsured / Underinsured Bodily Injury (UM/UIMBI)||$50,000 per person/$100,000 per accident||Same as your BI limits|
The state of Maine also offers optional insurance coverages through the AIP. Note that Comprehensive and Collision coverages can be purchased separately or together. If you decide to purchase these, you will have to choose among deductibles of $50, $100, $250, $500, or $1,000 for each. The deductible is the amount that you must pay out of pocket for repairs before your insurance coverage kicks in. Also note that this coverage is capped at $75,000 per accident. Finally, if your vehicle is an antique (older than 25 years) then your assigned insurer does not have to offer Physical Damage coverage for it at all.
|Optional Coverage||Maine AIP Min. Limits||Maine AIP Maximum Limits|
|Comprehensive||Actual cash value of your car, no mroe than $75,000||No higher limit|
|Collision||Actual cash value of your car, no mroe than $75,000||No higher limit|
Maine AIP Premiums and Payments
According to Maine’s Bureau of Insurance, drivers who find coverage through the Maine AIP are likely to pay more for their insurance than average. But because different auto insurers in the state use different criteria to assess you as a risk, there is no one magic formula for how much more you may pay. There are many factors that Maine auto insurers might consider when they evaluate you as a risk when they give you an auto insurance quote. The more you understand about these factors, the more actions you can take to lower your risk and find cheaper auto insurance.
There are several ways to pay your auto insurance bills in Maine. The first is to pay the entire annual premium – as quoted by your insurance agent – at the time you submit your application. The second is to pay 50% of your annual premium with the application, and pay the other 50% within 30 days of receiving your policy. The third way is an installment plan. In this case, you can pay 25% of the entire annual premium as a deposit, and then pay the remainder in 5 equal monthly installments that end 6 months after your policy’s “effective” date.
It’s important to pay your auto insurance premium on time. In Maine, there is no grace period for paying your insurance bill. If your installment payment is even one day late, your assigned insurer can legally cancel your policy.
How to Apply for Insurance through Maine Automobile Insurance Plan
The Maine AIP certifies auto insurance agents in Maine before they can submit applications to the Plan. So ask your insurance agent about the Maine AIP if you are refused auto insurance coverage, or if the insurance quote you receive seems unusually high.
To learn more about the Maine AIP, you can call the Maine Bureau of Insurance at 207-624-8475 or visit the Maine Automobile Insurance Plan website.