Maryland Auto Insurance Fund (MAIF)

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Maryland Auto Insurance (MAI) is a resource for drivers who can't find a car insurance company willing to insure them. This can be because your driving record includes accidents, tickets or just a lack of driving experience, which translates to higher risks that insurers typically don't want to undertake.

MAI, however, will find you an insurer so that you can drive legally in MD. Coverage generally costs more in the MAI program, so you’ll want to work your way to a clean driving record in order to find coverage at lower rates in Maryland’s voluntary (regular) insurance market.

MAI was formerly called the Maryland Auto Insurance Fund, or MAIF.

What is the Maryland Auto Insurance Fund (MAIF)?

The state of Maryland founded the Maryland Auto Insurance Fund (MAIF) in 1973 to cover Maryland drivers who could not obtain the legally required auto insurance coverage from the voluntary market. In mid-2015, it was rebranded Maryland Auto Insurance (MAI), but the goal remains the same.

The MAI program does not turn down any Maryland motorists, unless their last policy cancellation was due to nonpayment of insurance premiums.

The MAI operates as a mutual fund, meaning it is paid for by the premiums received from policyholders and from its investment portfolio. A network of over 1,400 agents from existing auto insurance agencies are authorized to write policies on behalf of MAI. Although Maryland Auto is not a direct insurance company that sells policies online or over the phone, it has its own claims hotline, as well as several physical claims centers for its policyholders.

Maryland Auto Insurance eligibility

As long as you live in Maryland and have a valid driver’s license, you are eligible to apply to MAI. However, you will also need to show that you have been turned down by at least two auto insurers in the state or that your policy has been canceled by your insurer because of actions that place you in the high-risk category.

You may not be eligible for MAI if you were canceled by an insurer because you didn’t pay your insurance premium. Once you pay that insurance bill, you may apply to MAI.

Maryland Auto Insurance coverage

Coverage options and requirements for drivers using MAI are the same as for drivers in the voluntary market. By the Maryland financial responsibility law, the minimum requirement to drive on the road is to carry coverages for bodily injury at 30/60 and property damage of $15,000, as well as uninsured motorists at 30/60/15. You must also carry personal injury protection (PIP) of $2,500, with a choice of full or limited.

You can buy higher levels of coverage for all of these. Talk with your insurance agent about your financial situation in order to determine the appropriate level of coverage for your situation.

Mandatory coverage
Maryland minimum required limits
Bodily injury (BI)$30,000 per person/$60,000 per accident
Property damage (PD)$15,000 per accident
Uninsured/underinsured motorists BI (UM/UIMBI)$30,000 per person / $60,000 per accident
Uninsured/underinsured motorists PD (UM/UIMPD)$15,000 per accident
Personal injury protection (PIP)$2,500 full or limited

You may choose to buy optional coverages, much like with any other Maryland auto insurance companies. Extra coverage will, of course, result in a higher premium. There are no statutory minimum coverage amounts for these optional coverages. Some of the commonly seen coverages that are also available through the MAI include:

A policy through MAI will generally last for a year. You should receive a notice of renewal from your insurance company at least 45 days before the policy expires. Your policy will usually be renewed, unless you have failed to pay your premiums, had your license revoked, or experienced accidents or driving violations that change your risk profile in the eyes of your insurer.

MAI premiums and payment plans

Insurance premiums in the voluntary market are priced based on many underwriting criteria. The same rules apply for MAI premiums, with one major difference: Maryland Auto does not consider your credit score, education or occupation when determining your premiums. By understanding those factors that affect the price of your premium, you can work to reduce your premiums over time, whether you are still with the MAI or have moved on to insurers in the voluntary market.

There are three ways to pay for your MAI policy:

Pay in full: Pay your year’s worth of coverage up front, which will also result in a discount.

Interest-free installment plan: Pay your premiums over the agreed installment period without interest.

Finance through an extended payment plan: Sign a loan agreement with a third-party finance company, and pay the company back, plus interest, over an installment period.

If you choose the installment plan, be sure to pay your insurance premiums on time. A lapse in payments will be grounds for having your policy canceled, which could eliminate your last chance of holding adequate auto insurance in Maryland. Furthermore, a lapse is automatically reported to Maryland’s Motor Vehicle Administration. The MVA will follow up to make sure you have insurance coverage, and there are penalties for driving without insurance in Maryland.

How to get insurance through Maryland Automobile Insurance

Many licensed insurance agents in the state are also authorized Maryland Auto agents. You can use the MAI website to find an agent near you, who will explain your options for coverage through MAI and help you apply.

For MAI claims, call them at 1-800-492-7120.

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