In the state of Maryland, it is against the Financial Responsibility Law to drive without the minimum required car insurance coverage. In fact, you can’t even register your car without your insurer signing and submitting an FR-19 form to the Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) for you. State law requires you to carry a minimum of $30,000 for bodily injury per person, $60,000 for bodily injury per accident and $15,000 for property damage per accident. Not having valid car insurance can mean heavy fines and even jail time.
For driving without insurance, penalties vary depending on the circumstances. You could face up to $2,000 in fines plus administrative fees that add up daily. Your license could be suspended or revoked, and you might even face up to two years in jail. If you plan on canceling your insurance, turn in your tag first to avoid penalties.
Penalties for driving without insurance
Driving in the state of Maryland and letting your car insurance lapse can be a very serious offense, even if you were unaware of a lapse in your coverage. Maryland state law has a system of automatic fines penalizing lapses, and insurers are required to report to the MVA whenever a policy has been canceled or not renewed.
On top of the fine for driving uninsured, there will also be an administrative fee that you get charged for every day you go without insurance. You could lose your license plates and vehicle registration privileges, requiring a restoration fee of up to $25 to get it back. You are prohibited from registering any future vehicles or renewing a suspended registration until all insurance violations are cleared and every fine has been paid.
In addition, not having adequate car insurance in Maryland is considered a misdemeanor, affecting both your record and your auto insurance rates. If you accumulate multiple penalties, you will likely need to get a high-risk driver insurance plan.
First-time offender penalties
If you fail to present valid proof of active insurance when requested by law enforcement, such as at a traffic stop or at the scene of an accident, you will be fined for driving without insurance. For a first offense, which is considered a misdemeanor, you could get up to a $1,000 fine and a one-year imprisonment for providing false evidence of car insurance. In addition, you’ll be hit with administrative penalties for an insurance lapse, as well as five points on your license.
Second and subsequent offenses
For a second offense, the jail time could increase to two years, and the fine can be as much as $2,000. At the very least, you could be charged with another five points on your license, which would definitely lead to the MVA issuing you a Notice of Suspension. The MVA could require you to enroll in a driver improvement program. The penalty for both the first and subsequent offenses can also raise your insurance rates in the future.
Administrative penalties for an insurance lapse
Even if you are not immediately caught driving uninsured or charged with a crime, allowing the insurance to lapse on your car can also lead to administrative fees from the Motor Vehicle Administration that are entirely independent of the criminal fine. The administrative fee can stack up to a maximum of $2,500 for each violation in a 12-month period.
Your administrative fine assessment will cover the duration of your insurance-lapse period since the day your insurer reported the cancellation of your policy to the MVA. Pleading ignorance will not help; the fines may apply even if you did not know that the car was uninsured. The administrative fee is calculated based on the number of days your insurance has lapsed.
- $150 for lapsing less than 30 days
- $7 for each additional day the car is uninsured after the first 30 days (up to $2,500)