Maryland Auto Insurance — The Best and the Cheapest
From Deep Creek Lake to National Harbor, Maryland has loads to offer. However, before you take the wheel and start exploring, make sure you have adequate car insurance and know the state’s rules and regulations.
The average Maryland auto insurance is marginally above the national average, but that doesn’t mean there are no attractive bargains out there. Our team gathered quotes from all over the Old Line State so that you can get the best bang for your buck.
We’ve also explained Maryland’s car insurance laws in great detail but without any technical mumbo-jumbo. Lastly, we’ve offered tips that can slash your cost of insurance by up to 60%.
In short, this post has everything to prep you up for a great and affordable ride in the Free State.
The Best Car Insurance in Maryland
- Erie Auto Insurance — The Overall Winner
- GEICO — Runner-up
- Progressive — The Cheapest Option
- Nationwide — The Best for Vanishing Deductible
- USAA — The Best for Military
The Overall Winner: Erie Auto Insurance
Premium services come with a hefty price tag — right? Wrong. Maryland drivers willing to try Erie Auto Insurance can enjoy the best of both worlds.
Erie’s rates, though not the lowest, are pretty competitive. At $143 a month, Erie car insurance in Maryland is 13% cheaper than the state’s average. And when it comes to customer service, its record is simply unsurpassable. The insurer notched up a perfect score in overall satisfaction in J.D. Power customer service study for the Maryland region (Mid-Atlantic).
Furthermore, its NAIC ratio of 0.64 is way below the industry average. The lower the ratio, the fewer complaints the insurer gets. The insurer also scores high in financial strength, earning “A+” from A.M. Best. Its performance in this department is just about as good as any other name in this list of car insurance companies in Maryland.
However, the insurer has one glaring weakness. It doesn’t offer a mobile app. But if that’s not a dealbreaker for you, Erie is one name you wouldn’t want to ignore. The insurer almost has it all — affordable premiums, top-shelf service, and superior financial strength.
Choose Erie for its excellent service and reasonably-priced rates.
Look elsewhere if you want an insurer with a smartphone app.
What Erie lacks, GEICO has in abundance. Its mobile app is head and shoulders above the competition. Also, GEICO’s average premium is 7% cheaper than Erie’s. If you’re looking for cheap auto insurance in Maryland that’s well-supported by a swanky smartphone app, keep GEICO on your radar.
Most car insurers offer apps, yet not all apps are created equal. GEICO is well-ahead of the rest in the technology game and offers an app that’s nothing short of an insurance concierge right in your pocket.
Want to chat with a company’s representative on the go? Just tap the app. Looking for the cheapest gas station? No problem, the app will find it for you. Want to view your insurance policy, make changes to it, or call roadside assistance? Well, GEICO’s app is all you need.
Apart from a great mobile app and cheap Maryland car insurance rates, GEICO boasts the best financial strength. It earned the highest rating from A.M. Best — “A+.” What’s more, its customer service record, while not as impressive as Erie’s, is right up there. The insurer got 4 out of 5 stars and third overall rank in J.D. Power’s regional study.
However, GEICO doesn’t provide GAP insurance. If that’s something you won’t miss, this insurer is definitely an appealing option, especially if you’re looking for cheap car insurance in Maryland.
Choose GEICO for its competitive rates and quality service.
Look elsewhere if you need GAP insurance.
The Cheapest Option: Progressive
If there were prizes for customer service, Progressive would come a cropper since it got only 2 out of 5 stars in J.D. Power’s regional study. Nevertheless, the insurer would bag a handful if there were awards for affordability. At $123 a month, Progressive offers the cheapest car insurance in MD.
Jaw-dropping rates, however, are not the only reason to consider Progressive. It also has innovative features up its sleeve, none better than the Name Your Price tool. Thanks to it, you can find the best coverage options available at your rate in a jiffy.
Progressive doesn’t disappoint in the financial strength department either. It managed an “A+” — the same rating as Erie’s — from A.M. Best, which is pretty good going indeed.
In the end, Progressive is an appealing option for all those looking for best car insurance rates in Maryland, provided they don’t mind living with its below-par service.
Choose Progressive if you want dirt-cheap premiums.
Look elsewhere if you value customer service highly.
The Best for Vanishing Deductible: Nationwide
You may have heard the jingle “Nationwide is on your side.” But does the insurer measure up well against the competition in the Old Line State?
Depends on what you’re looking for.
If your priority is low-cost insurance, Nationwide appears to be a good option. Its Maryland car insurance rates, although not as enticing as Progressive’s or GEICO’s, are definitely on the lower side.
The insurer is also on your side if you want low-deductible car insurance. Nationwide promises to take $100 off your deductible for each claim-free year. Aside from this, it offers two more ways to save on auto insurance: SmartRide and Accident Forgiveness. The first one rewards safe driving, whereas the second ensures there’s no premium hike on account of your first at-fault crash.
However, Nationwide auto insurance Maryland is certainly not on your side when it comes to customer service, coming last in the J.D. Power regional study. But if you can be patient with its customer service, Nationwide is worth considering, particularly if your top priority is affordable car insurance.
Choose Nationwide for its vanishing deductible.
Look elsewhere if you want top-notch service or best rates.
The Best for Military: USAA
USAA is one of the top players in Maryland, and it’s not hard to understand why. The insurer offers cheap insurance in MD, promises a top-class experience, and has the best possible financial strength ratings. If all this wasn’t enough, USAA boasts a sleek, intuitive mobile app that makes it easier to manage your policy on-the-go or file a claim.
However, USAA doesn’t cater to everyone. Its insurance and financial products are only for those associated with the US military and their loved ones. If that sounds like you, check out USAA before any other insurer. It’s that good.
Choose USAA for its great performance across the board.
Look elsewhere if you don’t qualify.
Cheapest Car Insurance in MD (By City)
Your cost of car insurance depends on your location. Prices can swing dramatically from one city in Maryland to the next. To find out how major cities stack up against each other when it comes to premium rates, we compiled quotes from several key carriers. Our quote, which included full coverage limits, was for an experienced male driver with an unblemished record.
Maryland’s major economic hub and the largest city, Baltimore is known for its diverse culture, beautiful harbor, and unique museums. The world-famous John Hopkins Hospital is located in Baltimore, as is the University of Maryland Medical Center.
Looking for low-cost car insurance in Baltimore? Here are some names worth considering.
Best for 21-year-olds
It’s an open secret that young drivers get the worse end of the deal. Insurers rate them high-risk and charge a higher rate to compensate for the increased risk. The story is the same in Baltimore, where inexperienced drivers cough up nearly 47% more for car insurance than experienced motorists.
But all is not lost. GEICO is one player that offers affordable car insurance in Baltimore, Maryland, to young motorists. Other carriers from whom you can expect a good bargain include Progressive and Farmers.
Best for 40-year-olds
Baltimore drivers have it quite rough. The city’s average monthly premium is significantly higher than the state’s average. Nevertheless, not all insurers are equally expensive. You can count on Progressive and GEICO to deliver a good bargain. State Farm is another player that offers affordable auto insurance in Baltimore, MD.
Best for 70-year-olds
Senior drivers looking for a good deal might want to add Farmers, Progressive, and GEICO on their lists. While Farmers has the lowest premium for this age group, GEICO boasts the best customer service record among these three.
Known for its beautiful mountain views, Frederick is a fun and easy place to live in. It is located at an hour’s drive from Baltimore and Washington D.C. and is best known for the National Museum of Civil War Medicine and the Schifferstadt Architectural Museum.
Those looking for affordable auto insurance must strongly consider GEICO. Maryland drivers should also check out Progressive, as its average premium rate in the city is only a dollar more expensive than GEICO’s. That said, if you hold experience dearer than price, Erie, with its perfect score in overall satisfaction, is the one for you.
Rockville, one of the oldest towns in the Old Line State, has an estimated population of over 68,000. It is located northwest of Washington D.C. and has fast grown into a cosmopolitan city that has something for everyone.
GEICO has the lowest premium rate in Rockville, albeit only marginally. Progressive, which has the best car insurance rates in Maryland otherwise, comes a close second. Other names worth a shot include Travelers, Nationwide, and, of course, Erie.
Nicknamed the Hub City, Hagerstown is the sixth-largest city in Maryland with an estimated population of over 40,000. It is a primarily industrial and commercial hub for the Tri-State Area that includes a significant portion of Western Maryland, a good chunk of West Virginia, and much of South Central Pennsylvania.
Car insurance in Hagerstown, Maryland, is cheaper than in other cities on the list. Progressive beats the competition hands down in the price department, with an average premium that’s roughly 18% lower than that of its nearest competitor — GEICO. Another good option is Erie, which has competitive rates and the best customer service record.
Located on the Chesapeake Bay, Annapolis is the capital city of Maryland. The city is also known as the “Sailing Capital of the US.” It is famous for its maritime heritage, scenic streets, and historic inns.
Though average car insurance rates in Annapolis, Maryland, are the second-costliest, they are much below the state’s average rate. Budget buyers should start their search with Progressive, which offers the best value for money. That said, its customer service record is pedestrian at best. GEICO, the second-most affordable option, on the other hand, boasts a stellar record, notching up 4 stars out of 5 in J.D. Power’s regional study. Erie, which leads the pack in customer service and has reasonably-competitive rates, is another option you can’t ignore.
Maryland Car Insurance Laws
Maryland Auto Insurance Fund
Can’t seem to find a company willing to insure you?
You’re not alone. Many drivers get turned down by car insurance companies on account of a botched up driving record or lack of driving experience.
That said, there’s one provider who will welcome you with wide-open arms — MAIF. Created in 1973, it makes sure that the state’s difficult drivers get the level of car insurance they need. Unlike private insurers, it doesn’t reject you for your driving record, as long as you meet the following requirements.
- You must be a Maryland resident.
- You must possess a valid MD driver license and vehicle registration.
- You must be able to show MAIF that you tried obtaining coverage in the last 60 days from at least two carriers, but couldn’t do so.
- Your last policy must not have been canceled because of non-payment of premiums.
You can either buy the state’s bare minimum auto insurance coverage or a higher level of coverage. Much like other carriers in the state, it offers drivers plenty of coverage options, making it easier for drivers to get adequate coverage, regardless of their driving profile.
It was later renamed to just MAI in 2015, but the goal remained unchanged — to ensure that more drivers get coverage.
Maryland Car Insurance Requirements
Along with a valid driver’s license, you need car insurance that provides the following bare minimum requirements to legally drive in the Old Line State.
- Bodily Injury Liability — $30,000 per person/$60,000 per accident. If you hurt someone in a car accident, this coverage pays the victim’s medical bills.
- Property Damage Liability — $15,000 per accident. Your Maryland auto insurance provider compensates others for the damage you cause to their property.
- Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury Coverage — $30,000 per person/$60,000 per accident. This type of coverage covers medical bills for injuries you and your passengers suffer in an accident caused by a motorist with no insurance.
- Uninsured Motorist Property Damage Coverage — $15,000 per accident. This coverage can save the day for you when your car or property gets damaged in a car accident caused by an uninsured driver.
- Personal Injury Protection (PIP) — $2,500 per accident. A PIP coverage ensures your Maryland car insurance company pays out your medical expenses up to the policy limit, regardless of fault.
Price Optimization in Maryland
There’s more to your car insurance premium than just risk. What kind of consumer you are matters too. Carriers collect customers’ personal details to determine how likely they are to dump them in favor of another provider.
If they think you’re someone who doesn’t particularly like changing insurers, they will gleefully bump up your premium on a consistent basis — enough to boost their profits but not too much to scare you away.
Thankfully, motorists in the Free State don’t have to worry about getting the short end of the stick. Maryland auto insurance companies who optimize premium rates risk the wrath of the Maryland Insurance Administration — an independent body that regulates the insurance industry in the state.
Maryland was one of the first few US states to ban the practice of price optimization. In the bulletin 14-23, dated October 31, 2014, the Maryland Insurance Administration declared price optimization unfair and instructed carriers to stop using it.
Car Insurance for New Residents in Maryland
According to AAA’s guidelines on laws pertaining to car insurance in Maryland, new residents need to register their vehicles within 60 days of taking residency. However, active US Military personnel may keep their out-of-state registration.
SR22 Insurance in Maryland
A revoked or suspended driving license may seem like the end of the road for you, but that’s hardly the case. You can legally get behind the wheel by filing an SR22 — a form that shows the state you have sufficient coverage and hence fit to drive.
Who files the SR22? What is the filing fee? Most importantly, how does an SR22 requirement impact your premium?
Your MD auto insurance company submits the SR22 form with the local DMV by paying a $15–25 fee. Expect your premium rate to climb up considerably on account of the SR22 requirement.
The encouraging news is that you’ll not have to pay a higher rate forever. Maintaining a good record and paying premiums on time can help you qualify for normal rates as early as 3 years. Also, some car insurance companies in Maryland, such as Progressive, are easier on high-risk drivers than others, so compare rates to make the best of a bad bargain.
No-Fault Laws in Maryland
Maryland is a Tort state, much like its neighboring state Virginia. That is to say, the driver who’s responsible for the crash must bear the financial responsibility for the resulting injuries and other damage. In most cases, it’s your car insurance company in Maryland that pays for your mistakes on the road, up to the policy limit.
In case the at-fault driver doesn’t have enough coverage to cover all the damages, the victim can either exhaust their underinsured motorist coverage or file a personal suit. However, in the Old Line State, you can win compensation only if you prove the other driver was 100% at-fault.
Maryland practices pure contributory negligence, which prevents the injured parties from receiving compensation even if they were 1% responsible for their injuries.
How to Shop for Auto Insurance in MD
Check Auto Insurance Reviews
We all want cheap car insurance rates, but service is what matters most when you are left stranded by the side of the road. No less important are financial standing ratings, which indicate how well a carrier can pay claims.
Therefore, if you want to pick an all-round winner, don’t just look at the price. Also check out auto insurance reviews, such as the ones included in our car insurance rankings, to get a better view of various insurance companies.
Compare Car Insurance Quotes in Maryland
Nobody gets their jollies off comparing auto insurance quotes, but it can help you slash your insurance cost considerably. Each insurer follows its own unique algorithm to set premium rates, and prices can vary dramatically from one provider to the next. The only way to ensure that you’re paying the best price is to grab a quote from multiple insurers and compare them.
Determine Who Provides the Best Discount
You can shave precious dollars off your Maryland auto insurance rate by taking full advantage of insurance discounts. Some of the common rebates available across the companies in the Free State include:
- Good Driver Discount — Have you been violation-free and accident-free for the last five years? If yes, there’s some good news. You can save up to 20% on your car insurance premium.
- Multiple Policy Discount — A multiple policy discount is one of the most common discounts offered by carriers and an easy way to bring down your average monthly car insurance in Maryland. Combine home or any other insurance with auto insurance and see the savings pile up.
- Multiple Line Discount — You can win a handsome discount by insuring two or more vehicles from the same carrier.
- Good Student Discount — It’s not just your parents who want to see you getting good grades in school; insurers like them too. Carriers tend to offer lower rates to students with a GPA of 3.0 or higher.
- Safe Driving Discount — The best way to get the cheapest car insurance in MD is by proving yourself to be a safe driver. Participate in the driver behavior monitoring program run by your insurer and save big time.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Is Maryland a no-fault state?
No, it’s not. Like the majority of states in the US, Maryland is a tort, or an at-fault state, but with a difference.
In an at-fault state, the insurer of the driver responsible for the accident must recompense the injured party for their injuries and other damage. Also, the victim can sue the negligent driver if the compensation isn’t enough.
However, Maryland is one of the few tort states where you don’t get any compensation if you’re at all responsible for your injuries.
2. How much is car insurance in Maryland?
The average premium rate in the Old Line State is $164/month. Our quote included full coverage limits while our sample policyholder was a male driver (age 40) with a pristine driving record. Since carriers assess each driver’s risk profile differently, the only way to find the lowest premium on the level of coverage you need is to compare quotes of multiple insurance companies. Generally speaking, high-risk drivers get billed at a higher rate, as do new drivers.
3. Can you drive a car without insurance in Maryland?
No, you cannot. It is illegal to operate a vehicle in the Free State without proof of insurance.
4. Who has the cheapest car insurance in Maryland?
Progressive offers the best bang for the buck in the Old Line State. Its average premium is $123/month, which is roughly 8% lower than GEICO’s rate. However, the latter has a much better customer service record. Erie, on the other hand, tops the charts in customer service and also holds its own against its competitors in the price department.
5. What happens if you get pulled over without insurance in Maryland?
Driving without a valid Maryland auto insurance policy can land you in the soup. The maximum penalty for the first offense includes a $1,000 fine, 5 points on your driver’s license, and 12 months of incarceration. A second offense can result in a fine of over $2,000, jail time of 2 years, and 5 more points on your license.