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Auto insurance. Maine.
Laws and Minimum Requirement
Maine law requires all drivers to carry liability auto insurance. In all states, the minimum liability is measured according to three factors: 1) Bodily injury liability maximum for one person injured in an accident,
2) Bodily injury liability maximum for all injuries in one accident, and 3) property damage liability maximum for one accident. These numbers generally appear together, in units of 1,000. The minimum auto liability coverage in Maine is 50/100/25; meaning $50,000 bodily injury or death for one person per accident, $100,000 bodily injury maximum for all injuries per accident, and $25,000 property damage maximum per accident.
You cannot register your vehicle unless you show proof that you have this minimum amount of insurance. There is also a mandatory $1,000 medical payments coverage that is required.
Liability auto coverage refers to your ability to pay for accidents that you cause. In other words, if you are involved in an accident and are shown to be at fault, and you only carry liability auto coverage, your insurance will not cover any personal injury or damage to your own vehicle that resulted from the accident. It is important to realize that carrying minimum liability auto insurance, although it does meet the legal requirements, may not be enough to cover the costs of an accident. It is a good idea to consider more extensive coverage, if possible.
What Affects Policy Cost
A number of factors affect the insurance premiums you pay. Different insurance companies may determine rates in different ways, but here are some of the items that affect the cost of the policy.
- Driving Record. Insurers will ask about accidents and traffic violations for any driver covered by the policy for the prior 3-5 years. Drivers with previous violations or at- fault accidents are considered to be a higher risk and may be charged a higher premium.
- Where you live. If you live in an area with more traffic (a city versus a rural area), industry statistic show that you have a greater chance for an accident and therefore will pay more for coverage.
- Gender and Age. Statistics show that males still have more accidents than females. For that reason, young men may tend to pay more for insurance than young women. Insurers also have statistics that show a higher number of claims for some age groups than for others.
- Marital Status. Insurance company claims records show a lower rate of auto insurance claims among married policyholders.
- Prior Insurance Coverage. If you have previously been cancelled for non-payment of premiums, insurers want to know. If you have had insurance, your new insurer may ask your prior company about any claims you had.
- Mileage. The more you drive, the more opportunity for an accident - and the more you pay for coverage.
- Type of vehicle. Certain vehicles cost more to repair or replace. An insurance company charges more for physical damage coverage on one of these vehicles.
Discounts are awarded because the insurance company views you as a "better risk." You should be aware of the discounts offered by companies before buying auto insurance. Here are some discounts you should look for:
Uninsured/Underinsured motorists coverage.
- Age 55 Years or Older. In September 2001, a new law was passed that requires insurance companies to provide a discount for liability, medical payments, and collision coverages for insured drivers 55 years and older who complete an approved motor vehicle accident prevention course. Insureds may contact the Bureau of Highway Safety at 624-8756 for a list of approved courses and times. The discount may not be applied if either the insured or a member of the insured's household was involved in an at-fault accident or moving violation during the previous three years. The discount may not be applied 36 months after the course completion; however, a new course may be completed to continue the discount.
- Multiple Vehicles - Most insurance companies offer a discount to consumers that insure more than one car with their company. Companies offer these discounts not only because they want all of your business, but also because it is easier for them to underwrite individuals that they know, thus reducing their risk and saving them money. Industry statistics show that individuals and families that insure more than one car have better than average claims experience. Through this discount, companies pass along some of their savings to you.
- Driver Education Courses. Discounts for driver education courses are targeted primarily at younger and older drivers.
- Good Student. Insurers have found that students who are responsible enough to earn a B average or better tend to be more responsible drivers. For that reason, many companies offer a "Good Student Discount."
- Safety Devices. Automobile safety devices can lower insurers' costs by preventing accidents or limiting their severity. These savings are passed along to the policyholder through discounts for safety equipment. This equipment includes air bags, automatic seat belts, and anti-lock brakes.
- Anti-Theft Devices - Devices or systems that deter theft or vandalism also lower claims costs. Many companies offer discounts for anti-theft devices.
- Low Mileage - The fewer miles you drive, the less chance you have of getting into an accident. Insurers recognize this fact and generally offer discounts for low mileage drivers. Some companies also offer discounts for drivers that participate in car pools.
- Good Driver/Renewal. Some insurers offer discounts to drivers who maintain a good driving record and renew their policy with the same insurer.
- Auto/Home Package - Some insurers offer a discount on one or both policies if an individual buys a homeowner policy and an auto policy from the same insurer.
- Dividends - Some insurers, particularly mutual insurers, offer dividends to policyholders if the sale of auto insurance has been profitable to them. Dividends are declared and paid after the policy period has expired.
This coverage pays if you are hurt by a hit-and-run driver or a driver who does not have auto insurance. This coverage actually takes the place of the insurance that the other driver should have purchased but didn't. Although liability insurance is required by State law, not all drivers obey the law. This coverage also provides protection if you are injured by a driver who is underinsured Underinsured drivers are those who have insurance but who bought insurance limits lower than the amount you purchased. Consequently, their coverage may not be enough to pay for your injuries.
The minimum amount of uninsured motorists coverage that you must buy is $50,000 per person and $100,000 per accident. Uninsured motorists coverage does not protect the other driver and it does not cover damage to your vehicle.