Why Do Maine Drivers Need Uninsured Motorist Auto Insurance?
Motor vehicle owners in Maine are required to carry uninsured motorist (UM) coverage to protect them from having to pay their own crash-related hospital bills that are caused by drivers who have not purchased the required amount of car insurance. Despite laws requiring Mainers to carry coverage, the ME Bureau of Motor Vehicles estimates that roughly 7 percent of the people driving along Maine’s 22,000 miles of public roadways are uninsured.
If a policyholder is involved in an accident caused by someone who lacks adequate coverage or someone who flees the crash site, UM takes effect to cover many of the resulting expenses. This mandatory insurance pays for bodily injuries to the insured driver, family members, and other passengers who are in the car at the time of the crash. Additionally, it covers members of the insured’s household who are injured by another car while walking, biking, or riding in a separate motor vehicle.
Maine motorists are considered underinsured when they are at fault in an accident and the resulting damages exceed the limits of their liability insurance. In the Pine Tree State, the minimum liability threshold is $50,000 for bodily injury for a single person, $100,000 for bodily injury per accident, and $25,000 for property damage. Although these are some of the nation’s highest limits, they can still be exceeded after a severe accident.
The ME Bureau of Highway Safety recorded 161 fatalities and nearly 800 serious injuries as the result of car crashes in 2010. With the rising cost of health care, a serious injury could easily exceed state minimum liability requirements. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found that crash-related deaths in Maine amount to roughly $2 million in medical costs a year.
It's important for residents to note that UM will not pay for damage to the insured automobile. For these damages to be covered, the policyholder needs to invest in comprehensive and collision coverage. This additional insurance is commonly required by lenders and is designed to pay for a wide range of repairs. For example, it will generally cover damage from a collision with another car (collision) as well as fire, flooding, falling objects, theft, and vandalism (comprehensive) up to the actual cash value of the automobile.
To find a policy that includes the protection necessary to avoid heavy financial loss after an accident, residents are encouraged to shop for insurance online so that dozens of estimates can be viewed at once. Like many other products, shopping around and comparing prices can usually lead to cheaper prices being found. Luckily, data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners show that Maine offers some of the lowest-priced auto coverage in the nation.