Maryland Enhanced Underinsured Motorist Coverage : What the New Law Means to You

Most Maryland motorists would most likely admit that reading over their auto insurance policy isn’t high on their to-do lists. However, as experienced Baltimore car accident attorneys, we know too well from our clients’ traffic mishaps that not knowing what your auto insurance covers can turn out to be very costly. Now, a new auto insurance offering for Maryland drivers may improve their chances of collecting more compensation in the event of a traffic accident with an at-fault motorist who is underinsured.

Last year, the General Assembly of Maryland passed a bill into law called the Private Passenger Motor Vehicle Liability Insurance – Enhanced Underinsured Motorist Coverage (“EUIM”). The EUIM law went into effect on October 1, 2017 and applies to private passenger automobile policies purchased on or after July 1, 2018. Now, all property and casualty insurers and producers must offer EUIM coverage to private passenger motor vehicle liability policies.

So what does this mean for you as a motorist in Maryland?

As we’ve written about in the past, traditional Maryland uninsured motorist coverage steps in if you’re in a motor vehicle accident with someone who is uninsured (of which there are far too many driving around recklessly on Maryland’s roadways).

Now, Maryland motorists are required to choose one of three options for their auto insurance policies to cover themselves when the at-fault vehicle is uninsured or underinsured:

Option 1: Uninsured Motorists (UM) coverage

Option 2: Uninsured Motorists (UM) coverage waived to less than my liability limits

Option 3: Enhanced Underinsured Motorists (EUIM) coverage

According to the Maryland Insurance Administration…

“Maryland law requires all private passenger motor vehicle liability policies to have UM or EUIM coverage. The limits of such coverage must equal the policy’s liability coverage limit unless you elect to carry UM limits for less than your liability limits. The minimum required limits for both liability and UM or EUIM is $30,000 per person / $60,000 per accident for bodily injury and $15,000 per accident for property damage (30/60/15) or a combined single limit of $75,000 for bodily injury and property damage per accident.”

In addition…

“EUIM coverage provides the same benefits as UM coverage but, in the event of a claim, the EUIM coverage limit is not reduced by the amount of any available coverage from the at-fault party’s insurer.”

This new EUIM coverage is referred to as “stacking,” which means you may combine or “stack” your uninsured motorist coverage with the policy limits of the at-fault driver, increasing the amount of money you may be entitled to in the event of an auto accident. In addition, EUIM insurance coverage may relieve you of the burden of costly medical bills and other expenses that you might be personally responsible for in the event of an accident with an underinsured motorist in Maryland.

To subscribe to Enhanced Underinsured Motorists coverage, you must do so in writing to your auto insurance carrier on a specific form. As with all matters regarding auto insurance, it’s best to talk with your insurance agent to understand all options available, and which work best for you as a driver in Maryland.

In our experience, one can never have too much auto insurance to protect themselves in the event of an auto accident. A traffic crash in Maryland is bad enough, but when the at-fault driver has no auto insurance or not enough auto insurance, the picture can become even bleaker. Talk to your insurance broker about how much auto insurance is right for you. Don’t be an underinsured or uninsured driver in Maryland.

Sources:

General Assembly of Maryland
Entitled: Private Passenger Motor Vehicle Liability Insurance – Enhanced Underinsured Motorist Coverage
Sponsored by: Senator Astle
Status: Enacted under Article II, Section 17(c) of the Maryland Constitution – Chapter 815

Maryland Insurance Administration
Bulletin 17-07, July 25, 2017
Senate Bill 0403 / House Bill 0005 (Chapter 0815 / 0020, Acts of 2017) / Private Passenger
Motor Vehicle Liability Insurance – Enhanced Underinsured Motorist Coverage