Financial responsibility law
In order to fulfill the state’s financial responsibility law, Maine drivers are required to possess the following minimum liability coverage:
● $50,000 in coverage for the injury or death of one individual.
● $100,000 as a total coverage for multiple injuries and/or deaths that result from a single incident.
● $25,000 in coverage for damage to property.
● $2,000 in coverage for medical payments that might arise from an accident, such as hospital procedures and chiropractic treatment.
Uninsured Motorist coverage is not optional; each driver in Maine is expected to carry this in the event that they are in an accident with an at-fault uninsured or underinsured operator. This coverage also applies in cases where an uninsured/underinsured person injuries a pedestrian, but it does not apply to any property damage that might result from an accident.
There are optional areas of insurance coverage, however, and these are as follows:
● Comprehensive, in the event of damage that does not result from an accident, such as theft, vandalism, or a fire.
● Collision, in the event of a accident involving a collision with another vehicle, or an object such as a tree or building.
● Towing and Labor, providing for some of the cost of towing within a certain range specified by the insurer.
● Rental, which partly reimburses the owner for the cost of a rental car while his/her own vehicle is in the shop or has been destroyed due to an accident.
● Loan/lease, which assists in covering the difference between the amount owed for a vehicle that is still being paid off and its current sale value.
Proof of insurance
Maine drivers who are not able to provide proof of insurance could have their license to drive and vehicle registration suspended until they are able to submit a state insurance certificate. The following information is required as proof of insurance:
● Driver’s name.
● The policy number.
● Make, model, year of the vehicle.
● License plate number, VIN number.
● The policy’s areas of coverage.
● The amount of insurance.
● The date at which the insurance went into effect, and when it will expire.
Driving safety laws
A motorist in Maine driving with a BAC of .08% or higher is considered OUI: Operating Under the Influence, and his/her license will be immediately suspended, even prior to any court appearance to contest the matter. The BAC result is sufficient evidence for the person charged to be found guilty. A driver under the age of 21 with any amount of alcohol detected will lose their license for an entire year, and in addition, if there is a passenger under the age of 21 present, another 180 days will be added to the suspension. Refusal to submit to a BAC test will result in a driver under 21 losing their license for 18 months. If a driver over 21 refuses to submit to a BAC test and is subsequently found guilty, the penalty for a first offense will be further suspension and a mandatory 96 hours behind bars. And all it might take to be found guilty, when a BAC test had been refused, is the testimony of the officer on the scene. Given these facts, and the fact that a license to drive can be suspended for up to six years just for refusing to submit to a breath, blood, or urine test, driving intoxicated or under the influence of drugs in Maine can be a real gamble.
Another gamble is driving while distracted by modern technology. As using a cell phone is considered less distracting than texting messages, the laws addressing these activities differ. Cell phone use is permitted if the driver is over 18, but texting while driving is banned entirely regardless of age.
Drivers between the ages of 40 through 61 are required to take a vision test at every other period of license renewal. Drivers aged 62 and up will need to have an eye exam at the time of every renewal.
Maine residents on the other end of the age spectrum are also of particular concern. In 2012, 13% of all car-related fatalities in Maine were of people aged 16 through 20, and of these victims, 46% of them showed alcohol in their system. In 2008, The Maine Teen Driver Safety Committee was established, and created a safety work plan to address these matters. The TDSC works in conjunction with Maine’s Underage Drinking Task Force to further awareness and strategies to reduce the death rate of teen drivers.
Car insurance must be purchased through a company that has been authorized to sell such insurance in the state of Maine. Overseeing insurance companies to ensure that they are conducting their business in the proper manner is the Maine Bureau of Insurance, and questions or concerns Maine residents have about their insurance company can be directed to them.
Numerous factors come into play when one is being evaluated for auto insurance. These will include:
● The person’s age.
● The person’s gender
● Whether or not the person is married.
● The individual’s driving record.
● Where the person lives.
● How many persons will be driving the vehicle.
● Whether there have been any past insurance claims.
● The vehicle’s make, model, and year.
To help minimize the expense of auto insurance, discounts are available under certain conditions, such as the presence of an anti-theft device or safety device, whether the car has low mileage, whether the policy also includes home insurance, and so on.
Even better for Maine residents is that in 2013 the state boasted the lowest average car insurance cost in the country, at just $934, compared to the national average of $1,520. The pricing for car insurance depends greatly on how congested a state is, and Maine is greatly rural, where one might be as likely in some areas to hit a deer as another vehicle. But however spread out the population of this beautiful northern state might be, auto safety is never something to be taken for granted, for the benefit of oneself and others.