Commercial Auto Insurance Minimum Requirements in Maine
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All motor vehicles operated within Maine―for business or pleasure―must be covered by some type of financial protection from their owners or operators.
That's because accidents can be costly, and the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) needs to know that those traveling the state's roads have some safeguard in place to handle the possible consequences of owning or driving a vehicle.
Ways to Establish Financial Responsibility
You may prove your financial responsibility to the BMV in a few ways:
- Carry a vehicle liability insurance policy that meets the state's minimum requirements.
- Place a cash or securities deposit with the state treasurer.
- File a surety bond with the state treasurer.
Depending on your business or the sort of driving activity you do, you might need to be protected by a commercial policy instead of a personal one. So, if you're unsure, ask yourself the following questions:
- How many vehicles need to be insured?
- What kinds of vehicles need to be insured?
- How will the vehicles be used?
- Who will drive the vehicles?
- Who owns the vehicles?
Your answers can steer you into making the correct insurance choice. Business-owned vehicles usually do need to be protected through commercial insurance. This includes those used to make deliveries and for farming.
If you're driving a company vehicle for business purposes, your employer's insurance might cover your driving activity; check to be sure.
If you're self-employed or a sole proprietor, you might be able to simply use your personal auto coverage, especially if you just use your vehicle for business trips. However, self-employed individuals and sole proprietors often do need commercial coverage, even if it's teenagers using their own vehicles to deliver pizzas.
If any of the following apply to you, the likelihood you'll need to be covered by commercial insurance rises:
- You can't remove your business equipment from your vehicle.
- You allow your employees to drive your vehicles on behalf of your business.
- You can't find a personal auto policy with high enough coverage limits.
To make the right decision, you may need to partner with both the BMV and your insurance carrier. The former can assist you on the legal requirements for your business; the latter can advise you on the amounts and types of coverage you need to protect your business assets.
Should you decide that having commercial insurance is the right move, be ready to talk to an insurance carrier about:
- Who owns the vehicles.
- How much they weigh.
- How they're used.
You may also need to discuss issues such as how much the vehicles are worth, what sort of cargo they'll carry, if any special business equipment is installed, and related matters.
No matter what amount and type of coverage you decide upon, keep the state's minimum requirements in mind:
- $50,000 of bodily injury coverage for injuries or death to one person in a single accident.
- $100,000 of bodily injury coverage for injuries or deaths to more than one person in a single accident.
- $25,000 of property damage coverage per accident.
An insurance agent can help you determine how much commercial coverage you need, but if you need more help with the requirements contact the BMV.
Choices abound for commercial insurers, ranging from smaller companies specializing in commercial policies to mega-insurers offering multiple types of policies. So, be prepared to do some comparison shopping online or by phone to sort through your options, and find policies with the best rates and coverages.
Don't overlook your current carriers, as many providers offer discounts to customers who hold multiple policies with them.
When required to show evidence of your financial responsibility as a vehicle owner or driver, you may legally do so by presenting your valid insurance:
- Identification card
Any one of these will suffice, but be sure to keep your proof of insurance with you whenever you're driving.
What happens if you let your policy lapse and have no proof of insurance?
You could face a license and registration suspension. To reinstate both, you'll need to provide proof of current insurance. Sometimes this involves filing a SR-22 form, especially if you've been in accident without insurance coverage or convicted on a drunk driving charge.
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