Maine’s a pretty great place to own a car. There aren’t a lot of auto thefts and a super-high percentage of its drivers are insured. Both of those factors keep Maine’s monthly auto insurance premiums $50 below the national average. That’s already a pretty sweet deal, but you could make it even better. A half-hour of your time and a handful of online quotes are all it takes to save hundreds more on your auto insurance every year. The Simple Dollar got quotes from six top-notch insurers and found that the right one could potentially save you over $700.
Geico turned out to be the best car insurance provider for our sample applicant, but it might not be the best for you. How so? Every provider uses a huge amount of your personal data to determine how much to charge you, including your age, driving history and even your ZIP code. All that information goes into a proprietary formula that determines your level of risk and consequently, the money you’ll be charged. The only way to find which insurer offers you the lowest rate is to get quotes (start with at least five) and compare them. It’s as simple as that.
Online quotes shouldn’t take you more than five minutes. If you have to do a quote over the phone, expect that to take about 10 minutes or so and know that you may end up on hold for a while. In either case, if you don’t know your average annual mileage or the details of any accidents from the last five years, you should look that up before getting started.
Our Top 6 Picks for the Best Cheap Car Insurance in Maine
The six companies on this list are good choices for anyone in Maine.
Each one received “excellent” or “superior” grades from A.M. Best, a well-known financial strength rating agency. That’s a good sign that they’ll have the funds to pay out when you need them to. They also scored high in the latest J.D. Power customer satisfaction survey, so you don’t have to worry about dealing with slow turnaround times or unfriendly agents.
Geico was the top option for cheap car insurance at $504, but honestly, most of them were pretty competitive. State Farm was the most expensive quote.
Compare Affordable Car Insurance Rates
Maine’s Minimum Coverage Requirements for 2020
Maine has high minimum coverage requirements in comparison to most states. Residents must have $50,000 of bodily injury coverage per person and $100,000 per accident, plus $25,000 of property damage liability coverage. This coverage takes care of injuries to another driver, their passengers and their property if you cause an accident.
Residents must also carry uninsured motorist coverage with $50,000/$100,000 minimums and $2,000 of coverage for medical payments through a policy that’s often called MedPay. Uninsured motorist coverage pays for damages if you’re hit by someone without insurance or a hit-and-run driver. Medical payments cover the cost of your medical bills, regardless of whether you were at fault in the accident.
You may also be required to purchase collision and comprehensive coverage if you have a lease or loan on your vehicle. This is your lender’s way of making sure they can get their money back even if you total your car. Collision coverage pays for repairs to your vehicle following a crash with another vehicle or single-car accidents, regardless of who was at fault. Wildlife collisions, theft, vandalism and natural disasters are all covered under comprehensive coverage.
Compare Affordable Car Insurance Rates
Why sign up for more than the minimum coverage?
It’s best to go with more than the minimum coverage if you can afford to do so. Consider these facts:
- The average driver will have an accident every 17.9 years.
- The average nonfatal but disabling car-accident injury costs $93,800.
If you have only the minimum coverage and you get into an accident that leads to an $80,000 injury, your insurance is going to pay the minimal $50,000 it’s responsible for and leave you to pay for the rest. Most drivers in that scenario are likely to wind up being sued for the outstanding amount, and that’s a situation nobody wants to end up in.
Raising your liability coverage limits to $100,000 per person and $200,000 per accident could cost only $58 more a year with Geico (the exact amount you’d pay will vary depending on your risk factors). With that increased coverage, you wouldn’t have to pay anything out of pocket in the accident scenario above. Most people would agree that peace of mind is worth the extra few dollars on your monthly premiums.
Also, keep in mind that Maine is not a no-fault state. A driver who’s found to be at fault is responsible for paying for a victim’s medical costs that go beyond the $2,000 that’s covered by the required MedPay coverage. Since Maine is a tort state, the victim can also sue you for lost wages and pain and suffering. Those are additional reasons that it makes sense to get more than the minimum coverage in Maine whenever possible.
What happens if you skip coverage?
Driving without insurance will earn you a fine of $100 to $500 and possible suspension of your license or vehicle registration. You will also be required to file an SR-22, which is a certification filed with the Bureau of Motor Vehicles that tells the state that you have current insurance coverage.
The SR-22 must be filled out yearly for a predetermined period of time, such as for three years, after a driver has committed a serious driving violation, such as a DUI, hit-and-run or driving without insurance. Every insurance agency charges higher rates to drivers who are required to file SR-22 certifications. So if you’re skipping insurance coverage to save a few bucks, your approach is likely to backfire in a big way.
Why are Maine’s rates so low?
Maine ranks third in the nation for lowest auto insurance premiums. The combination of a low population density and few auto thefts brings Maine auto insurance premiums down nearly 40 percent below the national average. Spacious populations generally mean less chance of accidents, thefts or vandalism — all of which insurers love to hear. Auto repair and medical costs are usually lower in rural areas as well, so the insurance companies don’t have to pay out as much when you file a claim and they can pass that savings along to you.
Maine also now has the lowest rate of uninsured drivers in the country, at 4.5 percent, followed by New York at 6.1 percent and Massachusetts at 6.2 percent. This also earns you a break on your premiums because there’s less risk that insurance companies will have to pay for the damages caused by another driver. Less risk to insurers is always a good thing because it means they can offer you a lower rate.
Even If You’re Happy, It’s Best to Shop for a New Policy Every Couple of Years
You might not know this, but insurance companies weigh more than your level of risk when calculating your premium. According to Earnix, 45 percent of big-name insurers mine your personal data (your credit score, online shopping habits, social media activity, etc.) to determine how likely you are to shop for a better deal and they charge you accordingly — a process known as “price optimization.” Sure, they’ll give you a loyalty discount so it looks like you’re saving money, but oftentimes, these discounts aren’t enough to offset the extra amount they’re charging you as a sort of complacency fee.
The good news is there’s an easy way out of this. Shop for quotes every year or so to make sure you’re getting the best price. Show your insurer you’re willing to walk away for a better deal, and they won’t dare add extra charges to your premium for no reason. They want to keep your business, so accepting a smaller payment is preferable to losing you to a competitor.
Maine is one of a growing number of states that have banned price optimization on the grounds that it’s unfairly discriminatory and in violation of state laws that require that rates “shall not be excessive, inadequate or unfairly discriminatory.” The Superintendent of Insurance issued a bulletin to all companies operating in Maine in August 2015, requiring them to eliminate non-risk-related factors from their pricing models within 60 days or risk disciplinary action. If you last purchased insurance before December 2015, it’s probably a good idea to shop around to make sure you’re not being charged an unfair rate.
Another reason to shop around is to make sure you’re getting the best deal for your current circumstances. If you were in the young driver category when you first got insurance, your rate was based on the fact that younger drivers tend to get into more accidents. Once you reach 25, you can expect your premiums to go down. You may also benefit from a clean traffic record with good driver discounts. Insurers differ from each other in regard to the incentives and discounts they offer. You might be surprised by the perks that exist that could apply to you, which is another reason to shop around and compare the offerings from several companies before settling on one.
Low-credit drivers who’ve been doing the hard work of boosting their credit scores can also be rewarded with lower auto insurance premiums. What does your credit score have to do with your car insurance rate? It turns out that people with low credit ratings tend to file more insurance claims, so insurers put low-credit drivers into a higher risk category than drivers with better credit. It might seem unfair, but insurers are all about the numbers. They’ll always charge higher rates when they believe the odds are higher that they’ll have to pay out.
The only way to find a good deal on car insurance is to get a bunch of quotes and compare their rates and coverages. You don’t have to spend a lot of time on it. Even a half-hour of research can save you hundreds of dollars every year. And if you can, always purchase more than just the minimum coverage. Damages in an accident can easily exceed $80,000, and without a top-notch policy, you might wind up falling into a deep financial crisis.
Best Car Insurance in Maine
- Liberty Mutual
- State Farm