What To Do If You’re In a Car Accident Without Insurance But Not At Fault In Maine

Driving without insurance is a serious offense in Maine—and if you’re in an accident while uninsured, your license could be suspended.
Written by Brian Hicks
Reviewed by Shannon Martin
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If you’re in a car accident in Maine without insurance, it will cost you whether or not you’re at fault. If you aren’t at fault, you’ll be able to file a claim with the at fault driver’s insurance company, but you’ll still be hit with the penalties for driving without the state-required insurance.
Being in a car accident is a stressful situation. If you don’t have insurance, it’s even more stressful, even if you aren’t at fault. While you won’t be required to pay out for damages if you aren’t at fault, you will have to pay state fines and higher insurance premiums in the future.
Read on to learn what to do if you’re in a car accident as an uninsured driver or with an uninsured driver. We’ll go over the steps to take in an accident and the penalties you might face for driving without insurance in Maine.
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What to do if you’re in a car accident without insurance in Maine and not at fault

It is illegal to drive in Maine without insurance. Even if you are not at fault in an accident, when it comes to light that you’re uninsured, you’ll be hit with legal penalties as well as a license and registration suspension.
If you’re in an accident, you’ll want to pull over wherever it is safe to do so. Once in a safe place, you’ll want to check that you and everyone in your vehicle are okay. If there’s an injury, you will want to call 911. However, if there are no injuries and it isn’t an emergency, you should use the non-emergency number for the police in the jurisdiction. 
It’s important to note that you should never leave the scene of an accident without first filing a report with the proper authorities. A report is not required in every situation, but you can still file one if you want to be on the safe side. You’ll also want to take pictures of the accident scene and any damage caused.
Make sure to exchange information with the other driver(s), including their name, address, license number, and insurance information. If the other driver has insurance, you can file a claim with the at fault driver’s insurance company

Who decides fault in a car accident in Maine?

Police reports can heavily impact determining who is at fault in an auto accident. However, it is up to the insurance companies to decide fault in an accident in Maine. They may even go as far as hiring accident reconstruction experts to piece together a recreation of the accident. The Maine judicial system will be responsible for finding fault if there are legal implications beyond vehicle damages.
If you are in an accident, take pictures, even if any responding officers do too. Submitting these to the other driver’s insurance company can help to show that they’re the ones at fault in the collision.

Do you need to report a car accident in Maine? 

Yes, as long as the following criteria are met:
  • The collision is unintentional,
  • The collision occurs on a public way,
  • The collision is caused by a vehicle in motion, AND
  • Any personal injury is involved OR
  • Combined damage to all vehicles or property is in excess of $1000.00
If these criteria are not met, then a report isn’t required to be made. When making an accident report, you must make it with a police agency within the jurisdiction where the accident occurred. In addition, it must be made by the operator of an involved vehicle, a person acting for the operator, or the owner of an involved vehicle having knowledge of the crash if the operator is unknown.
If you need to make a traffic report, it needs to be done immediately by the quickest method of communication possible. If you fail to make a report when you are required to do so, your license could be suspended or revoked.

What if you’re at fault?

Because Maine is a
modified comparative negligence state
, you’ll be financially responsible for your portion of the other driver’s damages if you are deemed 51% or more negligent for the accident. If you don’t have insurance, the not at fault driver can file a lawsuit against you to recover these damages. 
You’ll also have legal penalties from the state for being uninsured and at fault in an accident. Not only will your license and registration be suspended, but you’ll also be fined (as noted below). In addition, you’ll have to pay for the damages out of your own pocket. 

What if you’re hit by an uninsured driver in Maine?

Even though it is required by law, nearly 7% of drivers in Maine are uninsured. That means you have an almost one in ten chance of being in an accident with an uninsured driver in Maine.
If you’re involved in an automobile accident with someone without insurance, you’ll need to go after them directly for damages, which can be time-consuming and lack the outcome you desire. This is true whether or not you’re insured.
If you are insured, then it will make your life easier. This is because Maine requires all drivers to carry
uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM)
. UM/UIM will make payments towards you and your passenger's medical expenses resulting from an accident where the at fault driver is either uninsured or has insufficient policy limits. 
Another option is to carry Medical payments (MedPay), an optional coverage that will make the initial payments towards you and your passenger's medical bills. If you select this coverage, your UM/UIM coverage will automatically kick in once MedPay is exhausted. 
You might be thinking, what about my car? Who pays for that?
Collision coverage
is the only coverage that will make payments towards repairing or replacing your vehicle from a hit-and-run or an uninsured/underinsured driver. This coverage will pay out up to your car's
actual cash value (ACV)
minus the previously agreed upon
collision deductible
.  
However, if both you and the other driver are uninsured, you’ll both have to deal with the legal ramifications issued by the state and might be stuck paying for everything out-of-pocket. You can find these penalties in the next section.

Penalties for driving without insurance in Maine

The penalties for driving without insurance doesn’t increase with each offense. If you’re caught driving without insurance in Maine, you’ll be slapped with a $100 to $500 fine
You’ll want to be sure that your
proof of insurance
is accessible in your car or that you have a digital copy on your phone. If an officer asks for proof of insurance and you can’t provide it, you will likely receive a fine. However, this fine can be waived when you provide that proof of insurance, but this will require you to show that proof to the proper legal entities.
If you have repeated violations or convictions for major driving infractions, you’ll be required to have an
SR-22
certificate for three years in order for your license and registration to be reinstated. Once your insurance company has to file an SR-22 on your behalf, your insurance rates tend to be much more expensive.
If you’re in an accident without insurance, your license will be suspended. To reinstate your license, you will need to submit an SR-22, pay a $50 reinstatement fee, and the  $20-$30 license fee
MORE: The penalties for using fake proof of insurance

Minimum required car insurance in Maine

How much car insurance do you need to have in Maine? The minimum requirement is 50/100/25 coverage. This translates as follows:
  • $50,000 per person for bodily liability
  • $100,000 per accident for bodily liability 
  • $25,000 for property damage liability
  • $50,000 per person for uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily liability
  • $100,000 per accident for uninsured/underinsured bodily liability insurance
Note that these are just the minimum requirements for auto insurance in Maine. That means that you’ll be able to get higher insurance if you think it’s necessary. However, these minimums are fairly comprehensive for all but the worst accidents.
It may, however, be more beneficial to get collision coverage or
comprehensive coverage
for your vehicle. This can protect your vehicle from weather-related damages, and while Maine isn’t known for its natural disasters, they are known for its winters. This coverage can help ensure that the winter weather doesn’t break the bank regarding hail, snow, and wind losses.

Driving without insurance can increase premiums

If you’re caught driving without insurance
, you’ll have to pay more to insure your vehicle afterward, which is why it’s always best to have at least the minimum required insurance. Insurance companies consider your driving record when assigning you a rate. If there are points on your record for driving uninsured, your rate will increase for as long as those points remain on your record.
Being in an accident without insurance will increase those premiums even more. You’ll not only have the points for driving without insurance, but the accident will compound on that record. It’s always best to follow the laws of whichever state you’re driving in to give you peace of mind, and avoid future costs down the road.
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