Driving can always be risky. In Maryland alone, an average of 55,232 people are injured and 635 are killed per year, according to the most recent data available from the state Motor Vehicle Administration.
However, the risk to a driver’s bank account should an accident occur is more pronounced in some states than others, and Maryland has been named as the fourth-least-risky state to drive in, based on a study by WalletHub.
The report was compiled by analyzing minimum coverage requirements in all states plus Washington, D.C., as well as factoring in the estimated percentage of uninsured drivers in each state. Regarding liability insurance, WalletHub tracked the minimums for bodily injury coverage per person and per accident and property damage coverage per accident. It also noted whether additional kinds of coverage (medical payments coverage, personal injury protection, uninsured motorist for bodily injury and uninsured motorist for property damage) are mandated.
The least risky state, by these calculations, turned out to be Maine, followed by North Dakota and then New York. Maryland tied for fourth with New Hampshire.
The bottom five are Florida, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Mississippi and California, with Florida being the riskiest. Florida sets its minimum coverage for bodily injury per person and property damage per accident at only $10,000, and experts estimated that 23.8% of the state’s drivers are uninsured. Maine, in contrast, sets its minimums at $50,000 for bodily injury per person and $25,000 for property damage per accident, and has only 4.7% uninsured drivers.
For Maryland, those figures are $30,000 and $15,000, respectively, and the estimated uninsured driver percentage is 12.2%.
In theory, auto insurance is intended to correlate with safety. At least, that’s the case for premiums to a certain extent; drivers aged 16 to 25 have the highest insurance rates because they’re statistically more likely to get into accidents.
The report emphasized that it studied not the safety of driving in various states, but rather the risk of financial impact should one drive in any given state. And actual risks may vary, since some drivers will purchase more than the minimum mandated coverage. It also made no claims regarding the impact of insurance on safety, though Dudley L. Moore Jr., an insurance expert whose comments accompanied the report, observed that “Requiring individuals to purchase insurance does provide them with a signal of the effects of their choices on the level of risk.”