Like most other states in the U.S., Maine requires that drivers keep at least a little bit of car insurance. Like most laws, there is a reason behind it. The state of Maine knows that being injured in an accident is horrible, especially if it wasn't your fault. Requiring that everyone carry car insurance prevents drivers from getting hit by an uninsured driver, and then getting stuck with the cost of the accident because the other driver can't afford the bill. By requiring all drivers to have at least some car insurance, the state of Maine is making sure that there is someone with deep pockets – the insurance company – to be there to cover the costs of an accident. Therefore, if you're driving in Maine, you need to have at least this much insurance:
- $50,000 for bodily injury or death, per person;
- $100,000 for total bodily injury or death, per accident;
- $25,000 for property damage;
- $2,000 medical payments coverage;
- Uninsured motorist coverage of at least $50,000 per person, and $100,000 per accident.
If you've been convicted for operating under the influence (OUI) two or more times, and have had your license suspended, you'll have to prove that you have at least this much insurance, in order to get your license back. This requirement that you show proof of car insurance is one way that the state of Maine makes sure that everyone is playing by the rules, and carrying car insurance before driving on the state's roads.
In order to prove that you have car insurance, you'll have to file an SR-22 form. The letters “SR” stand for “safety responsibility.” Importantly, this form only proves that you have car insurance – it does not provide any car insurance, on its own. SR-22s are required if you've been in accident and did not have insurance, or if you've been convicted of a serious driving violation, including OUI.
To get an SR-22 form, you'll have to talk to your insurance company to get one issued to you. Maine requires that this insurance company be licensed to sell insurance in the state, so make sure this is the case, before requesting an SR-22 from them. Once the form has been requested and processed, your insurance company will then notify the Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) that it's been issued to you. You will see an additional cost on your insurance premiums if you need an SR-22 – if you need the form, it's because something has happened that will make insurance companies think you're a risky driver. To offset the cost of providing you coverage, insurance companies will increase their fees. If the fees associated with the SR-22 aren't paid, the insurance company will issue another form, an SR-26, with the BMV. When the BMV gets this form, they'll suspend your license until a new SR-22 form is filed. The time that you'll have to keep an SR-22 active depends on your conviction, though it is usually a few years.
As you can tell, there are lots of different repercussions to an OUI conviction. Attorney William T. Bly can help you navigate through them. Call his law office at (207) 571-8146.