Every state deploys different laws to govern driving, and Maryland is no different. One of the requests car owners who live in the state may receive is to apply for an FR-19 form, which sounds terrifyingly bureaucratic, but is actually pretty simple to understand.
So what is an FR-19 form, and how is this different from the more commonly talked-about SR-22 forms found in other parts of the country?
The FR-19 is specific to Maryland
In essence, this is a form that proves that you have procured a minimum legal amount of insurance for your vehicle.
The Maryland Department of Transportation may write to you requesting that you apply for an FR-19 form, and this, in turn, can only be done through your insurer.
It is essentially a way of proving not only that you currently have adequate cover, but that you also had insurance during a particular period.
In other states, the SR-22 form is widely used as a means of proving that you have a minimum level of auto insurance.
Elsewhere, you are incentivized to get cheap SR22 insurance after a conviction for a driving-related offense. This is to do with making sure that people who have behaved illegally in the past, whether through a DUI conviction or reckless driving, are insured when they get behind the wheel in the future.
While we mentioned that the FR-19 form may be needed in order to prove that you had insurance at a specific point in time, such as when an accident you were involved in occurred, it is not just needed so that the state can properly process driving-related claims and convictions.
For example, anyone who is a resident in Maryland and owns a vehicle in-state could potentially receive a request from the MDT to apply for an FR-19, because there is a random draw that takes place annually, essentially acting as a spot-check for uninsured drivers.
Another event that might trigger this is when you move from your current car insurance provider to a new company. Again, the intent here is to prevent Maryland’s motorists from being uninsured behind the wheel, even for a short span of time.
Likewise, if you stick with your current provider and policy, but you change the vehicle that is receiving the cover, this would be an instance in which an FR-19 request might drop through your front door.
The good news is that for most drivers in Maryland, the chances of you actually being called upon to apply for an FR-19 form are slim.
When you change insurer, alter your insurance policy, cancel it, or do any other tinkering, the authorities should be kept in the loop by your insurer so that you don’t have to do the legwork.
Then if you do have to make an application, this is also something that your insurer needs to take care of, even if you are needed to supply some additional information at the time.
The final point to make is that you should not procrastinate if asked to submit for an FR-19 form in Maryland, because failing to do so within the allotted time frame will result in a fine or worse.
If you were uninsured during the period that the form request focuses on, then you will also be fined by the state. But again, it is better to be honest about everything, both with the authorities and your insurer, as mistruths will only come back to bite you.