Can Your Insurance Company Demand a Statement in Maryland?

As a matter of law, I believe that the uninsured motorist carrier cannot require any statement – recorded or otherwise – from their insured after a car accident. Notwithstanding the fine print language in almost every Maryland car insurance contract that requires a statement, Maryland law requires your own car insurance company to pay all damages that the insured is entitled to from the person that caused the accident up to the uninsured motorist limit, if the “bad guy” has insufficient insurance.

The Maryland high court has affirmed that Maryland insurance law substantially rewrites car insurance contracts and that provisions that are not authorized by Maryland law are unenforceable. This would clearly seem to fall into that category because, if the insurance company is imposing any additional conditions on payment, then it is not providing the compensation required by the statute.

So you can just ignore your own insurance company’s request for a recorded statement, just like you can ignore the at-fault driver’s insurance company’s request for a statement, right? Not so fast. The law I just gave you is what I call “The Law According to Laura.” This law comes with an important caveat: it is often wrong. The Maryland Court of Appeals has never ruled on this issue and could disagree completely or limit the coverage without a recorded statement to the minimum limits.

Therefore, you have to balance competing interests in giving recorded statements to the carrier. One compromise that often works: a non-recorded statement that gives the carrier the information they need without the ability to try to hang you later on trivial (or not so trivial) differences between the recorded statement and deposition and/or trial testimony.
Six years ago, my partner wrote a blog post about recorded statements to the UM carrier and to the at-fault carrier that is equally true today and worth reading.