Car, Home, Toys, and Life Insurance Resource Center

Welcome to the best Michigan insurance resource! Michigan has the most unique insurance laws in the United States. Learn about what it takes to be insured properly as a Michigander. Get saving tips, mandatory coverage amounts, and answers to many frequently asked questions.

Insurance Where You Live


22
Oct 14

My Tires Were Stolen! Am I Covered By My Car Insurance?

It isn’t something you thought you had to worry about. You went into the store parking your car like you always do and shopped for hours. Leaving in a great mood with all your new fun items you get to your car and notice something is missing… your tires!

This is a crazy moment where you scream and run around for a few minutes freaking out that someone actually stole your tires. Now that everyone in Michigan knows your pain, it’s time to figure out if your insurance covers this. You can’t go anywhere without your tires so they should be the first call you make. It will probably be to your best friend to tell them your tires are gone, but then the second call should definitely be to the insurance company.

Do you have comprehensive coverage?

The only way your tires being stolen will be covered is if you have some form of comprehensive coverage. Comprehensive is the one you get that covers repairs you need that are not related to a car accident. It usually comes with a deductible. Normally your insurance will subtract your deductible from the payout in the case of theft.

You need to file a police report

As with anything that is stolen, it is important to report it right away. You need to call the police to come out and make a report as soon as you realize your tires are missing. It will make it a lot easier to get a claim filed and approved with your insurance company if there is a report made. On the other side, you will have trouble getting a claim approved if you wait too long to file a report. Don’t wait a couple of days to file a claim because it will hold you up at the insurance company.

Once you discover the theft and have a few minutes to freak out, jump into action and get someone out to the scene of the crime. The police are good about marking down the details they know the insurance adjuster is going to ask for.

Depreciation

Unless your car is very new or you recently purchased new tires, the insurance carrier will most likely depreciate your tires. We all know tires get worn and need replaced after so many thousands of miles. When your tires have lost their tread, you have to pay to replace them on your own. Well, your insurance carrier does not want to pay the full value of replacement when you were overdue for replacement anyways. The adjuster will ask you how old your tires were at the time of loss. They will then calculate the depreciated value, the value they were at the time of loss, and pay you that amount minus your deductible. This is very frustrating to many insured drivers. Lots of drivers are caught off guard when the hear this information. Unfortunately it is true for nearly every insurance carrier. Keep in mind, your insurance company did not steal your tires, a thief did. Try to be mad at the thief, not your insurance company. You might even be getting angry reading this, sorry. Theft is always tough to deal with and no words can really make you feel better. I hope the police catch them for ya, and they are properly / severely punished.

How long does the process take?

As with any insurance claim, it will take a few days at least to go through. Since the adjuster doesn’t have to review any type of damage, it may take a little less time. Just make sure you get the paperwork in as soon as possible to avoid any type of delays. Within a couple of days, you will know your claim has been approved and you are ready to get back on the road again with new wheels.

Prevention is the key

In the event your tires have been stolen you may want to look at some methods of preventing them from being stolen. This can include getting an alarm system installed where if someone comes near your car with ill will in mind, it will run them off quickly. This may help you avoid being stranded with an immobile car after a fun day of shopping too.

Quick Links


25
Aug 14

Does Car Insurance Protect Against Flood?

When you think of flooding and the damage it can do your mind automatically clicks on “Act of God.” It is a term that is tossed around frequently and can apply in cases of certain types of insurance, but you can actually have your car protected and covered from flood damage if you have the right policy. If there was ever a reason to reconsider having bare minimum coverage on your car or truck, natural disaster is one.

There is no way to stop flooding from happening and you do not even have to live in a designated flood zone to be affected. With the crazy weather events that have been happening, localized serious flooding can happen anywhere.

Comprehensive is Comprehensive

You may be the best driver in the world and save a lot of money by carrying liability coverage only, but if your vehicle suffers flood damage it will be a complete loss without comprehensive coverage. Comprehensive is just that, the most comprehensive insurance you can have that covers a multitude of bad things that can happen to your ride.

If you own a car or truck that is 10 years old or newer you should carry comprehensive coverage on it. It costs thousands of dollars to replace a good vehicle. How hard would having to replace it hit your budget? How long would it take to save money for a new one? What if you are still making payments on it? You will have to finish payments on that AND save for a new one.

How Much Damage Can Water Do?

The higher the water is that your car or truck is stuck in determines the extent of the damage. It will damage the interior a lot quicker than the engine, but even a partial submerging can render the vehicle totaled. This is because the damage to the wiring and other components is typically ongoing.

It’s important to get the car away from the water as fast as you can and begin drying it out. That does mean grabbing the hair dryer and towels. You need to have an experienced service that specializes in drying out flooded vehicles do the work. This is not the time to try and save a dollar or two. If you have to pay out-of-pocket for it there will be reimbursement as long as the damage was done by flooding and your coverage is current.

Limits on Coverage

Even though comprehensive insurance will cover a multitude of things there is one limit that can make a difference. If you live in an area that is considered a flood zone or in a hurricane prone area and there is bad weather predicted to move in, you will not be able to run down and get coverage at that time. It is simply a matter of common sense. It isn’t really fair to cover everyone all year long and then have you rush in right before bad weather and get the same coverage, right? Save yourself the embarrassment and move the vehicle to a safe area until the weather passes and THEN get coverage.

If you have comprehensive insurance on your vehicle and you experience a flood event then:

  • Have the car removed from the water as soon as it is safe enough to do so.
  • Have a licensed and insured company start the drying and salvage process.
  • Contact your agent to file a claim.

Make sure to keep your policy payments up to date if you live in an area that is prone to weather events. You don’t want to be denied coverage because you inadvertently forgot to make a payment.

Further Reading

MI Insurance Tips

Quick Links

Is Home Insurance Required? How to Get a Home Insurance Quote No License, No Problem

29
Jul 14

Michigan Hail Storm Damaged Car and Roof

When it comes to storms, Michigan pretty much has it all. A hail storm can be extremely damaging to both your car and your home. Determining your insurance coverage after a major storm can seem confusing and overwhelming. If you know what to look for and expect, it can make the process go a whole lot faster and smoother.

Hail Damage to a Car

Hail can leave your car looking like a mess. Hundreds of dents can cost a small fortune to repair. Only one insurance coverage will be able to help you. Comprehensive Coverage. Forget all the other insurance coverages, comp is king. Check your declaration page or look up your policy online and review your coverage. If you have comprehensive or also sometimes called other than collision coverage listed on your policy, you are covered.

Call Your Claim in Immediately

Hail storms are often fairly widespread. That means a lot hail claims might be pouring into your insurance carrier. Getting in at the front of the line can mean the difference between a short and sweet claim and a long and drawn out one. Yes, your deductible will apply. Plan on paying it at the time of your repair. Nearly all insurance carriers in Michigan allow you to choose your own body shop, but using an insurance preferred shop can speed up the claims process.

Hail Damage to Your Home

It can be a little harder to tell if you have sustained hail damage to your home. Really, someone needs to go up onto the roof and inspect to know for sure whether or not it is damaged. An excessive amount of shingle pebbles in your gutters could be a sign of damage. Most standard home policies cover hail damage. It is common to have hail coverage an optional coverage on mobile homes. It is best to check with your insurance agent to verify coverage.

Have Your Roof Inspected

There are two ways to handle your roof inspection. You can have your own inspector come out and take a look before notifying your insurance company. This is a good option if you are friends or relatives with a licensed contractor. It can be easier to just ask somebody you know to take a look than calling in the insurance adjuster. If no damage is visible, then you saved yourself a little time. If damage is found, an adjuster will still most likely come out and take a look to verify the damage.

Or, you can just call your insurance company and request an adjuster to take a look from the very beginning. The adjuster will come out and let you know if damage is present. I do not know of an insurance company who surcharges for calling in a claim without going through with claim payout. However, it has been rumored to happen. Its probably best to ask your agent if having your roof inspected by an adjuster will affect your future premiums.

Deductible

Any time damage occurs to your home or personal property, a deductible applies. Zero deductible policies are pretty much non-existent nowadays. The deductible is typically subtracted from the payout to repair your home.

Repair Cost or Replacement Cost

Repair cost means your roof will be depreciated. Then the amount of money it would cost to repair your depreciated roof is paid out. Basically if your roof is 20 – 30 years old, you are not going to be happy having repair cost coverage. The amount the insurance company pays out could be much lower than the amount of money it is going to take to replace your roof.

Replacement cost means, so long as you replace the damaged portion of your roof, the full amount minus your deductible will be covered. It is important to know your home owner coverage. It can make a big difference in your overall satisfaction of your policy.

Combine Auto and Home Claims

Regardless of whether you are in Michigan or not, hail storms can be costly. Try your best to protect your property. Move your vehicles into the garage if you know a severe storm is on the way. Even though insurance can be a big help dealing with the damage, paying your deductible might not exactly be easy. If you did sustain hail damage to both your car and home, ask your insurance company if they will allow only one deductible to be paid. It is very possible if the damage happened during the same storm and you have both your car and home insured with the same insurance company.

Quick Links

How to Get a Home Insurance Quote MI Helmet Laws Moving to Michigan and Car Insurance

27
Jul 14

How to Get Insurance Without a License in Michigan

Getting car insurance without a driver’s license in Michigan might seem impossible. Getting your insurance license suspended or revoked is a difficult time. You’re always needing someone to drive you somewhere. Your car is ready to go, but your insurance dropped you because of your suspended license. Many agents may be sending you away, maybe they are even telling you it is impossible. Well, I’m here to tell you with a little persistence it is possible.

Start by approaching the right insurance companies.

No License, No ProblemIf your driver’s license has been suspended or revoked, you are a high risk driver. Insurance carriers are concerned that even though you are not supposed to be driving, you will anyways and they will be stuck covering any losses you incur. You need to look for an insurance carrier who specializes in high risk auto insurance.

Popular High-Risk Insurance Carriers in Michigan(in no specific order)

Other carriers handle high risk insurance too. Some preferred carriers like State Farm offer high risk insurance coverage too. Calling an agent who only handles high risk auto policies is going to make things easier for you. They will be very familiar with your situation and will want your business. One of the problems high risk drivers face, is that preferred insurance agents are looking for preferred drivers and often do not want to handle policies involving high risk drivers.

So, How Does It Work?

Even though you are looking to insure your car, does not mean you are going to be allowed to drive it. Obviously with a suspended or revoked license you are not allowed to drive. An insurance carrier is going to protect itself by requiring you to be an excluded driver. Excluded drivers are not covered even if they choose to drive.

Example: An excluded driver chooses to drive in an emergency situation. While driving another vehicle rear-ends the excluded driver’s vehicle. The excluded driver’s auto insurance policy will not payout any damages, even though the accident was not his fault. The policy is basically void because he was not covered under the policy.

Ok, so if you are not driving your vehicle who is? In order to get a car insurance policy, you will need a licensed driver listed on the policy. Usually a blood relative or spouse would be the first choice, someone living in your household would be the next option. You would be listed as the named insured and excluded as a driver. The primary driver would be listed as a driver on your car insurance policy.

No luck finding an agency who allows being a named insured and excluded driver? Try finding an insurance carrier who will allow your primary driver to insure your vehicle in their name. Many insurance carriers only allow the person on the title to purchase an insurance policy. However, some carriers do not make it a requirement. That is another reason to stick with insurance agents who specialize in high risk insurance. Many high risk agents are independent agents, which means they sell several different insurance carriers and will have one that will work for you.

Tried both option one and two and you’re still having problems? Last resort, title your vehicle over to the person you trust the most. They can insure it and title it back over to you once you get your license status in order.

Don’t let a couple of agents turning you away get you down. Keep looking and I’m confident you will find the coverage you need. Keeping your vehicle insured is the responsible thing to do. You do not want to add more violations like driving without insurance to your record. Remember to always be honest with your insurance agent. You really can’t hide a suspended or revoked license anyways. Lying to try and get a cheaper rate will most likely end in your claim not being paid out. Be honest about your situation, and get the policy you need to be legal and truly covered.

Further Reading


20
Jun 14

5 Ways to Make Car Insurance Go Up

You get your car insurance paperwork in the mail and your old rate has gone up. What happened? Sometimes it has nothing to do with anything you have done. Insurance companies regularly adjust their rates according to overall losses. Michigan sees a lot of rate increases due to the MCCA fee. As more and more people file claims against the unlimited medical coverage, the charge for the coverage needs to go up to cover the costs. Sometimes your rate increase is directly correlated to something you have done. Check out the top five ways to make car insurance go up.

Cause an Accident and File a Claim: Some insurance carriers charge more for any type of claim filed. It is actually becoming more and more common to see comprehensive claims raising rates. Currently, it really depends on the insurance carrier. It is certainly good to know whether your insurance carrier surcharges for comprehensive claims, make sure to ask.

On the other hand, an at-fault claim almost always comes with a surcharge. It really does not matter how much your claim is for. A good thing to keep in mind is the surcharge is the same whether your claims is for $1,000 or $20,000. How much the surcharge is for an at-fault accident is very hard to determine. Your insurance agent may not even be able to tell until your insurance policy renews.

Get a Traffic Violation Ticket: Traffic violations can have a big impact on your car insurance rates. The bigger the violation the bigger your increase. Expect a minor violation to stay on your record between two to three years. A major violation such as a DUI can cause your policy to be non-renewed. At that point you need to start shopping for an insurance company which covers high risk drivers. Plan on paying a higher price for the same coverage too.

Have a Lapse in Coverage: Letting your car insurance lapse is always a bad idea. In Michigan,any period of lapse is not good. If you are within thirty days of a lapse, call your insurance carrier and request to be reinstated. You may be required to pay a small fee along with a couple months worth of payments. If you are over thirty days of a lapse, you will most likely be considered high risk. You will be charged a higher rate for six months to get your preferred driving status back.

Make a Late Payment: Paying car insurance late usually means you will be charged a late fee. It can be a surprise to get your insurance payment in the mail and see a $10 increase. If you paid late last month, the late fee is added onto the following month. $10 is an example, check with your insurance agent to see how much a late fee costs.

Move: A lot of people are shocked to realize the difference in auto rates based on where you live. Moving can move your rates up or down depending on where you are relocating. Moving from the outskirts of Grand Rapids to the inner city of Detroit could be a large difference in premium. Moving out of the state of Michigan would most likely reduce your rate greatly because of Michigan’s expensive unlimited medical coverage. Prepare for changes in car insurance premium if you are planning on moving.

Knowing what causes insurance rates to go up, can help you prevent it from happening.

Help with Michigan Car Insurance Coverage

Help Shopping for Car Insurance


16
Jun 14

Mini Torts and Limited Property Damage Claims

Michigan has a special coverage listed on their no-fault policies to cover damage caused by an at-fault driver. It only applies if the not at-fault car does not have broad or limited collision on its insurance policy. The coverage is called limited property damage and most people call the claim itself a mini tort claim. Essentially mini tort and limited property damage are referring to the same thing. A small amount of money on Michigan car insurance policies setup to cover at-fault damages to someone else’s vehicle.

How much does limited property damage coverage cost?

The cost of limited property damage coverage is actually minimal when compared to other Michigan car insurance coverages. Expect to pay somewhere between $5 and $15 per vehicle per six month policy period. The low cost of the coverage makes it a must have on your Michigan auto policy. Most Michigan insurance agents automatically add it to every policy quoted.

Is limited property damage a required coverage?

Legally, no. It is not required, but it is really silly not to purchase it. A very high percentage of Michigan drivers carry limited property damage. More times than not, I bet those who do not have it, setup their own policy with online insurance. Online insurance carriers often do not add limited property damage automatically and the purchaser does not know the cost or understand the coverage.

What if I am in an at-fault accident and do not have limited property damage on my policy?

The not at-fault party can take you to small claims court for the $1000 and they will most likely win. Then you will have to pay the court costs too. I would recommend paying this one out of pocket without court hassles, and immediately update your policy to list limited liability coverage on all your vehicles. Remember $1000 is all the not at-fault party is eligible for as long as you have an active auto insurance policy at the time of the accident.

What is considered a mini tort claim in Michigan?

  • Two vehicles in a collision and the not at-fault vehicle has no collision.
  • Two vehicles in a collision and the not at-fault vehicle has standard collision with a deductible.
    • How much money is paid out for a mini tort claim?

      Last year the mini tort claim payout in Michigan was increased to $1000. You are only eligible for the full $1000 if your damages meet or exceed the limit.

      What do you need to file a mini tort claim?

      • You must know who caused the damage to your vehicle.
      • A police report is important but a claim can be filed without one if the at fault driver admits fault.
      • A copy of your declarations page showing your collision coverage.
      • An estimate of the damage to your vehicle from a body shop.

      How does a mini tort claim affect insurance?

      • Not at-fault drivers are not affected at all. The claim is filed on the at-fault car’s insurance policy.
      • At-fault drivers are looking at an at-fault accident on their driving record. At-fault accidents typically make your insurance rate go up. Some insurance carriers do not surcharge unless more than $500 is paid out. And some people carry special coverage called accident forgiveness to avoid at-fault accident increases.

      Mini tort claims might sound complicated to Michigan drivers because we are so used to filing claims with our own insurance carriers. But, its really an easy process and you can do it yourself. Just call the insurance carrier of the at-fault driver and they will walk you through the claims process.

      Sometimes your car insurance agent will help you through the process too depending on your relationship with your agent. Since the claim is not filed with your insurance carrier though, some agents will direct you to the at-fault car’s insurance carrier. Don’t worry though. As long as you have all the documentation, your mini tort claim should not take more than two to three weeks to file and get your claim check.

      More Michigan Car Insurance Coverage

      Help Shopping for Car Insurance


13
Jun 14

Not At Fault Car Accident in Michigan

How is a not at fault car accident handled in the state of Michigan? It is certainly more complicated than compared with every other state in the US. Filing a claim where you are not at fault can be dealt with in a few different ways depending on what collision coverage you carry on your car insurance policy.

Broad and Limited Collision Coverage: Both broad and limited collision provide coverage on your own policy to cover damage from a not at fault accident. Both cover all damages without paying a deductible. No deductible will make this claim a whole lot easier to bare.

Standard Collision: Standard collision means your car insurance policy will cover the damages, however you will have to pay a deductible. If you know who caused the damage, you can file a mini tort claim against the at fault car’s insurance policy. A mini tort claim allows you to collect up to $1000 from the at fault car’s insurance policy. You are only allowed to collect what you deductible is listed at. Therefore, if your deductible is $500 the mini tort claim will pay out $500.

No Collision: Having no collision in Michigan means more than likely you will not be fully reimbursed for damage to your vehicle even if someone else is at-fault. Your car insurance policy will not cover any damages without collision coverage. You are able to file a mini tort claim against the at-fault car’s car insurance policy. You are eligible for up to $1000 for damages. You will need to provide proof of damages to the other car’s insurance carrier and also show you do not have collision coverage of your own.

If you are really concerned about the damage another driver could do to your vehicle, you should really consider carrying broad or limited collision. It is the only way to get your vehicle back to its original state as quickly and cheaply as possible.

Further Reading


06
Jun 14

Do I Need a Police Report After a Car Accident in Michigan?

A lot of people panic after a car accident. It is understandable. Accidents are high stress situations that do not occur everyday. After an accident you might be wondering what your next step should be. Should I call the police after the car accident? Do I call my insurance agent immediately? What information should I collect? All are valid questions, but the important one right now is whether you should get a police report.

Do I need a police report for an accident on private property in Michigan?

A private property accident includes accidents located in an individual’s driveway or a store parking lot. Police will not come out and fill out a police report for accidents which take place at these locations. Fortunately most accidents which occur at these locations are minor and can be handled easily without a police report. Both drivers should exchange insurance and contact information, then call their own insurance agents to proceed further.

Do I need a police report for an accident on Michigan roadways?

If you are in a collision on Michigan roadways, you are supposed to call the police and get a police report. Even if the accident is minor, the police should be contacted.

Benefits of Notifying the Police

  • Official documentation
  • Fault is usually determined

Cons of Notifying the Police

  • Time spent waiting for the police
  • At-fault driver will probably get a ticket

The not at fault driver always wants a police report and the at fault driver probably does not. It is important to get the police report especially if you are not at fault because it could make or break your claim. Fault is very important when it comes to a car accident. Plus, all of the information including names, phone numbers, location, insurance carriers, and accident description are all collected and put into the report. The at fault driver should accept responsibility and help with the process, it is the law. Driving away after an accident without contacting the police is considered a hit and run which is illegal in the state of Michigan.

Both drivers agree to not call the police.

It most definitely happens. Both parties are in a hurry and damage is minimal so the decision is made to not call the police. Problems can certainly arise when no police report is filed and an insurance claim is made. Stories can change and he said she said becomes an issue. The not at fault driver could be looking at extra expenses if the at fault party does not admit fault. Claims can still be filed, but the process can take longer and fault may not be settled appropriately.

Do I need a police report after a deer crash in Michigan?

It is recommended to get a police report after hitting a deer. The police will document the situation and make arrangements to take care of the deer. Sometimes they even have to put the deer out of its misery. The police report will help your insurance claim go smoothly. Documentation always helps with insurance claims. Some people hit more deer than others. If you happen to be one of the people that hit deer frequently, police reports can minimize the chance of a possible insurance fraud investigation.

Learn More About Michigan Car Insurance Coverage

Help Shopping for Car Insurance


20
Apr 14

Will My Home Insurance Cover Lightning Strike or Power Surge?

Let’s face it, we all know we should unplug our major appliances and electronics during a thunderstorm, but how often do we actually do it? Sometimes you’re not at home, sometimes you’re sleeping, and sometimes you just don’t want to be bothered with the hassle. So when lightning strikes or your power surges, are your appliances and electronics protected on your home owner’s insurance policy?

The Quick Answer

Lightning StrikeMore than likely, yes. A standard home owner’s policy covers lightning strike and power surges. Your deductible will apply and filing this type of claim will cause a surcharge to go against your policy. The good news is that a lightning strike or power surge is typically a lower surcharge than say a theft or fire claim. Meaning you should not see a huge rate hike if this is your first claim.

How Does a Lightning Claim Work?

  • Check for possibility of repairs to damaged items
  • Notify your insurance carrier of damaged items
  • Get depreciated costs for items plus subtract deductible
  • Replace the items you want
  • Submit receipts to the claims adjuster to get full reimbursement

Lightning claims are typically very easy claims to file. Sometimes if the storm is a major one, they may not even send an adjuster to your home and handle it right over the phone. It depends on the circumstances like how many of your electronic items were hit and their dollar amount.

It is important you are aware of the fact that most home insurance carriers will non-renew your policy if three claims are filed within a three year period. You want to make sure this, lightning claim, is a worth while claim because you never know what to expect weather wise in the upcoming three years. My general rule of thumb for home owners is if the claim is $1000 more than your deductible, it is time to contact your insurance carrier to file a claim.

Quick Links

How to Get a Home Insurance Quote Car Seat Laws Moving to Michigan and Car Insurance

12
Mar 14

Someone Broke Into My Car and Stole Personal Items

Unfortunately it happens, you come out to your car and the door has been pried open or your window smashed. Personal items have been stolen. Maybe a a car radio, a camera, a purse, Christmas presents, and who knows what? How does insurance handle a situation like this?

As with most insurance claims, it can get complicated sorting out what coverage covers what. Let me break it down for you.

Covered by Comprehensive Coverage

  • Damage to your car from break-in
  • Stolen Factory Installed Radio

Covered by Home Insurance

  • Camera
  • Purse
  • Other Personal Belongings

What about custom stereo equipment?

High value custom stereo equipment usually requires an extra endorsement on your car insurance policy. Most policies come with a low automatic coverage for custom equipment. If you have any high dollar upgrades, you need to notify your insurance company so you are covered in a situation like this. Your comprehensive deductible will still apply.

Will I have to pay two deductibles?

Actually, it is possible. A broken door handle or broken glass will fall under your car insurance and stolen personal items will be covered by your home insurance. How much you pay in deductibles depends on how you have your policies setup. It is a possibility to get your deductibles combined if you have your car and home insurance insured with the same insurance carrier. It never hurts to ask. Ask your claim adjuster or insurance agent if combining deductibles is possible.

The Hard Truth

A lot of vandalism and car break ins amount to a fairly low dollar amount loss. Many times the loss will not exceed your deductible. As frustrating as it is, you may be out of luck when it comes to getting compensated.

Help Shopping for Car Insurance

Further Reading