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


21
Oct 16

Understanding Your Auto Insurance Policy

A typical auto insurance policy will have an array of features, which can befuddle the average person. It’s recommended to understand what these terms mean and what a “good” insurance policy will look like before signing on the dotted line. It is important to learn all the intricate terms a policy could feature and what a person should be looking out for.

It is possible to save money and find a great option as long as these terms are recognized and defined beforehand.

Key Terms

The average consumer will look at a few details and ignore the rest. This is not only a poor way of looking at things, but it can also lead to life-changing issues later on when the policy is required to protect you. Therefore, it’s best to take action right now and understand key terms you should be on the lookout for as a buyer.

These are terms all experts state are necessary when you’re hoping to get a good deal.

1) Collision and Comprehensive
2) Third-party Liability
3) Deductible
4) Optional Coverage
5) Accident Forgiveness
6) “Fault”
7) Total Loss
8) Policy Limits
9) Endorsement

It is these nine terms you should understand and research when it comes to your auto insurance policy provisions. Let’s go through all of them one by one.

Collision and Comprehensive: Collision coverage refers to repair costs associated when your vehicle is involved in an accident. Comprehensive coverage entails damage for everything else other than accidents which require repair work.

Third-Party Liability:
Refers to the amount paid out to other drivers when you’re at fault.

Deductible: This is the set amount you’re required to pay for repairs before the insurance agency puts in its share. It’s best to have this as low as possible to the extent you can afford the extra premium. The lower the deductible, the higher the premiums will be.

Optional Coverage:
These are added features on top of the foundational elements of your policy. These can be adjusted based on what you require.

Accident Forgiveness: This feature refers to the first accident (regardless of fault) being written off by the insurance company. This accident won’t impact your rates at all.

Fault: This refers to who caused the accident according to the police investigation. If a report was not filed, the “fault” could be disputed in court.

Total Loss: This is a set amount where the vehicle’s repair costs are more than the vehicle’s total value at that point in time. In this case, the car is replaced and considered a total loss.

Policy Limits: This is a term given to define set limits for each feature (i.e. deductibles and liability payments). These limits are often established for each claim a person makes.

Endorsement:
This is an added feature to protect a particular part of the vehicle (i.e. expensive rims) and its related details.

Saving Money On Your Auto Insurance Policy
For those who wish to save money, you can play around with these features and the policy limits that have been established.

Deductibles are a good place to start. You want to work on setting this as low as possible, so you’re not paying out of pocket for each claim. However, if you want a reduced monthly bill, you can increase the deductible. Consider the cost/benefit of collision and comprehensive insurance for older cars.

What Can Be Ignored?

While it is important not to ignore everything, it is possible to get away with select terms that are seen in policies.

What are some of these terms?

1) Regulations
2) McCarran-Ferguson Law
3) Financial Responsibility Law

In general, once these are found on the page, you don’t have to consider them any longer as they are standard in all policies. What are these terms? They are referring to state and federal laws put in place which have to be followed by insurance companies. These are mentioned, so you’re aware they’re being met by the agency that is selling you a policy. It doesn’t matter if these are present or not as they’re legally required regardless.

These are the nuances one should be thinking about when considering auto insurance. There are many details to consider, and those who are on top of things will get a far better deal than those who skim through and ignore the terms outright. Take your time to recognize these conditions and see how they impact your policy in the short and long-term. Until you do this, you will be taking a massive risk with your policy.

Written by Guest Author Jeff Thornhill
Jeff is a writer for CoolCarsPage.com and an avid car enthusiast.


29
Mar 15

How Much Does SR 22 Insurance Cost?

The dreaded SR 22 insurance policy. Sounds expensive doesn’t it? Actually adding a SR 22 filing to your car insurance is not all that expensive. Pretty much anywhere you go it runs about $15 to $25 for a six month policy. Unfortunately here in Michigan, it’s the policy you are adding it to which costs so much.

Most people familiar with Michigan know car insurance is expensive around here. If you are required to file SR-22 paperwork on your car insurance policy, you are most likely a high risk driver. High risk drivers plus Michigan’s high cost no fault insurance equals a whole lot of money. Remember Michigan is “special” because we have unlimited medical coverage.

How Much Does a High Risk Michigan Car Insurance Policy Cost?

So many factors go into determining car insurance rates. It is seriously difficult, even more like impossible, to put an exact dollar mount on the cost. But if you are just dying for numbers without getting a quote, I’ll take a stab at it.

  • Liability only: $100 to $140 a month
  • Comprehensive: $25 to $100 a month
  • Collision: $50 to $200 a month

Add up the max dollar amounts and that puts you at $440 a month for full coverage on a single vehicle! Could that be right? Well it could be, if you are a 21 year old with a DUI and a new BMW. Like I mentioned, a lot of factors go into car insurance rates. Your rate is probably not going to be the same as your friend’s. And like I mentioned, I’m just trying to put you in the ball park. Don’t hold me to it!

Getting an actual quote is the best way to determine your car insurance rate. The more information you provide the more accurate your quote. Time to fess up to any violations because you’re only delaying the inevitable. At the time of purchase, the insurance carrier will know all of your driving history.

What Have You Learned?

  • Michigan car insurance is expensive.
  • Michigan car insurance while being a high risk driver is very expensive.
  • Insure your vehicle with liability coverage only to keep the cost down.
  • Keep your car insurance in effect and keep your driving record clean to get off high risk status asap.

Further Reading

Quick Links

How to Get a Home Insurance Quote Penalties for No Car Insurance In Michigan Moving to Michigan and Car Insurance

03
Feb 15

How I Saved 100k to Stay At Home

I get comments all the time “You’re so lucky you get to stay at home with the kids!” My response is usually “Yea I am.” However, I’m actually thinking it wasn’t luck at all. My husband and I worked really hard for a long time to make it happen. Being able to stay at home and not be miserably poor takes discipline. Serious discipline if you are living in middle class America.

Enjoying Staying at HomeMy husband and I paid off 65k of debt and saved 35k in the bank so I could stay at home. Money skills are not properly taught to Americans today. Honestly, I cannot tell you where I learned money skills. Sometimes I think it might actually be a personality trait verses a learned skill, but common sense says it clearly can be learned. I think I learned by trial and error. Plus out of curiosity, I read a lot about finance at an early age. I still make mistakes, but I know my husband and I are better off than any of our immediate family members. And many of them earn higher wages than we do. My father, sister, and brother have each foreclosed on homes. Each for different reasons, but still its not a good track record for my bloodline. I really do not discuss finances with family because it seems like a taboo topic of conversation. Why? I have no idea. I think if people talked about finances more often, people would be more educated on the topic.

Discipline is More Important than Method

Discipline is what makes great things possible. Maybe you think you are disciplined. You get up every morning and go into work, that’s discipline right? The discipline I’m talking about is more than that though. I’m talking about depriving yourself to the point of being uncomfortable for an extended period of time. I’m talking about never taking a raise and blowing it. I’m talking about making budget changes for the long term. Everyone’s situation is different. Maybe you think my income is high so that is how I was able to do it. The way I see it though, is a lot of people who earn more than us do not enjoy the financial freedom we do right now. They have so much debt and have made so many bad choices they struggle to keep their heads above water. It is common knowledge even millionaires can go bankrupt with bad choices. I will tell you my numbers, but please keep in mind if you are in the middle class, you have to be disciplined and anything is possible. It might take a little longer, but it is still possible.

We Started Early

I got married in 2001, I was 20 and my husband was 26. I took our finances seriously from day one. His 401k was already 5 years old. He had a decent amount of debt including a second mortgage and a 401k loan (which he used to buy a jet ski, smh). I dabbled in a couple of small frivolous loans along the way too, however, we never went totally crazy. We had a small home and reliable, but not fancy cars. We paid every single bill on time every time. I had an okay data entry job and had opened a Roth IRA in the year 2000. Like I mentioned, we were young and often young means you are just starting out in a job and have good potential to move up. I think we really started putting our finances in order around 2005.

Early Savings Timeline

  • 1996 My Husband Started his 401k
  • 2000 I Opened a Roth IRA
  • 2005 I Landed a Steady Job and Started Thinking About a Plan
  • 2005 Bought a 169k Home with 0% down
  • 2005 Carried 10k Debt on 0% Credit Card
  • 2005 5k in Miscellaneous Loans

Yay! New Job

I had started my job selling personal lines car insurance at the beginning of ’05. I started out making roughly 30k a year once I had passed my insurance exam. My husband is a computer programmer at an automotive company and he was earning close to 50k at that time. As I am trying to think of all the numbers it is actually pretty hard to remember, so these numbers really are rough. I remember that right away we upgraded one of our cars and bought a bigger home in a better location. These purchases did make our budget really tight. I was nervous about the big mortgage and we bought a home which was built in the early ’70s with an outdated in-ground pool. Needless to say we have had to make a lot of big updates over the years. In the process of purchasing our home, we chose to pay off our vehicle and finance our home with 0% down. We took out a first and second mortgage at the time of purchase.

Plan Plan Plan

There was quite a bit of downtime in my office. It would get crazy busy, then it would be absolutely dead sometimes hours at a time. I would work my financial numbers over and over again. I would figure out our budget down to every dollar that was spent. Then I’d put different numbers into a mortgage calculator seeing how much money we could add to reduce the principle. I listed out all our debt and the interest rates that corresponded to each. I would try to guess what our pay raises would be and I was often fairly accurate. Raises were coming steadily. I think I was getting about $2k increase a year and my husband was increasing approximately 3k a year. By 2008, I figured we could be debt free by the time I was 33 (Hey, that happens to be this year!) and no, unfortunately I am not debt free. Staying at home was not my end goal at this time. I really wanted to be debt free and not worry about money.

My plan of attack was fairly simple.

Reduce Spending

  • Avoid All Shopping Other than Grocery Shopping (Stop Shopping to Pass the Time)
  • Stop Going Out to Eat
  • Look for Ways to Reduce Monthly Bills (Car Insurance, TV, Cell Phone)
  • Vacations Only at Out of State Family Members’ Homes

Pay Down Debt

  • Raises Go To Paying Down Debt
  • Bonuses Go To Paying Down Debt
  • Pay Highest Interest Debt First
  • Snowball Money (After paying off one bill, use that amount to pay down the next.)

We had 10k debt on a zero percent interest credit card. I switched to a new 0% offer card every time our rate was about to expire. I think we had 3 to 4 other smallish items of debt like a furniture loan and school loan. I didn’t come up with this method of paying off debt on my own. I believe several of the big names in financial planning use this method.

2009 We Had a Baby

Baby’s change a lot of things. Finances are definitely one of those things. I felt I had to keep working, quitting didn’t even feel like an option. We were fortunate to have grandparents and a loving aunt and uncle to take care of our baby while we were at work. Our debt had come down substantially over the past 4 years, but we were still nowhere near being able to handle our bills without my job.

Mid Savings Timeline

  • 2011 Obtained a Second Job
  • 2011 Used Roth IRA to Pay Off 25k 2nd Mortgage
  • 2011 Began Paying 3 Times Our Mortgage Payment to Reduce Principle

2011 I Really Started Looking for a Change

Staring at our finances every single day really made me want to accelerate our savings. I thought I wanted to write a children’s book and started looking for a paying writing job to get me started. Because I was looking, not just plain ole luck, I came across a job writing about car insurance. Perfect for me! After quite a bit of initial unpaid work, I got a part-time gig at About.com running the carinsurance.about.com site. I really can’t go into detail about how much they pay, but it absolutely helped. I worked after my son went to bed 7 nights a week anywhere from 1 to 4 hours.

This was a big turning point for our finances. At this point in time, we were able to start saving 100% of my insurance job wages. By saving, I mean using it to pay down debt.

Double Down Discipline

I mentioned earlier I had started a Roth IRA in the year 2000. The money we had put in had accumulated pretty well over the years, but because of the market downturn, our account was actually down from what we had invested. The value was approximately 25k. We decided to close the account and pay off our second mortgage. If you have a Roth IRA open for more than 5 years, you are able to withdraw the money without any penalties. Roth IRA contributions are not pre-tax. Since our account value was down from the amount we put into it, we didn’t have to pay taxes when closing our account (because we didn’t profit any money). I would not recommend anyone to pull money out of their retirement account. We did not make the decision lightly.

We’d been saving into my husband’s 401k plan at a higher rate than the Roth IRA. Our second mortgage was 5.25% interest. My account manager even said he couldn’t guarantee a return like that. Most importantly, using the money to pay off our second mortgage got us closer to our goals. Our retirement is still in pretty good shape.

Time to Re-prioritize and Refinance

In 2012, about a year after we started making triple payments to our mortgage, we really started to think about expanding our family again. We had already put our little guy into daycare part time because after two and a half years of totally relying on family, it became too much to ask of them. It was at this time I began to regret putting all of our money on our mortgage. It is not easily accessible there. It did not take long to realize we needed money in our bank account.

We spent 25k paying off our 2nd mortgage, and another 25k paying down our mortgage over the course of a year. We are still out of reach of me quitting my job. Way to many problems can pop up. We need a hefty emergency fund to feel secure. Refinancing is the best option for our new financial goals. We were able to go from a 4.6% interest rate to a 3.9% interest rate. We also extended our loan another 8 years. Not great, but we hope to accelerate payments again in the future. The combination of a reduced interest rate, a reduced principle, and a new 30 year term greatly impacted our mortgage payment. It went from a combined (1st and 2nd) mortgage payment of $1400 to a much more manageable $800 payment.

The Final Countdown

Early 2012, I didn’t know if or when our family would expand. I didn’t know if or when I would be able to quit my job. But, I did know we needed to start saving money into our bank account, I wanted our family to expand, and I wanted to be a stay at home mom. Once our home was refinanced, we began saving what feels like a ton of money each month. I found out I was pregnant with baby number 2 in August of 2012. Our bank account was growing rapidly. We decide for me to officially end my employment the last day of the year 2012. We had a total of 35k in our bank account. Our baby was not due until April, but I was super anxious. I worked right up until the day of the birth of my first son, and wanted to take this time to relax before baby number 2 arrived.

Final Savings Tally

  • 2000 – 2011: 25k in Roth IRA (Used this money to pay off 2nd mortgage.)
  • 2005 – 2011: Paid off 15k in Credit Card and Misc Debt with Snowball Plan
  • 2011: Applied and landed a part time writing gig
  • 2011-2012: Paid down primary mortgage principle 25k
  • 2012: Saved 35k into bank account
  • Jan 1, 2013: Quit my job!!!

As you can see, it did not happen overnight. It started with small steps and really took shape the last couple of years. In 2005 I thought I’d own my own insurance agency by now. Instead I get to stay at home with my boys. I think about money often, but I don’t stress over it. We are not saving at such an extreme rate now and have been enjoying a couple of small family vacations each year. I am happy and proud that we spent our money to free up our time. Not only do I have more time, but my husband does too. The ability to run errands and take care of some chores throughout the day, gives him more time to spend with the kids.

Set Goals

Having a goal is very important. It really does not matter what goal you set. Maybe you won’t even accomplish your goal, but working towards it could open up another opportunity you never thought possible. Remember that discipline is more important than method when it comes to paying down debt. Avoiding temptation and staying the course can give you the opportunity to bootstrap a start up, go after your dream job, or stay at home.


30
Jan 15

Michigan Insurance Review, A New Chapter

I really wanted this site to be a niche site about Michigan car insurance. Apparently I do not have the discipline or stamina to keep it up. I write about car insurance and loans on carinsurance.about.com and they actually pay me to do it. Money is an actual motivator, who knew? I thought I should start my own site to earn a higher percentage of money, however it seems unlikely at this point. Search engine optimization, and Google, and time seem to always be working against me. And then there is my forever boring beast of a topic, “insurance”. I can’t take it anymore. I don’t want another one of my projects to fall through the cracks, so I’m changing my niche. My new niche is whatever I feel like talking about, which could get interesting, and random.

Swirling Brain Syndrome

I can’t be the only one who gets this non-stop annoying syndrome. My brain will not stop swirling. I’m pretty good at a few things and I think I could help / teach someone something. My interests and halfway “good at” life skills include:

  • Personal Finance – I’m currently 33, I paid off 55k of debt and saved 35k in the bank so I could quit my painfully boring job and stay at home. Its been two years since I quit selling personal lines insurance. I’ve promised myself at least two more years before going back to a traditional job.
  • Cooking – I have gotten ridiculously good at cooking. Nothing too fancy but so delicious that I seriously feel my family eats better than 90% of the world.
  • Fitness – I’m no body builder, but I am in pretty good shape. I workout daily and eat healthy and have been doing so for about 18 months straight. Sometimes I think I could be a personal trainer, but then I think there goes my swirling brain again.
  • Struggling Entrepreneurship – Chronic “I’m going to make a million on this idea” syndrome. I know a couple of things about this and could probably give a bit of advice on what to avoid.
  • Stay at Home Life – Mommy bloggers everywhere unite! Staying at home might be your dream job, but actually living it might not be. An insider look at the daily grind could be helpful to some.
  • Parenting – Nothing like a little personal experience to make me an expert right? I have two boys. Seriously feel like I could write a great breastfeeding article. Does that fit on a site titled Michigan Insurance Review? Guess what? I don’t care!!
  • Vacation Planning – Seriously this can be hard. I’m the head vacation planner around here and it is exhausting. Surely, I can help you with my sometimes terrible experiences.
  • Exchange Student Host – I’m hosting an exchange student right now for 10 months. I’m halfway in and I’ve got a lot I could tell about this experience.
  • Relationship Advice – Hey, I’ve been married 13 years. Maybe I could give some relationship advice.
  • Graphic Design – Yup, I went to school for that. Photoshop, Illustrator tutorials here I come.
  • Writing a Book – I’m keeping this one on the back burner for now. I have a great children’s book idea already written out and I’m trying to illustrate it. Currently, I’m having a focusing problem.
  • Focusing Problems – Maybe I could write about how I deal with those little devils.
  • Building a Website – I certainly know how to build a website. I have designed and filled about 5 sites with content. I am actually addicted to buying domain names. I like to collect them like shoes, or nick-knacks, or whatever it is people collect.
  • Car Insurance – I actually do know a few things about car insurance. I sold it for 8 years and learned a lot about the industry and people in general. I might get crazy and throw in a few more insurance related articles, but don’t expect too much from me.

Alright, I think that will be a good start. Why do I want to put an emoji after every sentence? So addicted to texting. Right now I’m getting a little over 3k people on this site a month. It’s definitely not a destination site. It’s a search and get the hell out site. Maybe with my handbook, aka my overflowing brain, of life skills I can make you want to come back for more.

Quick and Adorable Family Pic

Delbridge Family Picture

No Longer in it for the Money

Super done trying to make money on a blog. Now I’m just going to practice my writing skills and write what I like. Complain about whatever I want, whenever I want. And believe me when I tell you complaining is my #1 finely tuned skill.

Don’t Tell Anybody!

I’m not going to verbally tell a single soul about my change to the site. Nobody I know reads this site, I’m quite sure everyone I know was bored with it before I finished its description. And I’m tired, so tired of telling people I’m trying something new or different. I’m just going to keep this little change for me. I really do want to keep it educational, but I can see it turning a little bit diary-ish.

Just in Case You Really Were Looking for Car Ins. Info


20
Nov 14

Michigan Winter Car Safety Tips

Here in Michigan we know that we do many things better than other parts of the country – summers on the lake, country road motorcycle rides and of course, the great Michigan season of snow and cold. While we prepare ourselves for the upcoming change in temperatures, it is important to remember to prepare your car for the changes coming with the new season as well.

When getting your car ready for the snow and ice, be sure to follow these easy steps for safe winter driving.

Check Your Tires

This may seem like common sense, but ensuring that your tires have good tread on them should be the first thing on your list. Without good tread depth, you run the risk of your tires losing grip on the snow and ice. When in doubt, have your local mechanic check out your tires – if needed, you can transition to a good set of winter tires.

You should also check to make sure that your tires are inflated properly. Without proper inflation, your tires can cause problems such as:

  • Reducing the tread life of your tire.
  • Reduce the gas mileage of your car.
  • Reduce the stability of the car.
  • Put your tires at risk for a blow out.

Tires are like shoes for your car – the better quality and care, the longer they will last.

Test Your Battery

The battery is often overlooked as a part of the car that we just trust is in good working order. If your battery is over three years old, it is a good idea to have your battery tested. Depending on the way you drive, your battery can have a shortened life span. Things like extreme heat and cold, many short trips vs. longer road trips can all reduce the life of your battery.

Check the Fluids

Another simple yet effective quick check for your car is to check all of the fluids. Your car needs to have all of the fluids at appropriate levels to run properly, and ensuring that things like your radiator are properly leveled off is crucial to winter driving. Stocking an extra container of washer fluid in the car is also a good idea, as the special formulas of washer fluid today can greatly improve your visibility during cold, snowy days. We all know how it feels to be on the highway with our windshield wipers scraping across a windshield that does not have any more fluid in the tank. Be prepared for the snow, ice and wind.

Prepare an Emergency Kit

Michigan winters require us to be prepared for whatever it may throw at us; our kind of cold needs special preparation. It is recommended that everyone prepare a winter survival kit that will have everything that you might need if you get stranded in the snow or cold.

Not every kit will be the same, but some of the things that are recommended can be:

  • Flashlight
  • Warm clothes
  • Battery Charger
  • Protein Bars and Snacks
  • Bottles Water
  • Blankets

Although not a complete list, this can give you some ideas of things that you can include in your own emergency kit.

By preparing for the winter weather, you can increase your safety while driving on the roads this season. Whether it is rain, sleet, snow or ice, preparing both your car and yourself for the winter roads can be the difference between a normal, safe long cold winter, or a winter that puts your car in the repair shop from an accident. Knowing how to get ready for the snow will increase your odds for a safe and happy winter.

Quick Links


06
Nov 14

5 Michigan Auto Insurance Myths

Although you are not alone in not understanding the complexities of how auto insurance works in Michigan, there are myths and misconceptions out there about how our auto insurance works. Recently, some well-discussed facts were put out that can help to reduce the incorrect information and myths that surround auto insurance.

I can drive my car “a little bit” if I change my insurance to storage (comprehensive only)?

If you make the decision to park your car, or store it for the winter, you can reduce your coverage just to cover comprehensive damage while removing your liability and collision coverage. By doing this, you can reduce your monthly cost while maintaining coverage if something should happen to your car. However, it is important to know that even driving a car a little bit can put you at serious risk if something should happen to the car.

Be smart and be safe – if you are truly parking your car, you can reduce the coverage. But when you plan to drive the car again, make sure that you notify your insurance agent that you will be driving it again even if it is only for a day. It is better to be covered than not be covered.

If my car is stolen, my insurance will pay for a rental car until my car is found?

If your car is stolen, often times you can have rental costs covered up to a specific dollar amount if you have car rental coverage on the vehicle. Even with this type of coverage, it may not be enough to cover the cost of the rental until your vehicle is recovered. It is important to understand the level of coverage that you have so that if something does happen to your car, you are prepared to pay expenses, such as an extended rental car, out of pocket.

Buying that red sports car automatically makes me pay higher premiums.

The long-standing myth that people who buy red cars pay higher insurance just is not true. Many insurance agents will not even ask the color of your car when you call for a quote, instead, they are more likely to ask the year, make and model of the car.

It is true though that some car brands and styles do have a higher insurance rate. Here in Michigan, sporty cars and even hybrid cars can be the most expensive to insure. Safety features play a big role in insurance costs especially in a state with unlimited medical coverage! A mini van full of curtain airbags will most likely get you a better rate than a convertible.

Michigan “no fault” insurance program only helps those without insurance.

There are many false facts surrounding the “no fault” debate that continues to wage war in Michigan. Help for drivers that are in a serious accident will continue with ongoing debates about the level of costs and changes to the primary system for those needing rehabilitation and extensive medical coverage. Coverage for those injured while driving includes medical and care costs associated with the accident; costs that may be viewed as higher in Michigan than in other states that do not have caps on the coverage given based on the definition of “no fault“.

Insurance coverage in Michigan is not mandatory.

There are three types of mandatory insurance in Michigan – personal injury protection, property protection and residual liability. Each of these levels of protection is different and covers different aspects of an accident or injury from a car incident.

  • Personal Injury Protection (PIP) – This coverage pays benefits to the individual in the accident from their own insurance company.
  • Property Protection – This coverage covers the damages you cause with your car.
  • Residual Liability – This coverage gives the individual protection if they are sued by the other individual in an accident.

It is important to understand the truth about your own automotive coverage, and what you need as a driver when living in the state of Michigan.

Further Reading

MI Insurance Tips

Quick Links

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

04
Nov 14

What Happens If I Pay My Car Insurance Late?

It happens to everyone. Sometimes you just don’t have the funds you need when you need them. Other times you simply forget and the date slips by you. Whatever the reason, you may find out you paid your insurance bill late. Now is not the time to freak out depending on how late it is. If you don’t know what happens when you pay your car insurance late in Michigan then, you will find this helpful.

First, look at how late you are. Is it a day behind, a month, more or less? This is important to determine how late it will actually be. Did you already mail the check off, or did it just enter into your mind to do so? This is another determining factor in what happens.

Things You Should Expect

  • Late Fees
  • A Double Payment (the past due amount plus the current month’s payment)
  • No Reinstatement if it is a Second Offense

The unfortunate truth is that some insurance companies will temporarily suspend your insurance even if you are just a day or two late in paying. In insurance lingo, this is known as a lapse in your insurance policy. A lapse in your policy means that you are not insured and considered to be an illegal driver because of it.

Fortunately, most insurance companies are going to send you a notice that you are at risk of having your insurance policy lapse if they do not receive a payment within a certain amount of time. This could be a few hours or a few days. Your insurance company may opt for giving you a phone call in addition to written notification. If you do not contact your insurance company to work something out, or pay them, you should consider yourself as an uninsured driver. To make things even worse, some insurance companies will charge you a late fee per day until you make your insurance payment.

What Happens When it Lapses

After your insurance company lapses your insurance coverage, the last thing you want to do is be caught driving without insurance. If you get pulled over or you get in an accident, you could lose both your license and the registration of your vehicle. Then, you have to pay a reinstatement fee to get your license back and you have to pay to register your vehicle again. If you are alone in the vehicle, you could also end up having to pay an impound fee to get your vehicle back.

In some cases, you may even be facing jail time for getting in a car accident while you were unlicensed or uninsured. Whether or not this happens, depends on if you have previously driven without insurance before.

What Should You Do?

You have to keep in mind that insurance companies are not like the monster that lived under your bed when you were a child. They understand the hiccups in finances and unexpected expenses happen from time to time. In a lot of situations, an insurance company is more than willing to work out some kind of plan with you. Don’t push their willingness to help. Being late every month is not acceptable and will most likely result in your policy being cancelled.

The worst thing you can do in this situation is doing nothing. Call your insurance agent and let them know you are struggling to find the money to make your payment in time. Just tell them what’s going on and see if some kind of long term payment plan can be worked out. You can also ask if you can have a few days or an extra week to make a payment without having to worry about your insurance lapsing.

Your insurance provider has no way of knowing that you are struggling to find the money if you don’t tell them. Not telling them anything at all is when they just assume you are not going to pay them at all. Losing your status as an insured driver will make you a high risk driver. In Michigan that means when you do get your finances straightened out, you will be paying a much higher insurance rate for a full six months to get back to a preferred rate.

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25
Oct 14

I Just Received a Non-Renewal Notice – What Do I Do Now?

You have just received a non-renewal notice from your Michigan car insurance provider. Chances are pretty good you have a few things going through your mind. What the heck is a non-renewal notice? How does it differ from a cancellation? What should you be doing about it?

What The Heck Is a Non-Renewal Notice

You can have slight peace of mind in knowing that a non-renewal notice is slightly less awful than receiving a cancellation notice. However, neither are ideal situations to be in.

A non-renewal notice means that your insurance provider is no longer accepting you (or another driver in some cases) on your insurance policy. This means that when your insurance policy is due to be renewed, you will need to find another insurance policy. The only reason why a non-renewal notice is slightly less awful than a cancellation notice is because you have more time to find new insurance. When you receive a cancellation notice, it means they have cancelled your insurance policy and you only have about 30 days to find another insurance home.

Causes of Non-Renewal Notices

You are probably asking yourself why your insurance provider would have sent you a non-renewal notice in the first place. There are a few different reasons why insurance companies decide they no longer wish to cover a specific driver.

  • Your Driving Record – If you have a lot of speeding tickets or you have a DUI, you should not be surprised if your insurance provider sends you a non-renewal notice. Multiple traffic citations and/or a DUI make you a high-risk driver and some insurance providers do not want the burden of having to cover you.
  • Multiple Claims – If you get in a lot of accidents (your fault or not your fault), you are going to be making a lot of claims with your insurance provider. Your insurance provider could decide they don’t want to renew your insurance policy because you are costing them too much money. Most preferred insurance providers have a rule that you should not have more than one at-fault claim a year. If you file a second (and especially the third) at-fault claim, you can expect to receive a non-renewal notice in the mail.
  • You Moved Out of the State – If you move out of state and you never inform your insurance, if they can’t find your mailing address, the policy will eventually cancel. Or, maybe you have a local insurance carrier, and they can’t cover you in your new state. You should just work on switching to a new provider as soon as you know you are moving and where you are moving.

What Can You Do About It?

Call an insurance agent as soon as possible to shed some light on what is going on. It is very possible that the insurance provider you currently have would still offer you a policy, they just may want to revisit the terms because you are now a high risk for them to insure. In the worse situation where your insurance provider no longer wants to cover you under any terms, you would need your insurance agent to help you find another provider to get coverage through.

You want to find a replacement for your insurance policy as soon as you know that your current policy is not being renewed. This is because it is illegal for you to drive around without insurance. You could face jail time and end up paying an arm and a leg in repair fees; possibly even a hefty lawsuit from a bad auto accident.

From the very moment you open that non-renewal notice, you should get on your phone and start calling providers and agents to find another form of coverage.

Further Reading

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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.

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02
Oct 14

How to Get Your Car Insurance Ready for Winter in Michigan

Don’t let the snow sneak up on you – get both you and your car ready for another Michigan winter with these easy tips to maintain all around coverage for the long months ahead.

Is Your Car Hibernating this year?

If you plan to park your car for the winter and not drive it, you can certainly change over your insurance and remove your collision coverage. If your car is truly not going anywhere, then you can set up your policy to maintain just comprehensive coverage. It is important to talk with your agent on the specific guidelines for removing levels of coverage from your car. Plan ahead and start this process early.

The Best Car Insurance for WinterBy changing this coverage, you can save yourself some money on your policy during the months that your car isn’t on the road. However, make sure that you plan to truly keep that car tucked away safe for the winter. If you drive that car out for any reason without upgrading the policy, you can put yourself at significant risk if you have an accident.

Changing or reducing coverage is a much smarter move than allowing the policy to lapse. A lapse in coverage can cause damage to your rates over time, which can reduce the chances of benefits and bonuses offered for customers with consistent insurance coverage. Don’t allow yourself to fall into that trap, make sure you plan for the seasonal changes.

A Car Braving the Winter Needs Special Attention

Just like you, your car needs to be prepared for the winter weather. A lot of the time that starts with having the right coverage on your car insurance policy. Remember even if you are the best winter driver of all time, you cannot assume the other drivers on the road are too. Protecting yourself with insurance is a good way to avoid winter weather financial travesties.

Great Winter Car Insurance Coverage Options

Broad Collision – If you currently have no collision or standard collision, broad collision would be a great upgrade for the winter months. Broad collision makes it so Michigan drivers do not pay the deductible when they are not at-fault. This protects you from paying out of pocket expenses when a careless or out of control vehicle hits your vehicle.

Roadside Assistance – Lots of Michigan residents have been there at some point in time, stuck on the side of the road in blizzard like conditions. Save yourself some money by adding on this usually very inexpensive coverage for the winter months.

Car Rental – Would you be hurting if your vehicle is in the shop for repairs? If you do not have an alternate vehicle, car rental coverage can save the day after a car accident.

Accident Forgiveness – Let’s face it, it can happen to any of us. Sliding on ice and hitting another vehicle or guard rail can seriously raise your insurance rate. Consider adding accident forgiveness to avoid steep insurance rate hikes this winter.

Before you head out this winter, check in with your agent to make sure you have the right coverage for your winter driving. Sometimes changes in driving patterns can mean that you need to change the way you are covered. Any time that you change jobs start school, add a new driver in your household, or the season changes it is a good idea to check in with your insurance agent to make sure that you are covered from hood to bumper.

Michigan Winters need Preparation

Whether it is the mental preparation of surviving another winter, or the preparation that it takes to ensure that you will be able to get to go where you need to go this winter, do not let the winter weather catch you by surprise; plan ahead with your agent by doing a winter weather “check-up” on your policy.

Checking in with your local agent to make sure that you have what you need to make it a great winter for both you and your car is the perfect way to welcome in the new season.

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