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


10
Sep 14

Caught Driving Without Car Insurance in Michigan

Everyone grumbles about having to pay that monthly payment for auto insurance, but you certainly do not want to be caught driving without it. It can mean big fines, license suspensions and even jail time. That is not to mention the huge financial risk you are taking in driving without protection in case of an accident.

Penalties for No Car Insurance In Michigan

Simply running up to the local convenience store could still mean an unintended accident with serious property damage, personal injury or even death. This is why they are called accidents. They are rarely planned. Can your estate withstand a serious lawsuit from injuries, damages or the death of another driver or passenger? Better not take the risk.

No-Fault Coverage

In the state of Michigan you are required to have and maintain a no-fault insurance policy. It covers any damages and injuries caused by a car accident no matter who is at fault. It has to include coverage for personal injury protection (PIP), property protection and residual bodily and property injury.

The PIP will cover your medical expenses from any accident you are involved in. You can attach your personal health insurance to the PIP so that it pays up to the maximum policy amount and then your PIP will kick in and pay the remainder.

If you are unable to work then the PIP will cover your salary up to 85%, but it is limited to $5,282 dollars per month for a maximum length of 3 years at this current time. This amount is different every year, so you will need to check on current statistics.

Property Protections

The basic property protection coverage or PPI should pay up to $1 million dollars on property, such as homes or businesses. It will even pay for cars that are legally parked and damaged in the accident.

Residual Damage Liability Coverage

The residual bodily injury (BI) and property damage (PD) is designed to protect you from lawsuits unless:

  • You cause a serious bodily injury or death accident
  • You have an accident with a non-Michigan resident with a non-Michigan registered vehicle
  • You are involved in an out-of-state accident
  • You are higher than 50% at fault. You can then be sued for up to $1,000.

BI and PD liability insurance covers the cost of your defense and pays for any damages up to policy limits. In Michigan the minimum coverage you have to carry is:

  • $20,000 for death and injury
  • $40,000 for multiple injuries and death
  • $10,000 for out-of-state property damage

Consequences of No Insurance

Being caught without any auto insurance in the state of Michigan can be a very expensive lesson. You can be convicted of a misdemeanor that involves a fine anywhere from $200 to $500. It can also mean up to a year in jail. It really depends on whether it is your first time, or you are repeatedly caught without insurance. It can also involve a 30 day driver’s license suspension, or at least until you can provide proof of current and valid insurance.

These penalties all pale in comparison to the possible consequences of being sued from injuring or killing someone in an accident. Being sued for property damage without the protection of a Michigan auto insurance policy can be devastating. You can lose your home, business and even personal belongings. It is simply a bad move to make.

Paying a monthly payment without ever filing a claim may be irksome at times, but think about all that it protects you and your family from. You cannot predict when and where an accident will happen. Stay protected with the coverage that you need. You may not need it often, but will be glad when you do and you have it available.

Further Reading


27
Aug 14

Michigan Drinking and Driving Laws

To say that the laws regarding drinking and driving in Michigan are tough is an understatement. They are among the toughest in the nation. If you have plans to go out and have a good time and ingest alcohol, it is best to make plans to get home safely. To attempt driving home, or from place to place while intoxicated can jeopardize your freedom, income and driving privileges. This is not to mention that you are placing yourself and others at risk of a serious or deadly crash.

There are those that feel the government is too intrusive, but there are times that it needs to step in and make sure that we are making the best decisions for ourselves, as well as the public at large. It is a crime in the state of Michigan to be operating a motor vehicle with blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08. Having a BAC of 0.17 or higher means getting even more enhanced, or harsher penalties. The fact is you can be arrested by exhibiting any level of impairment regardless of your actual BAC.

Being under the influence of a schedule 1 narcotic such as marijuana, heroin, GHB and others draw the same fines and penalties no matter whether you appear impaired or not.

First DUI Offense

Your best chance at getting life back to normal is if this is your first offense. If you follow all of the stipulations and pay all fines you will eventually get your license back. The penalties for under 0.17 BAC can be:

  • Up to $500 dollars in fines
  • Up to 93 days in jail
  • Up to 360 community service hours
  • Up to 6 months driver’s license suspension
  • 6 points off your driver’s license

Over 0.17 BAC:

  • Up to $700 dollars in fines
  • Up to 180 days in jail
  • Up to 360 community service hours
  • Up to 1 year of driver’s license suspension
  • 6 point off the driver’s license

You will also be expected to complete an alcohol treatment program and use an interlock system for your ignition after 45 days of license suspension. This will allow you the use of a restricted driver’s license. You are responsible for the costs of this equipment.

Refusing to take the breath test doesn’t make things any easier for you. A first refusal earns you an automatic 1 year driver’s license suspension. A second refusal in 7 years earns you a 2 year driver’s license suspension. A drunken driving conviction can also cost you up to $2,000 dollars in additional penalties. You can incur $1,000 dollar costs each year for two years to be paid under the Driver Responsibility Act. It can be a very costly conviction.

The Better Choice

All of these laws and consequences are not designed to keep you from having fun, but to help you make better choices when it comes to drinking and driving. You simply shouldn’t get behind the wheel if you have ingested any amount of alcoholic beverages. Keep your partying at one location, or designate a non-drinker to be the one to transport everyone safely.

Call a taxi for a ride home or make plans to stay overnight at the location of the party. You should do the same if you are hosting a party. Do not let anyone leave with the intent of driving home if they have been drinking. You could very well be saving the lives of your friends and others. You most certainly are saving them a possible driving while intoxicated charge.

Laws and regulations change periodically. We do our best to provide the most up to date information.

Quick Links

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

26
Aug 14

7 Tips for Getting Car Insurance after a DUI

Just the sheer humiliation of getting a DUI conviction may seem like the worst thing, but it is far from over at that point. The cost of time and money in paying fines, doing community service and the suspension of your driving privileges can pale in comparison to both finding and being able to afford car insurance again. It can haunt you for up to three years after a conviction.

There are a few things you can do to prepare yourself for the journey and make getting car insurance after a DUI possible.

  1. Understand there is no overnight cure. It may be a struggle to complete all of the demands of the court and locate a car insurance company that is willing to insure you after the conviction. There will be many companies that will not cover you for at least 3 years with a clean record.
  2. Understand that the process will be expensive. High risk insurance is not cheap, no matter who you can find coverage from. The combination of insurance costs, mandatory alcohol treatment and fines can be quite costly.
  3. Fight the DUI charge. You need to get a good lawyer involved quickly, especially if there is a chance that you can get the charges dropped or reduced. The faster you can do this the chances are great that your insurance company will never even know about it. If the charges are simply reduced, it will most likely show up on your record. It is best to be honest about it unless the charges are quickly dropped.
  4. Get coverage with a nationally recognized carrier if possible. The coverage will generally be better and the rates will at least be competitive. You will be looking at a high price tag no matter who you go with, but at least you can be sure the coverage will be good.
  5. Follow through with all of the court obligations. Do not miss hearings, complete all community service and pay all fines. If you are seen as cooperative it makes it easier to get car insurance after a DUI.
  6. Know your SR-22 and make sure it fits the requirements of liability for your state. Make sure that the paperwork is done correctly and that it is accepted by your state agency. You normally have about 6 months to get this done, but that really depends on how restricted your driving is made and when you can get your privileges back.
  7. Do comparison shopping. It is not always about who is the least expensive. You want to make sure that the company will help you with the paperwork for the SR-22 and that they will do it timely. You want the best coverage, the most help and the best price in that order. It will be indicative of whether you want to stick with them once your DUI can be taken off the table and you can have normal car insurance once again.

Getting Out from Under

It may seem like a lot of work and expense to regain your driving privileges and get insurance coverage again. But if you steer clear of any more DUI’s, keep up your premium payments faithfully and follow through with your court commitments, you will be back to a sense of normalcy before you know it.

It is not a pleasant lesson to learn, but it is designed to make people feel enough financial impact and bother that the idea of drinking and driving will never cross your mind again. Just don’t do it!

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

25
Aug 14

How to Get SR 22 Insurance in Michigan

Getting SR-22 insurance in Michigan is necessary when you are deemed a high-risk to insure. The process takes a bit of time, is more expensive than traditional insurance, but can be done fairly quickly in Michigan. Whether you are high-risk or not you have to maintain a certain amount of no-fault coverage if you plan to operate a motor vehicle legally.

No-Fault Coverage Requirements

There was a lot of thought that went into the development of the no-fault insurance coverage requirements. It eliminated the need for unnecessary litigation and argument about who was at fault. All people involved and hurt receive compensation for injuries. It makes the time to wait for payment much less. The one that is eventually found at fault enjoys a higher premium.

Michigan requires you to carry a policy that provides at least:

  • $20,000 in bodily injury coverage
  • $40,000 in multiple injuries
  • $10,000 in property damage

What is SR-22 Insurance?

SR-22 insurance literally stands for “safety responsibility.” It is not an actual policy. It is just paperwork that verifies that you have an insurance policy. Your insurance company prepares it and files it with the appropriate motor vehicle agency as proof that you have an existing policy.

Any violation resulting in a suspension of driving privileges requires establishing a high risk policy and SR-22 proof of it. Convictions of DUI, reckless driving or even driving without insurance can draw the penalty.

There are times the court will require you to carry a policy and submit an SR-22 whether you own a vehicle or not. It will be stipulated for a certain number of years after the conviction. This is fairly common with DUI convictions. If you fail to make your insurance premium payments then the SR-22 is cancelled and the motor vehicle department will receive SR-22 paperwork. Your license is then suspended until you file a new SR-22.

How to Get an Insurance Policy with SR-22 Documentation

If you are required to have high-risk insurance and provide SR-22 documentation then you will have to start the search for a company that will be willing to offer you coverage. You really need to make sure that it is adequate for the coverage that the state requires. Be prepared for it to have a high price tag, at least initially.

Since time is of the essence you want to make sure that you deal with an insurance company that will get your documents prepared and sent in to the motor vehicle department timely. Missing deadlines can spell disaster if you are trying to stay in the good graces of the curt and earn your driving privileges back.

The better options are usually with more well-known nationwide insurance companies. You need to make sure that you are talking with someone that is familiar with the laws of SR-22 in Michigan. States can vary in both coverage requirements and time limitations.

The Follow-Through

When you get the required insurance coverage and verify it with SR-22 documents, it will eventually get you in a better position of getting past the issues and getting full driving privileges back. After about 3 years of paying the high-risk premiums you may get to drop down to normal coverage with normal rates. It may seem overly expensive and a burden at the time, but getting this coverage and maintaining it without fail will get you free of the extra expense sooner than later.

The whole reasoning behind SR-22 is so the insurance company is aware of the higher risk they’re taking on in insuring you, and that the motor vehicle department can be confident that you have the proper amount of coverage.

Quick Links


19
Aug 14

How Do Insurance Agents Make Money?

Have you ever wondered how an insurance agent makes money from the policies you and many others buy? You can get the insurance coverage through either an agent or broker, but they have to be licensed. They are monitored and regulations are enforced through the state insurance departments.

Difference of Perspective

How Do Insurance Agents Make Money?The exact specifics of the different jobs of insurance agents and brokers may vary a little by state, but in general an insurance agent represents one or more particular insurance carriers and brokers represent you, the buyer. Agents can only represent the particular insurance products they are allowed to by certain insurance carriers. There are very specific products they have binding authority to initiate policies on. Captive agents work for a single insurance carrier, whereas independent agents can represent many.

Brokers can send in your application to many insurance companies on your behalf, but they have no ability to bind coverage. The binder has to come from the actual insurer. You are then given a temporary binder, or policy that will then be replaced by a full policy within 60 days usually. A broker that you personally deal with is a retail broker, but they can then branch out and contact wholesale brokers to try and locate specific coverage policies.

How Do They Make Money?

The money that agents and brokers make is commission based normally. There are a few select captive agents that may receive a salary, but most have to earn commissions based on sales. The commission amounts are based on the premiums that you pay for the coverage. It could be base commissions or contingent. Base commissions are a set amount per policy type and are usually higher for new business rather than renewals. This is so the agent or broker will be more financially motivated to get new business. An example of this is that new workers getting health insurance might earn the agent or broker 15% commission, whereas a renewal may only pay 10%.

Bonus Time

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Bonus Time. Contingent commissions or as many agents call them, bonuses, are extra amounts that are given by insurers as an incentive to get increased volume for certain policies. It is generally a super incentive for an agent or broker to get high volumes of policies for specific companies. Sometimes a bonus can come in the form of a luxury vacation. This may be somewhat expected with agents, but is a bit frowned upon with brokers. This is because a broker is supposed to be working on your behalf, not the insurance companies’.

Proper Disclosure

Very few brokers accept contingent commissions due to the controversial nature of the monies. Any agent or broker that presents you with a policy should disclose contingent commissions if they receive them. It gives you a heads up that they might be pushing the product for personal financial gain rather than it being an actual product that is the best for you and your needs.

This is not to say that every agent or broker getting contingent commissions is not looking after your best interests, but it does give you reason enough to really do your research well before committing to a particular policy. Doing your own homework is the best way to make sure that you are being matched with the right product at the best price.

If something feels off about the policies and prices you are being offered then walk away. Find another agent or broker to do business with. You want to be confident that your agent or broker is being above-board and honest with you about your insurance needs.

Tools for Becoming an Insurance Agent:


14
Aug 14

My Neighbor’s Tree Fell On My Property, Who Pays?

Love thy neighbor, that is until their tree falls right on your house right? Then it’s how did this happen? Why didn’t they trim that tree? Who is going to pay for this? It might seem like the owner of the tree ought to be held responsible, however, their home insurance is not going to cover any damages to your property. It is probably even more far fetched to think they are going to pay out of pocket. It really is not their responsibility to either.

How It Works

Neighbor's Tree Fell on My PropertyIt is your job to make sure your home is protected properly. The best way to protect your property is with a home insurance policy. Home insurance covers your property, not your neighbors. It works the same for both of you, their policy is not going to cover your property just as your policy will not cover their property. If a neighbor’s tree falls on your house, you need to call your home owner’s insurance company to file a claim. You will be responsible for paying your deductible.

Standard Policy Provides Coverage For:

  • Tree on Your House
  • Tree Across Your Driveway
  • Tree on Out Building, Pool, or Fence

No Damage, Just a Neighbor’s Tree In My Yard

The neighbor’s tree comes down in your yard and they don’t want to pay to get it cleaned up and neither do you. This situation usually really gets people fired up. Most standard home insurance policies do not cover a single downed tree after a storm. Someone’s got to give or you are going to be stuck with a nature made jungle gym in the yard. A lot of people are using wood burning stoves nowadays, many are happy to come and clean up a down tree so they can keep the wood. Call and ask your insurance agent if they know anyone who could be of help. The bottom line is if the tree is on your property, you are responsible to clean it up.

Neighbor’s Tree Fell On My Car

Ok, so what about your car? You guessed it, your car insurance is going to be the place to look for coverage. If you have comprehensive coverage on the damaged vehicle, you are covered. Plan on paying your deductible.

Injured From a Neighbor’s Tree Falling

Freak accidents can happen. If a neighbor’s tree falls on you, then you might be entitled to compensation for your injuries. If it occurs on your neighbor’s property, it should be fairly cut and dry. Now if you were on your property and the tree falls on you, it gets more complicated. You could try filing a claim against your neighbor’s home insurance policy. You should probably speak to claim adjuster and or a personal injury attorney to determine what is covered. There are just so many “what ifs” out there, it is very difficult to determine the exact coverage for everyone.

Quick Links

How to Get a Home Insurance Quote Is Home Insurance Required? Moving to Michigan and Car Insurance

30
Jul 14

Is Home Owner’s Insurance Required in Michigan?

Michigan has a lengthy list of insurance laws. Car insurance is a requirement for all drivers, home owner’s insurance is a different story. There is no law saying home owner’s insurance is required. The factor which really determines if you will be forced to carry insurance is whether or not you have a mortgage or lender of some sort.

Your mortgage company or land contract holder want to make sure their investment is protected. If your home were to go up in flames, they would be out their investment without insurance in place. As part of your mortgage or land contract agreement, you also agree to keep the property insured.

Is Michigan Home Insurance a Must?Pay off your home and insuring it becomes an option. A home is one of the largest investments you will ever make. Insuring it is highly recommended. Home owner’s insurance protects both your home and your belongings. Unless you have a big pile of cash in the bank, you’d be wise to keep your home insured.

What about Flood and Earthquake insurance?

If you live in a flood or earthquake zone, your lender will require theses coverages. Remember your lender wants to be fully protected. Luckily here in Michigan we do not have to worry too much about earthquakes, but flood is definitely a possibility in some areas. Make sure you are aware of those risks when you a purchasing a home.

What happens if I have a lender and do not keep my home insured?

Thinking of saving some cash by opting out of home owner’s insurance? Think again. Because you have agreed to keep your home insured in your lender agreement, your lender can purchase a policy for your property and send the bill to you. These third party insurance policies are very expensive and will not cover any of your belongings. You are much better off buying a policy and keeping it current throughout the mortgage period.

What about Renter’s Insurance?

It is important for renters to carry insurance too. Some apartment buildings and rented homes require it in order to rent. Renter’s insurance will protect your belongings and any liability you might incur.

More Michigan Car Insurance Coverage

Help Shopping for Car Insurance


29
Jul 14

Will a Seat Belt Ticket Make My Insurance Go Up in Michigan?

You are driving down the road minding your own business when you see flashing lights pull up right behind you. You get over thinking the police officer will surely go past you to pull over another law breaking person when you realize he is dead set on that person being you. You pull over and whirling through your mind is did I renew my plate, I wasn’t speeding was I, what did I do? Then you find out you were pulled over for not wearing a seat belt. Is this legal in Michigan?

Yes it is! Nowadays most states have a seat belt law. Michigan has a primary seat belt law which makes it so you can be pulled over solely for not buckling up. Prepare for a $65 fine and if you wait more than 21 days to pay, it jumps up to $105.

Impact on Car Insurance

Now that you have the ticket figured out, will your car insurance be affected? You might be surprised and probably relieved to find out a seat belt ticket will not increase your car insurance rate.

Don’t forget about the kids!

Make sure you are up to date on Michigan’s car seat laws. The seat belt laws apply to everyone in the car. A ticket can be issued for passengers the same as drivers.

Pay your ticket as soon as possible so you don’t forget. If you’re having trouble coming up with the $65, you’re really going to find it hard to pay $105.

Further Reading


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