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


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.

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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

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21
Feb 14

Stuck in a Pothole Nightmare – Get Help with Insurance

Are you stuck in a pothole nightmare? How about we just dub 2014 the year of the “Pothole” here in Michigan? This has been one of the harshest winters on record across the country and Michigan’s roads are making the moon’s surface look smooth. Pot holes can cause all kinds of damage to your vehicle. Bent rims, popped tires, misalignment, and bad shocks can all be blamed on our treacherous road conditions. So, who foots the bill for these damages?

The State of Michigan

Michigan Pothole NightmareTo my surprise, the state of Michigan, MDOT, does offer some coverage for damage caused by potholes, but you have to meet very specific requirements. They only cover potholes on a trunkline, which refers to freeways which begin with an I, M, or US. You have to prove the state knew of the pothole for more than thirty days before your damage occurred.

So what exactly is covered? If you are able to prove the state knew of the pothole for more than thirty days prior to your damage, then they will reimburse you for the damages above and beyond what your car insurance will pay. Yes, that means you have to file a claim on your auto insurance first or prove you do not carry collision coverage. Essentially, the state will cover your deductible if you have collision coverage.

Other points of interest when filing a claim with the state include if the amount you are submitting is over $1000 you have to file it with Michigan Court of Claims. Go to www.michigan.gov/mdot to download the form and get further instructions about filing a pothole damage claim.

Honestly, only a handful of people actually get reimbursed through the state. I wouldn’t recommend filing a claim with them due to the hassle alone. Potholes pop up quickly. You probably didn’t know about the pothole before you slammed into it. And if you are not the one who reported the pothole thirty days or more ahead of time, then you are going to have a very difficult time proving the state knew about it.

File a Collision Claim on Your Car Insurance

That is right, collision. Many people have the misconception that comprehensive coverage will cover a pothole damage claim. Unfortunately it is considered a collision when you hit a pothole, the same as if you hit a guard rail or mailbox. Not only is it a collision claim, but also an at-fault claim. Meaning, you will have to pay your deductible and are subject to a surcharge when your car insurance policy renews.

The only way around a deductible and surcharge are if you purchased vanishing deductible coverage and accident forgiveness. Not all policies offer these options, but they sure would come in handy right about now. A lot of the time the damage may not exceed your deductible. Lots of people carry $500 or even $1000 deductibles to reduce the overall cost of Michigan’s expensive car insurance policies. Filing a claim may not be an option.

Please keep in mind, all insurance carriers handle pothole claims the same. They all consider them collisions. So there really isn’t a need to get upset with your insurance carrier. You can expect the same results even if you switch carriers.

You Pay Out of Pocket

Right about now you are probably getting annoyed with me because in the title I said “Get Help with Insurance”. Well I will admit I did lead you on a little. Filing a claim on your car insurance is an option, and it might be a good one if you really cannot afford the full cost of your pothole damage repair. But, most likely you are going to be better off paying for this one out of pocket. As frustrating as it maybe, even if the damage is a little over your deductible, paying for the damage yourself might save you overall because of the potential surcharge. At-fault claim surcharges can last three years and the amount can vary.

We are all going to have to be patient this year as the road crews have a whole lot of work to do. Be mindful of potholes in your area and try to avoid them if at all possible. More potholes will surely be popping up as the roads continue to thaw. Hopefully if you do sustain damage from a pothole, your car will only require an alignment. The average cost of an alignment ranges from $50 to $100 depending on the size of your vehicle. Please remain vigilant and be careful out there!

Report a Michigan Pot Hole

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14
Jan 14

What has Been Your Worst Car Accident?

Everyone’s driving history is unique. As an insurance agent, I’ve heard a lot of car accident descriptions. Accidents ranging from falling asleep at the wheel, to getting stuck on top of a deer carcass on the highway. Luckily, I personally have only been in one minor accident.

I was driving my sister’s vehicle at the time, slid on ice, spun 180 degrees, and the tail end of the vehicle hit the median. I was able to drive away after receiving a ticket for driving too fast for weather conditions. I paid her $500 deductible and listened to her complain about the damage for a week until it could get repaired.

My Lessons Learned

  • Do not drive another person’s vehicle
  • Stay home in bad weather conditions
  • Have an emergency fund available for deductibles and even worse tickets

It turned out to be an expensive life lesson, but luckily I did not sustain any injury. I was also lucky she had collision coverage on her vehicle. I have to say though, I have done all of the things on the list to the best of my ability since the accident and it was eleven years ago! I rarely ever drive another person’s vehicle. I hate driving in the winter and I have set up a decent emergency fund just for these types of situations.

What has been your worst car accident? Did your claim go smoothly?

Michigan Collision Coverage Options

Further Reading


13
Dec 13

The Best Way of Obtaining a Police Report in Michigan

Police reports in Michigan have gone digital. The best and seemingly only way to obtain a police report in Michigan is online. Police reports are very handy to have when it comes to filing an auto insurance claim. Getting a police report after a car accident will provide detailed information of all the people involved, the vehicles involved, insurance info for all parties, and a description of the accident.

How to Get a Police Report Online:

  • The responding police officer will give all parties involved a business card with the police report number listed.
  • Wait three to five days for the police report to be processed
  • Go to Authorizetransaction.com
  • Select your city’s police department
  • Enter the accident date
  • Enter the police report number
  • Enter last name of person involved

The date of your accident is important, so do not forget it. Authorizetransaction.com charges $10 for reports. In their terms of use they clearly state prices are subject to change without notice. It is easy to access your police report 24/7 on this site as long as you have the required information.

Other Options:

Check with your police department: Most police departments will refer you to use the online service. However, some units allow reports to be obtained in person. Plan on having your picture ID ready and also plan on paying a fee. Many will expect cash or check only. Also beware, it might take longer than the standard 3 to 5 days to complete a report.

Mailing in a request is also a possibility. Ask the police department for the mailing address. Send the police report number along with a self address envelope. You will also need to include the report fee. Accessing the report online is sounding better and better.

Won’t my insurance carrier get the police report for me?

Good news! Most of the time, yes your insurance carrier will get the police report for you in Michigan. Most standard collisions will be handled by your insurance carrier due to the No-Fault law. When you report your insurance claim, give the claim representative the police report number and they will take care of the rest.

Mini Tort Claim:

When it comes to a mini tort claim, usually you will be responsible for getting a copy of the police report. A mini tort claim is a claim you file against the at-fault driver when you, the not at-fault driver has to pay a deductible or has no collision coverage. The police report will be used to verify you were not at-fault.

Some insurance agents help their clients file mini tort claims, however your agent really should not be personally responsible for the police report fee. The agent is going out of the way to help you file a claim against another insurance carrier, they should not hold the burden of paying the police report fee too.

Help with Michigan Car Insurance Coverage

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04
Dec 13

Top 5 Michigan Winter Related Car Claims


Winter car insurance claims in Michigan can be hard to handle. Being on guard and aware of your surroundings is your best defense. Avoid common distractions while driving such as cell phones, GPS devices, and snow covered windows your safety and bank account depend on it. Be on the look out for the top five Michigan winter claims this winter season and know what coverage will provide protection.

  • Sliding on Snow and Ice Collision Claim: Whether you hit another car or a guard rail due to sliding on snow or ice, it is considered a collision. The vehicle doing the sliding would most likely be considered at-fault in the accident. Collision coverage is required in order to have coverage to protect you against this type of loss.
  • Tow Claim: Tow claims are always common, but they really increase in the winter time. Again with the sliding on snow and ice, but this time you only hit the ditch. If you are lucky enough to avoid car damage, you can get away with just a tow claim. Roadside assistance or towing is the coverage you would need to provide coverage when you are stuck in the snow.
  • Pot Hole Claim: Pot holes are common on Michigan roads. The freezing and thawing of the roads combined with tons of salt make them nearly impossible to keep filled. Hidden under a blanket of snow can make pot holes even harder to avoid. Pot hole claims are considered at-fault accidents according to Michigan insurance carriers. Collision coverage is required to file a pot hole claim.
  • Deer Claim: Those pesky deer are always causing trouble. The fall months are the most common for deer claims but do not let that allow you to drop your guard. Deer can be seen anytime of the year on Michigan roadways. Comprehensive coverage will be required in order for your insurance company to cover a loss caused by a deer.
  • Hail Damage Claim: Hail can strike at anytime during most Michigan seasons, especially winter. Hopefully, your car is safely parked in the garage during a hail storm, but if you happen to be out and about or parked at work, you could be looking at some serious damage. All those little dings will be covered by your car insurance as long as you carry comprehensive coverage. Low deductibles are common with comprehensive coverage, but it can certainly vary, so check with your insurance agent to determine how much you will have to pay for your deductible.

Snow Covered Road

Michigan data shows most accidents actually occur on clear days. Does that mean there are just more clear days throughout the year or does it mean people let their guard down? Either way, accidents can occur anytime of any day. Defensive driving should be your normal driving style. Take the responsibility of driving seriously and do not ever think it can’t happen to you.

Help with Michigan Car Insurance Coverage

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03
Dec 13

Will the State of Michigan Pay for a Deer Car Accident?

When you are in a stressful situation, it is common to try and find someone to blame. Hitting a deer in Michigan with your vehicle is a stressful and often costly situation where you might blame the state of Michigan itself. I mean they ought to have better control over the deer population right? Maybe even some guard railing protecting the cars on the roadway from suicidal deer. So can you submit damages to your vehicle from a deer car accident to the state of Michigan?

Well, you can probably submit your information all you want, but you are not going to get any money out of the state of Michigan for a deer car accident. It just is not feasible for the state to cover the losses sustained by deer car accidents. Good luck even trying to get the state of Michigan to pay for pot hole damages to your vehicle.

The best way to protect your car is to purchase comprehensive coverage. Comprehensive coverage provides coverage for car repair after a deer car accident minus your deductible. Keep your deductible in mind when you purchase the coverage and make sure it is an amount that will work within your budget. Many times I have heard clients say a deer car accident is an act of god so the deductible should be waived. Another deer accident myth I’m afraid. Deductibles are in place to keep the overall cost of insurance down. If all animal and weather related claim deductibles were waived, insurance would not be affordable once so ever.

More on Deer Car Claims


14
Nov 13

The Best Michigan Deer Accident Infographic

Michigan Deer Accident Infographic

Gun deer season begins on November 15, 2013 in the state of Michigan. It seems appropriate to start the season off with a new deer infographic. I appreciate you checking out this one since it is my first. More creative infographics are coming soon.

An informative Michigan deer infographic is fun to share. Send it to all your friends to let them know the dangers of deer collisions. It also provides some important tips to avoid hitting a deer. Please copy and paste the URL on your Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest accounts. Be safe and good luck hunters!


05
Nov 13

Michigan Deer Vehicle Crash, Collision, Accident

It does not matter how you phrase it, deer rack up tons of damage to vehicles in crashes, collisions, and accidents in the state of Michigan. More than 60,000 crashes are reported every year in Michigan and a whole lot more go unreported. If you are commonly in the car during the hours of dawn and dusk, you are very likely to encounter contact with a deer.

Am I covered for a deer accident?

Auto insurance does cover deer as long as you purchased comprehensive coverage on the vehicle in question. Most of the time a deductible is assigned to comprehensive. The deductible is the amount you will have to pay out of pocket to get your vehicle repaired. It might be $100, it might be $500 you will have to check your declaration page or ask your insurance agent to verify your coverage.

But the deer hit me!

It is not uncommon for deer to run directly into the side of a moving vehicle. It really does not matter if you hit the deer or the deer hits you, the claim is handled the same. You will have to pay your deductible.

How long will it take to get my vehicle fixed?

That is a loaded question. Mid to late fall is the peak time for deer accidents and body shops can get buried in repairs. It is still reasonable to expect your repairs to be completed within two weeks. Often vehicles which are rendered undrive-able will be considered a high priority for repairs. Make sure you communicate well with your body shop and leave them the best phone number to reach you. Nothing delays a repair quite like miss communication.

Will a deer accident affect my car insurance rate?

Nowadays more and more insurance carriers are surcharging for comprehensive claims. However, some preferred insurance carriers still allow for comprehensive claims without changing your rate. I like to think of it like this. If you have had no car insurance claims for the last three years, and I mean none, do you think it is fair to pay the same rate as the guy who has hit two deer this year? It my guess the no claim person would expect to pay less. Nobody wants to pay more of course and like mentioned earlier, sometimes deer hit you. When you are shopping for a car insurance quote, ask if comprehensive claims raise rates.

Deer Vehicle Crash Tips

  • Do not swerve!
  • Be extra cautious at dusk and dawn
  • Insure all vehicles with comprehensive coverage