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.

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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.

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

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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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.

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Jun 14

Mini Torts and Limited Property Damage Claims

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

How much does limited property damage coverage cost?

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

Is limited property damage a required coverage?

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

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

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

What is considered a mini tort claim in Michigan?

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

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

      What do you need to file a mini tort claim?

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

      How does a mini tort claim affect insurance?

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

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

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

      More Michigan Car Insurance Coverage

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May 14

Do I Need Michigan Car Rental Insurance Coverage on My Vehicle?

Car rental insurance can refer to a couple of different types of insurance in the state of Michigan and it applies to all US states. One is the car rental coverage which you purchase on your vehicle, and two is car rental insurance you place on a rental car. Both are completely different types of coverage and both can be a little confusing. Find out if you should purchase car rental insurance on your vehicle.

Rental Insurance for Your Car

Who should purchase rental coverage? Rental coverage on your vehicle can be very convenient if you are in a severe accident. You should purchase the coverage if one or more of the following situations apply to you.

  • You only have one vehicle
  • You have a small or non-existent emergency fund

While your vehicle is not drive-able or in the shop for repairs, a rental car will be partially or fully covered depending on the coverage you selected. Rental coverage is purchased by how much your carrier will payout per day up to 30 days. For example, 30/900, $30 a day up to $900. It can be frustrating being without a vehicle after an accident. That frustration can compound quickly especially when the the accident was not your fault.

Rental coverage for your vehicle is a convenience coverage. Lots of people can coordinate schedules or seek help from family to get access to a loaner car while theirs is not drive-able, but it is inconvenient. Having car rental coverage on your vehicle will make your claim simple and certainly more tolerable.

Avoid car rental coverage if one or more of the following apply.

  • You have quick and easy access to an extra vehicle
  • You have an emergency fund available to cover the costs of a rental

I have seen it time and again where a couple owns and insures three vehicles, yet they carry car rental on all three. Last time I checked, you can only drive one vehicle at a time. Rental coverage on three vehicles for a two driver family is a total waste of money. Please use common sense when purchasing this coverage.

Common Misconceptions

Car rental coverage is only for when your vehicle has sustained a covered loss. It does not provide coverage if your car has maintenance problems and or mechanical failure. Yes, it would be nice, but it just doesn’t work like that. Car rental is only available if you have purchased both comprehensive and collision coverage.

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May 14

Michigan Collision Coverage

Michigan offers four different options for collision on car insurance. Each coverage has its own set of pros and cons to consider. Learn the basics of the four types of coverage and get even more details and examples by clicking on the coverage you want to learn more about.

Types of Michigan Collision Coverage

  • No Collision Coverage: In Michigan if you do not carry collision coverage of any kind, you will not be covered by your car insurance policy for physical damage to your vehicle from a collision. The most money you can receive from an at-fault driver’s car insurance policy is $1000 and you must know what vehicle caused the damage in order to file a claim.
  • Limited Collision Coverage: Limited collision provides coverage for collisions which are not your fault. Limited collision usually comes with a zero deductible.
  • Standard / Regular Collision Coverage: Standard collision provides coverage regardless of who is at-fault however a deductible will apply in both scenarios. You can recoup you deductible by filing a mini tort claim against the at-fault vehicle’s policy for up to $1000.
  • Broad Collision Coverage: Broad collision provides physical damage coverage for collisions regardless of who is at fault too. The key difference is if you are not at-fault no deductible applies. This comes in very handy when you do not know who caused the damage to your vehicle.

May 14

What is Broad Collision?

Broad collision is the best collision coverage offered in the state of Michigan. Broad collision is physical damage coverage for your vehicle. It provides coverage both for when you are at-fault and not at-fault in an accident.

How does it work?

Broad collision covers collisions with other vehicles and inanimate objects including pot holes. You cannot go after another person’s car insurance policy for the full damages to your vehicle when you are not at-fault in Michigan. Broad collision provides the protection you need. Fault only has a baring on whether or not you pay a deductible.

  • At-Fault Accident = Deductible
  • Not At-Fault Accident = No Deductible

Some insurance carriers may provide a zero deductible even when you are at-fault, but you will be paying a much higher rate for the coverage. Deductibles lower your cost of insurance because you are taking on some of the risk. The higher deductible you select the lower your overall cost of insurance.

Why is broad collision the best?

A great example of what makes broad collision the best is that if you are hit in a parking lot and do not know who caused the damage, you are covered with broad collision. Plus, since the damage was not your fault, your vehicle will be repaired with no deductible. Anytime someone else causes damage to your vehicle your broad collision coverage will cover the repairs at no cost to you.

Who should purchase broad collision?

Because broad collision provides the best protection, it also costs the most. Broad collision is the best option for many drivers. Consider purchasing broad collision if you have a loan on your vehicle, are worried about all the distracted drivers on the road, and or your vehicle still holds quite a bit of value higher than $6000. Broad collision is also a good option if it is difficult for you to save up an emergency fund to cover a deductible. It can be extremely frustrating to have to pay a deductible or worse all the repair costs when someone else caused the damages.

Mar 14

Is My Child Covered Under My Auto Insurance?

Children are great, but with all the joy they bring comes a large, heaping helping of worry. Big worries, small worries. Most work themselves out with a little bit of knowledge and effort. But one thing is certain: they just keep coming. One small worry that you are bound to run into when your child reaches driving age is the matter of auto insurance coverage. Suddenly, the questions start rolling around in your brain. Is my child automatically covered as a driver under my insurance? If not, when should I add him or her to the policy? What happens if he or she gets into an accident in the meantime?

Kids on Car InsuranceStarting to worry? Well, don’t because this is where a bit of knowledge comes in to save the day. One caveat before we get started, though. As with everything involving auto insurance (and children), things can get a little complicated. The information provided here is general in nature and it is important that you check both your state’s regulations and the specific language of your policy for any variations.

Learning to drive.

In most cases, a child with a learning permit does not have to be added to your policy. They will be automatically covered during the learner’s permit period. But you should always contact your insurer once the learner’s permit has been issued. There are several reasons for this. First, a few insurance carriers do require that you add your learning driver to your policy. Second, you need to know what specific rules must be followed by your teen while driving with a learner’s permit, such as whether or not a parent must be in the car at all times, or whether there are time-of-day restrictions. If your child is in an accident while driving under a learner’s permit, and the specific rules of your jurisdiction or policy were not being followed, you may have a big problem.

Getting that license.

Once your child has passed the driver’s exam and road test, and has that coveted full license in hand, you are going to have to bite the bullet and add them to your policy. This will, of course, mean an increase in your premium. But if your child is living under your roof and you intend the let them drive your car, you have no choice. There is one alternative, actually, and that is to have your child obtain their own separate policy. This will most likely require that he or she (or you) purchase their own vehicle, though, and the total cost of both policies will probably be higher than if you simply add them to your current one. One other thing. If your child heads off to college, you should be able to keep them on your policy as long as your home remains their permanent address.

You are bound to experience a little “sticker shock” when you find out how much more you will be paying on your premium by adding your child. You may even feel the urge to simply not tell your insurance company. Fight that urge. If your child has an accident and your insurer discovers you’ve been holding out, your damage claim will likely be rejected and your policy cancelled.

Out of the nest. Completely.

Once your son or daughter is done with college and has moved into their own place, it’s time to take them off of your auto insurance. More specifically, if they can no longer legitimately claim your home as their permanent address, they should no longer be named on your policy. Don’t fret, however. You may be sad to see them fly the nest, but you can console yourself with the money you’ll be saving on your monthly premium. And your child will still be covered under the “permissive use” clause of your policy when they come over to visit and borrow your car for a quick trip to the market.

Don’t forget that laws and policies vary, so if you have any questions about who are what is covered under your policy, contact your agent right away. This is one of those times you should let your insurance agent guide you to do what is best to protect both your family and your finances.

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Feb 14

Moving to Michigan Car Insurance 101

Michigan is a state that has a lot to offer. Whether you are moving to Michigan for a new job, to be closer to family, or to enjoy its outdoor recreation, it is very important to understand its car insurance laws. The biggest surprise you are in for when moving to the state is the cost of car insurance. When compared to other states in the US, you could possibly be looking at double the cost for the same liability coverage and physical damage coverage. The difference lies within the medical coverage.

Moving to MichiganMichigan is the only state to make unlimited medical coverage mandatory for all insured drivers and passengers. The coverage is usually itemized on Michigan policies as the MCCA Fee. It is an abbreviation for Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association. The cost of the MCCA Fee is often changing, but for now it is $186 per vehicle per year.

Learn more about the MCCA Fee:

Once you get past the high cost of Michigan’s medical coverage, you will also need to get used to its other no-fault laws. In Michigan, the no-fault laws extend to the physical damage of the vehicle. Meaning your policy covers you regardless of who is at-fault. There is no going after the at-fault driver for full compensation. In this state, the most you can get from an at-fault driver’s insurance policy is $1000, which we call a mini tort claim.

Find out more about mini tort claims and not-at-fault accidents:

So, let me explain a little bit more about how your policy will cover you in a collision. Michigan offers three types of collision coverage. Broad collision is the best and will cover your vehicle without a deductible as long as the accident is not your fault. A deductible will apply to an at-fault accident. Standard collision requires a deductible regardless of who is at-fault (read more about mini torts). And limited collision only provides coverage if you are not-at-fault, but no deductible is required.

More on collision coverage:

Don’t let the cost of Michigan car insurance get you down. Just think, if you ever are in a serious car accident, this is the best state to be in for help with medical expenses. Being able to rely on your own insurance company for repairs after a collision can also be a perk. This way you rarely have to deal with another person’s insurance company. You can choose the company that has the best claims service and know what to expect after a loss.

Help saving money on car insurance:

Jan 14

A Snow Plow Damaged My Car, Now What?

Snow plows hit the roads every winter in many states in the US. Sometimes those same snow plows also hit parked cars. The only time a auto claim can be filed against a snow plow is if the snow plow vehicle has physical contact with your vehicle. Damage from piled up snow will not be covered. So what do you do if a snow plow damages your car? It really depends on what information and proof you have regarding the accident.

File the claim on your insurance policy.

Especially in Michigan, filing the claim on your own insurance policy is the easiest way to go. You do need collision coverage in order to file the claim. Both broad and limited collision make is so you do not pay a deductible. Give your insurance carrier the details of the accident and if they have enough information, they can go after the at-fault party for the damages. If you have standard collision, the same process applies however you will have to pay your listed deductible. It is possible to get reimbursed for the deductible if your insurance carrier is able to go after the at-fault party.

Do you know what snow plow company or municipality caused the damage?

If you do not have collision coverage, you will need to try and file a property damage claim against the at-fault snow plow. Maybe the snow tracks clearly indicate a snow plow is to blame for the damage to your vehicle. However, if you do not know exactly who caused the damage, you will not be able to file a claim.

Contact the responsible snow company to file a claim. Search online for your city’s rules on snow plow damage. Most cities have forms you can fill out online to submit a claim. Then a representative will contact you to start the claim process.

Michigan City Claim Quick Links

Do you have any proof a snow plow damaged your car?

It really does not take much to prove a snow plow damaged your vehicle, yet it still can be hard to get. Take a look at what typically qualifies as proof.

  • Driver admits fault
  • Eye witness (you included)
  • Proof you were parked legally (photo/eye witness)

Do your best to protect your vehicle from snow plow damage. Especially during a major snowstorm, snow plow workers are overworked and driving heavy machinery. They may not even realize they caused damage to your vehicle. Always legally park your vehicle and follow your city’s rules. Look out for Snow State of Emergencies which prohibits road parking.

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