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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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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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.


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.

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Apr 14

Will My Home Insurance Cover Lightning Strike or Power Surge?

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

The Quick Answer

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

How Does a Lightning Claim Work?

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

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

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

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Jan 14

Help! High Winds Damaged My Home

High winds can cause serious damage to your home almost anytime of the year. Siding can be ripped off, shingles can be blown away in large chunks, and lawn chairs and fencing can get tossed. Luckily, most home insurance policies cover a loss due to high winds, straight line winds, and tornadoes. How much coverage you have depends on how you have your home policy set up.

After the Storm

Once you know damage has occurred, it is important to remember to always protect your home from further damage. If shingles are missing, throw a tarp over the exposed area. Same with siding damage, try your best to protect the exposed area from water damage due to rain.

Call your insurance company as soon as possible. I always recommend to start with contacting your agent. Your insurance agent will be able to give you helpful advice on the claims process and possibly direct you to a good siding and roofing expert. If the damage is severe and it is after hours, contact your insurance carrier directly using your company’s 800 number. It is typically advised to have a claims adjuster out to look at the damage before making any repairs. If that is not possible, be sure to take photos and save all receipts.

Replacement Cost Coverage

Most all preferred home insurance policies have a replacement cost option for the structure. In case of a total loss, insurance companies usually cap replacement cost at 125% or 150% of the insured value to cover the cost of a rebuild. Typically a high wind is not going to cause a total loss, so you would get your home repaired like, kind, and quality minus your deductible. Michigan home insurance policies usually come with a flat rate deductible in increments of $250. $500, $1000, and $1500 are all common deductibles seen on home insurance policies.

Repair Cost Coverage

Without replacement cost coverage, you are looking at substantially less coverage. Depreciation will be factored into your claim payout. For instance, if your roof is ten years old, that will be factored into calculating the payout. Replacing your roof might cost $6000, but your coverage might only cover $3500.

Home owner policies are most often sold with replacement cost coverage. It is important to understand the coverage you are purchasing. Always ask your insurance agent whether your policy has replacement cost coverage on both the structure and contents of the home.

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Jan 14

Brace Yourself Michigan, Brutal Frigid Weather Is Here

This morning temperatures are averaging -10 and lower. Tow companies are making big money this New Year with dead batteries, cars sliding on snow, and other weather related requests for help. AAA spokeswomen stated over 500 calls came in before noon on Thursday and 3000 calls were received on New Years Day in Michigan.

Before you head out, check your car insurance policy to verify your roadside assistance coverage. Even if it is to early to call your insurance agent, look for your insurance carrier’s customer service phone number. Nearly all companies offer 24/7 customer service hours. It won’t do you much good if you wait until after you get stuck on the side of the road. Other places to look for roadside assistance coverage includes your credit card and cell phone carrier.

Stay safe and stay warm!

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Dec 13

5 Reasons to Shovel Your Sidewalk

The snow is coming down hard right now here in the state of Michigan and lots of its surrounding states. It is estimated 110 million Americans are being affected by this winter snow storm. A big part of dealing with winter storms is snow removal. It is important to not forget about your sidewalk when clearing your driveway. Take a look at 5 reasons to get you motivated as you head out to shovel.

  1. Slip and Fall Liability: That is right, as a homeowner you are liable for anyone who slips and falls on your property even if it is on the sidewalk. Some sidewalks have heavier traffic than others. Regardless of how much traffic your sidewalk gets, just one slip and fall can be a huge home owner’s insurance claim. Depending on how severe the injuries are, you could be looking at your full liability limit. Keep your sidewalk clear of snow and spread salt and or sand to prevent ice related slip and falls.

    A liability claim typically does not require a deductible. However, it will affect your future insurance rates. Liability claims against a home owner’s policy are serious. Some preferred insurance companies may not accept your risk when shopping for insurance if they see a liability claim listed in your recent claim history.

  2. Possible City Fines: Cities need their sidewalks cleared not only for public safety, but for economic reasons too. In large cities, foot traffic is crucial for people to get to and from different businesses. Most cities enforce strict fines for failure to remove snow. Shoveling snow into the roadways or in front of mailboxes and fire hydrants is also cause for fines.

    Tickets for not shoveling your sidewalk are often complaint driven. Look up your city’s sidewalk snow shoveling laws online, know your community, and know what to expect. The extra expense of a fine might be the last thing you want to deal with especially around the holidays.

  3. Make Your Home Appear Occupied: Leaving your driveway and sidewalks covered in snow is a giveaway for thieves of a vacant home. Make arrangements for snow removal even when you are on vacation.
  4. Exercise: Winter time is frequently a time of weight gain for many people. Shoveling a sidewalk can be a great way to burn some of those holiday cookies off. Shoveling snow should be proceeded with caution. Make certain you are up for the task before heading out.
  5. Courtesy: It really is just common courtesy to shovel your sidewalk. Don’t be the house forcing a person in a wheel chair to get out in the street. Have pride in your community and neighborhood by protecting it against treacherous walkways.

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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.

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Nov 13

Michigan Holiday Roadway Warning

It is that time again when lots and lots of Michigan residents hit the roadways to visit friends and family for the holidays. Lots of drivers combined with frigid temperatures make the roadways a difficult place to maneuver. Add in a few adult beverages and you are really looking for trouble. Remember the holidays are a time for celebration, not a time to deal with a major potentially life threatening car accident.

According to Thanksgiving fatalities average approximately 19 over the four day holiday weekend. In 2012 there were 9 Michigan fatalities due to car accidents. The stats show over the last 5 years the number of deaths have not exceeded 11 people. Hopefully, we will stay in a downward trend for deadly accidents this holiday season. Anymore than zero is one too many.

Both Christmas and New Year’s average 13 fatalities per year over the holiday season. In 2012 Christmas had 9 fatalities and New Years had 15. Please be aware of your surroundings and take your time traveling. Follow the rules of the road, they are in place for a reason. The holidays are a time to reflect on what we are thankful for and celebrate with family. Have a very happy and safe holiday season.

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Oct 13

Snow Made Me Slide Into Another Car

Snow in Michigan is a given every winter. Sliding into another car because of the snow can happen fairly easily if you are not careful. If you were to slide into another car how would it impact your car insurance?

Who is At-Fault?

Even though the snow was a factor in the collision, you are still considered to be at-fault. Sliding into any object whether it is a guard rail, a mailbox, or another car, insurance companies consider it to be at-fault. Really there is no way out of it. Even if a ticket is not issued by a police officer, the out of control vehicle is at-fault. You are responsible for your vehicle at all times. Speed is often a factor in snow related accidents. You have control over your speed. If you truly feel it was completely the snow’s fault, you probably should not have been out driving on the road to begin with. It may not seem fair, but someone has to be at fault in every accident.

Does a Deductible Apply?

Snow Covered RoadAll at-fault accidents come with a deductible in Michigan. A collision deductible only applies if your vehicle needs repairs. The deductible is the amount you are required to pay in order to have your vehicle repaired and the insurance company pays the rest. A medical deductible may apply depending on how your medical coverage is setup and if you sustained injury. The most common deductible on collision is $500. Deductibles can vary though depending on how you initially set up your policy. Image: Dan /

Will My Insurance Go Up?

If a claim is filed, yes the at-fault driver will more than likely see an accident surcharge on their next renewal policy. It is common for accident surcharges to stay on your insurance record for three years, although it can vary per insurance carrier. It is pretty hard to say how much your insurance will go up. It can vary depending on your insurance carrier and prior record. The amount of the increase can also be affected by your age and the vehicles you insure.

What Happens to the Other Driver and Vehicle?

Since Michigan is a true no-fault state, the other driver’s insurance policy will cover the damage to their vehicle as long as they have collision coverage. If they do not carry collision, the most they can get from your policy is $1000 under the limited property damage coverage. All of their medical expenses will be paid by their car insurance policy. Depending on the severity of the accident, some potential does exist for them to try to collect for pain and suffering. However, in Michigan the odds of that happening are fairly slim when compared to other states.

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