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

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

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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Jun 14

How to Get a Low Car Insurance Down Payment

Car insurance costs can be expensive, especially in the state of Michigan. Lots of people choose to pay monthly on their car insurance to make it fit into their budget. Sometimes when you are getting quotes for car insurance the initial down payment can be a real shocker. Some insurance carriers want payment in full for six months, some want two months down, and some will offer one month down, it really depends on the insurance carrier, your method of payment, and your prior insurance history.

So how do you get the lowest car insurance down payment possible?

Payment Method: The most common way to get the lowest down payment is to select automatic withdraw as your payment method. It is also referred to as electronic funds transfer or EFT. This is where the insurance carrier pulls your monthly payment directly out of your checking or savings account. EFT payments have more benefits than a low down payment. It also allows you to avoid payment fees and late fees.

Prior Insurance: Whether or not you have had insurance for the past six continuous months at the time you purchase a new insurance policy can affect your down payment. If you have had a lapse of coverage, it is going to be difficult to find a one month down payment car insurance policy. Always do whatever you can to keep an active insurance policy in place.

Get more helpful tips on reducing your overall car insurance costs. A lot of factors go into determining your car insurance rate. Lowering your overall insurance costs will also lower your down payment. Check out: “The Ultimate Guide to the Cheapest Car Insurance”.

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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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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Dec 13

The 10 Commandments of Car Insurance

Follow the 10 commandments of car insurance in order to save money and obtain the best coverage.

  1. Be Honest: Honesty is the best policy when it comes to car insurance. Trying to save money by omitting information or twisting the details of an accident when filing a claim is considered insurance fraud. Being dishonest could result in your insurance claim being denied, or you could even face prosecution.
  2. Know and Understand the Coverage: You cannot properly purchase and use a car insurance policy you do not understand. Do a little research before selecting the coverage for your vehicle. Lots of different coverage is available. Learn what each coverage protects against.
  3. Determine the Right Deductible: Deductibles can be tricky. You want to select a deductible which is low enough to be affordable at the time of a claim, but high enough to reduce the overall cost of insurance. Keep your emergency fund in mind when selecting your deductible. It can be very frustrating to sustain damage to your vehicle and not be able to get it repaired because you cannot afford your deductible. Deductibles are on the rise for many drivers to make car insurance a little more affordable.
  4. Purchase Only the Coverage You Need: Do not over insure your car. Know your car’s value by checking Kelly Blue Book. The cost of comprehensive and collision should not be a major portion of the value of your vehicle. Remember you have a deductible too. Give some consideration to extra insurance coverage like roadside assistance and car rental. Try to determine if the cost is worth the risk. Look for alternatives like borrowing a friend’s car.
  5. Check Your Discounts: It never hurts to double check your discounts. It is possible to qualify for new discounts during your policy period. For instance, if you purchase a home and insure it through your car insurance carrier your car insurance and home insurance are most likely eligible for a multi-policy discount. Discounts can be added at anytime.
  6. Maintain a Good Credit Score: A good credit score is becoming more and more important in the insurance world. The difference in premium can be shocking when comparing the insurance rate of a person with bad credit verse one with bad credit. Insurance carriers have statistical data which shows people with bad credit are more likely to file a claim. Whether you agree or not, as of right now credit is a car insurance factor in most states. As your credit improves, your car insurance rate should improve. Changes will only be reflected when your insurance policy renews.
  7. Know Your Agent: Getting to know your insurance agent can prove to be very beneficial. The better your insurance agent knows you and your family’s needs, the better he or she will be able to guide you to the best insurance policy. Your insurance agent will be more likely to work harder for you if he or she knows your story.
  8. Pay On Time: Expect to pay late fees anytime you pay your car insurance late. Some insurance carriers offer one to three days as a grace period with no fee, but anything beyond that and the fee could range from $5 to $15. For many people, it is very difficult to catch up once a late payment is made. Paying the late fee month after month gets very expensive. Paying on time could save you over one hundred dollars a year in fees.
  9. Never Let Your Policy Lapse: A lapse in car insurance can be very expensive. Get into a car accident while your policy is lapsed and you could be looking at serious financial consequences. If you are at fault you could be held liable, and if you are not at fault you could still be facing some serious fines for driving without insurance. Beyond liability and fines you will also pay more for insurance when you go to purchase it again. If at all possible, never let your car insurance policy lapse.
  10. Review Your Policy: It can definitely help to give your car insurance policy a once over. Maybe you need to refresh your memory as to what coverage you have selected. Maybe you want to see what discounts are on your policy. Maybe you are curious when your speeding ticket falls off. All of these issues can be settled by reviewing your policy. Taking a quick look could save you money and possibly confusion at the time of a claim.

    1. Tips for Saving on Car Insurance

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Dec 13

At What Age Does Car Insurance Go Down?

A lot of factors go into determining your car insurance rate. One of those factors is age. If you are a young driver, you may be wondering when you are going to see some relief and have your car insurance go down. The good news is there is a cutoff age car insurance rates adjust.

Age Groupings:

Every insurance carrier has its own age groupings. Some use smaller groupings and adjust rates more frequently, while others use larger age brackets. Even with all the different brackets available, one age still stands to be the best for a reduction in premium. 25.

Why 25?

Twenty-five is the age statistical data shows a decrease in likelihood of a claim being filed. Let’s face it, 16 to 18 is certainly a shaky at best time for most drivers. It takes years of driving to gain the experience needed to become a defensive driver. 19 to 24 is a time of growth and for many includes college and possibly minimal driving.

How much will your rate go down?

Unfortunately, I cannot give an exact dollar amount for how much your rate will decrease. It just varies too much per insurance carrier and it can vary per person too because rates are highly individualized. If you have never seen a decrease in the past, you could be looking at a sizable change. It is possible to get an idea about how much your insurance rate will change by calling your insurance agent. Ask your agent if a new quote can be run with your age being listed as 25.

I turned 25 and my rate did not go down.

A couple of different things could be going on here. One, rates do not change until policy renewals. Your rate will not change on your birthday. You can either wait for your renewal or start a new car insurance policy to get the decrease faster. Or two, some other factor has actually increased your rate. A traffic violation, at-fault accident, or overall insurance carrier rate increase has eaten up your rate decrease. On the bright side, your rate increase would have been even larger had it not been for hitting the premium lowering age of twenty-five.

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Dec 13

Michigan Insurance Quote Scorecard

Michigan Insurance Quote Scorecard

Have you ever gotten several insurance quotes and still felt undecided about which one was the best? I created this Michigan insurance quote scorecard to help with just this situation. Right click the scorecard and select print. Print a copy for each insurance company you plan to get a quote from.

Using a scorecard will walk you through important considerations to make when talking to a prospective insurance agents. It will also give you something to review later on once you have received all of your quotes. I gave the price category more stars because price is usually the most weighted factor in selecting an insurance provider.

Hopefully this scorecard will help keep you organized and informed when it comes to selecting the best insurance quote. If you are particularly impressed or deeply dissatisfied with a particular quote, you could even mail the scorecard to the agency to let them know how you rated them. Insurance is an important part of your financial life. Making a good choice as to which insurance company insures you could make a big impact on your financial future.

Sep 13

What Do I Need to Get Car Insurance?

Knowing what you need to get car insurance is a good start to purchasing a policy. Getting car insurance is not all that difficult if you do a little planning in advance. Get your insurance information in order before you start making calls for insurance quotes. The more organized you are, the less hassle getting car insurance will be.

Licensed drivers are required for car insurance. Normally, the vehicle owner is also one of the drivers. Some insurance carriers will allow a person to insure a vehicle they do not own. It really depends on the insurance carrier. Preferred insurance carriers typically require the person who insures a vehicle to own it.

Start with all drivers’ basic information:

  • Name
  • Birth Date
  • Address
  • Driver’s License Number
  • Driving Record

Know your vehicle. Get the information before contacting an insurance agent for a quote. Do not be that person who refers to their vehicle as a red car. Find your vehicle info on your title if you are unsure of the details.

Know the basic information about the vehicles you want to insure:

  • Year
  • Make
  • Model
  • VIN for accuracy (optional)

If you have prior car insurance you will need to know a little about your current policy.

Prior insurance information:

  • Limits of Liability
  • Effective Dates

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Aug 13

What if I Do Not Have Collision Coverage in Michigan?

Going without collision coverage in Michigan can be risky business. Michigan no-fault laws make it so your own policy covers you. Meaning you cannot get full reimbursement from the at-fault driver’s policy in a collision. Michigan does however have what is called a limited property damage or mini tort claim.

Technically the coverage on your car insurance policy is called limited property damage. And to access someone’s limited property damage coverage you would file what is called a mini tort claim. Recently Michigan lawmakers increased the limited property damage coverage up to $1000.

Example: James was rear-ended at a stop sign. He does not have collision coverage on his auto insurance policy. His policy will not provide coverage to repair his vehicle. James does however know who rear-ended him and a police report was filed. James can now file a mini tort claim against the at-fault vehicle’s auto policy. Since James’ damage exceeds $1000 he is eligible to receive $1000 from the at-fault vehicle’s limited property damage coverage.

James is lucky. He would be out of luck had his accident been a hit and run. He would not be able to collect from his own policy and without knowing who hit him, he would not be able to file a mini tort claim. This is the biggest pit fall when it comes to going without collision coverage in Michigan. You could be left empty handed or short changed when another driver causes you to be in a collision.

What you need to file a mini tort claim in Michigan:

  • Contact info of the at-fault party and their auto insurance company. Sometimes this is provided on the police report.
  • A police report/and or the at-fault party admitting fault
  • An estimate from a body shop showing the cost of repairs
  • A copy of your declaration page showing you do not have collision or have standard collision with a deductible

Coordinate with the at-fault vehicle’s insurance company to make sure the claim is filed and the documentation is received. If you need help, ask your insurance agent. You do not need a lawyer to file a mini tort claim. It should be a fairly simple process so long as you have the proper paperwork.

Check out the different types of collision coverage in Michigan to make sure you select the right coverage for you and your family.

Further Reading

  • How to Compare Insurance Quotes
  • Online Car Insurance Tips
  • The Ultimate Guide to Cheap Car Insurance