The price of auto insurance has been a major debate in Michigan over the last couple of years. And while cost is important, a cheaper policy often means insufficient coverage in the event of a car crash. Bryan Waldman, whose practice specializes in handling Michigan auto accidents, recently appeared on WLNS 6 “Legal Edge” to offer a few tips for buying auto insurance. The first step to buying your auto insurance is understanding the different coverages – both mandatory and optional.
Mandatory Auto Insurance Coverages in Michigan
First, it’s important to understand that if you own a vehicle, Michigan law requires you to carry a no-fault auto insurance policy. In fact, uninsured drivers involved in an auto accident are denied all Michigan auto no-fault benefits, are barred from bringing suit against the driver who caused the accident for pain and suffering as well as excess economic losses, and can’t pursue any vehicle damages. Driving uninsured is a major gamble, that, in the long-run, could financially ruin a person.
Michigan law also requires drivers to purchase liability coverage. This coverage provides protection if someone pursues a claim against you for causing an accident which ultimately led to their injuries or harm. You can choose different levels of liability insurance coverage, and Michigan law only requires a minimum of $20,000. However, as you can imagine, you can cause considerably more damage than $20,000 will cover. As auto accident attorneys, we see different policies and outcomes after car crashes every single day. The one thing we recommend to everyone is purchasing as much liability coverage as you can afford.
Optional Car Insurance Coverages
Collision and comprehensive coverages are optional. These coverages pay to replace or repair your vehicle in the event of a collision. People often run into trouble when they take a loan out for a vehicle above what it’s worth. However, the insurance provider only offers coverage up to its value. So, for instance, John bought a new truck from the car dealership for $30,000, but it’s only valued at $20,000. When John is in an accident and totals his new truck, he turns to his collision coverage, which only insured the vehicle up to its value of $20,000. That means John is out the difference of $10,000. When purchasing a vehicle, make sure you are paying for its value so the insurance coverage available matches.
Underinsured and uninsured motorist coverages are also optional, however, we strongly recommend purchasing these coverages. Underinsured/uninsured coverages insure you against drivers who don’t act responsibly and fail to carry insurance on their own vehicle. With underinsured and uninsured coverages, instead of pursuing a claim against someone without insurance, you’d file a claim against your own underinsured/uninsured motorist policy.
The attorneys at Sinas Dramis Law Firm have compiled a complete “Buyer’s Guide” which dives even deeper into mandatory auto insurance coverages in Michigan and optional car insurance coverages beyond the scope of this brief overview. It’s freely available here.
If you’ve been in a car accident and are having trouble with payment of your auto insurance benefits, you might need the assistance of a skilled personal injury litigator. Call us at 866.758.0031 or contact us online to see if we can help you!