Can You Change Your Car Insurance Coverage At Any Time – When is the next time you looked at your car insurance policy? Could you explain what each coverage item means?
If your answer is, it’s time, or I don’t like the quiz, you’re in good company. Car insurance is one of the most complicated products you can buy.
Can You Change Your Car Insurance Coverage At Any Time
But it’s more important than ever to understand your coverage. Michigan’s 2019 no-fault auto has created major hazards for drivers and passengers.
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Image from Michigan’s Department of Insurance and Financial Services This is where to see the ACINUS on your insurance form. Click to enlarge.
All drivers in Michigan used to have unlimited medical coverage on their accounts to pay for their own or passenger’s medical care after the car accident. That coverage under PIN (personal injury protection) is part of your policy. The law now allows people to choose limited medical coverage rather than unlimited coverage. Most people can choose as little as $250,000 in coverage. People can opt out of Medicaid for as little as $50,000, and people with Medicare can opt out entirely.
However, we have consulted experts who are of the same opinion in the advice of people to stick with the unlimited medicinal ACINUS in their plans. Wayne State University law professor Wayne Miller said the cost of hospital and post-hospital care for a serious accident can easily exceed $250,000, and in worst-case scenarios, can run into the millions of dollars. Miller said skipping the AC coverage is “an ostrich approach to the insurance business. You know, ‘This will never happen to me.’ And of course, it’s not statistically likely that a terrible, costly, life-changing accident will happen to you. There are millions of drivers in the state of Michigan, and thousands of people are injured this way. Instead, you buy insurance to protect yourself from the worst case scenario. That’s what it is.”
Michigan’s old no-fault law used to require car insurance companies to pay a reasonable rate for medically necessary care for auto injuries, including the most serious, long-term injuries. The 2019 auto no-fault helmets law has put safety helmets in place. Brain and spinal cord injury rehabilitation centers, and institutions that provide home care, can only charge 55% of what they used to charge for the care of car victims. For the great majority of these institutions, the cost of providing care is so much less. As a result, many businesses have either gone out of business or stopped taking auto patients.
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So, even though our experts still urge people to keep SEMIN unlimited, it’s not the same coverage as before. In many cases, people who have been catastrophically injured are no longer able to obtain professional care at home, or extensive rehabilitation services at a specialty residential clinic.
Brandi Marsh is often the sole caregiver for her five-year-old quadriplegic daughter, who read through the 2019 no-fault auto accident. “His life is in my hands,” he says, fearing his exhaustion will cause him to make a life-threatening mistake.
The law also capped the number of hours that family members can be paid to care for the seriously injured at home. Families are limited to a total of 56 hours a week and will have to seek agency for the rest if they need 24/7 intensive care. Many were unable to obtain agency work after the law was changed.
Here’s another “worst-case” scenario that our experts say people—especially people with significant assets—must consider: What happens if you don’t have a physical injury that’s physically disabling enough? That is the part of your plan that gives you the injuries you did to the other person in the crash. Lansing personal injury attorney Steve Sinas said that since everyone has unlimited medical coverage, there is usually no need to sue the other driver to get the care they need. Now, if they are harmed by someone in their significant goods, much more is demanded of them.
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“Let’s say a child is playing in the street and you’re driving home, and maybe you’re rich and you look down at your cell because you get a text message or something like that, and you don’t see that child and that. You’re going to catastrophically hurt that child and they need care for the rest of their lives,” Sinas said. “And they say their parents bought $50,000 of medical coverage because they’re on Medicaid, or the $250,000 limit. That kid just needs to cover those ends. So now they have to file a claim for medical expenses. Because of this, we now have to pay more on the other side of the equation, which is subject to more serious insurance.
China’s affluent people should consider purchasing “umbrella” policies, he said. An umbrella policy provides extra money, sometimes several million dollars, to cover the medical expenses of someone injured, on top of the coverage from your car insurance policy.
He also said that regardless of your financial situation, if you can, you should carry uninsured/underinsured coverage. It’s not what you’re entitled to, but it adds benefits that can be claimed if you’re injured by someone who drives without insurance, or is driven with low limits.
The short answer is, on average, no. Four years after the passage of the no-fault law, Michigan is once again the most expensive state in the nation for car insurance, according to the consumer website, ValuePenguin.
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Doug Heller, director of insurance for the Consumer Federation of America, said the law offered the illusion of savings by requiring insurance companies to cover the cost of personal injury protection, but not other parts of your policy.
“So the savings were largely consumed by changing the ACIN premium to other coverages,” Heller said. “Insurance companies are free to increase other parts of your premium, and one place where you can see bodily injury is disability. It comes out of a different pocket, but it’s the same pair of pants.
On July 1, 2023, your insurance company must add a fee of $48 to the Michigan Catastrophic Association for evaluating the declarations in your policy. Even if you do not have unlimited life medical coverage on your account, which is what the MCCA covers, you will have to pay this extra fee. You can find out more about this fee here.
Doug Heller said that if Michigan lawmakers really want to lower car insurance costs, and also make them fairer, they should give the Department of Insurance and Financial Services the authority to regulate insurance profits, the same way the Michigan State Commission benefits the company. And he said the state has the ability to limit the ability of insurance companies to charge people more for not driving because of factors such as where they live or if they don’t have the best credit score.
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Wayne State professor Wayne Miller said that rather than lowering coverage limits, make a few calls to other insurance companies and see what they’d charge you for the same coverage you currently have.
The number one decision is to make a shop, Miller said. “It’s really surprising the difference between and among insurance companies for the same coverage, for the exact same demographic group.”
It is also good to remember that while you may feel your loyalty to the insurance company, the insurance company may not feel the same way about you when it comes to selling rates.
Doug Heller said it’s not uncommon for insurance companies to track your overall buying behavior for “loyalty” marketing, and you’re more likely to stick with the same companies every year instead of shopping around.
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Wayne Miller said the second way to save money on car insurance is to think about dropping collision and comprehensive coverage if your car is more than five years old and you have a safe driving record.
“No matter how well you maintain your vehicle, it’s a detracting thing,” Miller said. “And the cost of insurance is not going down very much. So if you really want to save money, consider getting your collision and comprehensive coverage on older vehicles.”
Finally, you can call the health insurance company and see if you can be the first in line for the accident, to designate the hospital insurance. This can sometimes lower car insurance costs a little – but be sure to check with your health insurance company before making any changes to your insurance plan.
To explain other aspects of your insurance policy, see the state coverage guide here.
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Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Radio. He began his career as an intern at Michigan Radio, where he soon “hit the radio bug” and never recovered. Partner content: This content was created and researched by a Dow Jones business partner and is written without notice. The links in this article can be found in our earning commission. Learn more
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