Is This the Year Michigan Will See Big Changes to Its Auto Insurance System?

Will we get affordable car insurance rates in Michigan? And what would it mean for people who get hurt in car crashes?

Michigan State Capitol building on a sunny day

Laura Weber Davis/WDET

Year after year, state lawmakers try their hands at overhauling Michigan’s auto insurance laws.

Every year, lawmakers talk about how Michigan has the highest auto insurance rates in the country and that something needs to be done.

There’s a new proposal every legislative session. And every single time, those plans blow up or fizzle out.

But Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and state House Speaker Tom Leonard (R-DeWitt) hope this year will be different.

Click here to read more about Duggan and Leonard’s proposal to overhaul auto insurance in Michigan

Yesterday, the Democratic mayor and the Republican speaker announced a bipartisan plan that would guarantee some really significant rate reductions over the next five years. It would allow people to choose from different levels of coverage instead of being forced to buy a plan that includes unlimited benefits if you’re catastrophically injured in a car crash.

Is this the year Michigan’s unique auto no-fault system sees big changes? Will we finally get affordable car insurance rates in Michigan? And what would it mean for people who get really hurt in car accidents?

A reporter covering the story, an official in Mayor Duggan’s office, and someone who opposes this proposal join Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson to talk about the latest proposal to reduce auto insurance rates in Michigan.

“I’m told that Speaker Leonard needs to get this out of the house in the next two-and-a-half weeks,” says Crain’s Detroit Business reporter Chad Livengood, who has covered attempts to overhaul Michigan’s no-fault system for years. “If they can’t get this moving, then it’s not going to have a chance.”

Melvin “Butch” Hollowell, corporation counsel for the City of Detroit, says this is the best proposal on the table to reduce rates.

“It brings Michigan in line with the rest of the country and gives consumers a choice,” says Hollowell, who points out that Michigan is the only state in the country that requires drivers to buy unlimited coverage in the case of a catastrophic car accident.

But not everyone is happy about the proposal. Tom Constand is president of the Brain Injury Association of Michigan and a board member of the Coalition Protecting Auto No-Fault (CPAN) which opposes the current proposal from Mayor Duggan and Speaker Leonard.

Costand says the proposal puts at risk people who get in a catastrophic car wreck that results in them needing lifetime medical care.

“This new proposal puts that person in a living hell,” he says. “It’s the capping of the care that will harm Michigan’s most severely injured people. No one gets to choose how severely injured they become.”

Click on the audio player above to hear the full conversation.


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    Dynamic and diverse voices. News, politics, community and the issues that define our region. Hosted by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Stephen Henderson, Detroit Today brings you fresh and perceptive views weekdays at 9 am and 7 pm.