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Heard on Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson

Scrap Auto No-Fault? One Longtime Capitol Watcher Says ‘Slow Down’

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Image credit: Jake Neher/WDET

What would happen if we went back to the days before no-fault auto insurance?

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Jake Neher/WDET
Jake Neher/WDET

Michigan has some of the highest auto insurance rates in the country. It’s a huge problem here, especially in the city of Detroit. After years and years of failing to come up with a solution at the state Capitol, some lawmakers say the state should throw out the entire system.

New proposals in Lansing would get rid of Michigan’s auto no-fault system and put us back into a tort system, where insurance companies and lawyers duke it out to decide who’s at fault in auto accidents and who pays for what. Some of the proposals out there would even allow Michiganders not to carry auto insurance at all.

But one longtime state Capitol reporter says lawmakers need to “slow down.”

John Lindstrom, publisher of the Gongwer Capitol news service in Lansing, remembers the tort system Michigan had before no-fault. He says going back to the old system would mean bringing back a lot of old problems most lawmakers are either too young or too inexperienced to remember.

Lindstrom writes on the Gongwer blog

Haven’t I told you, I’m sure I have, about the time, about a year before no-fault became the law of this land, when my 1969 Olds Cutlass got rear-ended? No, I haven’t? I haven’t told you about how I was told get it fixed and the insurance will take care of me, which I did and had to pay for, and then waited while my insurance company tussled with the other guy’s insurance company over who was paying for what, and whose fault it was, and I waited, and waited, and waited some more before finally getting a settlement that didn’t completely cover the repair? Well, you’ve been told now.”

To hear Lindstrom’s thoughts about our state’s form of auto insurance, click on the audio player above.


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