Prepare to Vote: Auto Insurance and the Candidates for Michigan Governor [VIDEO, TRANSCRIPTS]


When WDET asked you what you wanted to know from the governor’s candidates, Debby and Ray sent us questions about auto insurance.
Is auto insurance YOUR issue too?  Does what the candidates say they’d do about lowering auto insurance rates help determine your vote in the August primary and November general elections?
WDET and our partners in the Detroit Journalism Cooperative recently interviewed most of the Republican and Democratic candidates for governor of Michigan. The reporters asked Debby’s and Ray’s questions about auto insurance.
Scroll down for videos and transcripts

Other WDET Auto Insurance Conversations:

CuriosiD: Why is Detroit Auto Insurance SO Expensive?
Why Are Your Auto Insurance Rates So High?
Scrap Auto No-Fault? One Longtime Capitol Watcher Says ‘Slow Down’

The DJC reporters asked about plans for lowering auto insurance rates in Michigan. Here’s how the candidates answered:


Republican Candidates

Brian Calley


Brian Calley said he would like to fight fraud in the system and bring transparency to how insurance rates are calculated. “Start out with two major starting initiatives: First is a real fraud authority. Staff it up and give it teeth. Make it a deterrent, whether it is over-utilization or inappropriate billing. They are the things that will make the biggest difference in the areas where the rates are the highest. I would start there. Then also apply transparency to the system.”

Read Calley’s Full Answer

Patrick Colbeck


Patrick Colbeck said ideological debates are stalling reform. “The reason we haven’t gotten any movement off dead center in the legislature is because it devolves into a debate between folks who want lower costs, which I’m definitely in that category, and folks that want a lifetime benefit,” he said. “I believe we should meet both of those requirements, and to date, it’s always been seen as one or the other.” 

Read Colbeck’s Full Answer

Jim Hines


Jim Hines said medical fees contribute to the high insurance rates and he would fight fraud and improve transparency in medical fees. ”I would suggest that we have only two components. One is a fraud agency to get rid of the fraud in the system, and the second is a fee schedule, a fee schedule that’s transparent. For example, Riley, if you have an accident and you need an x-ray of your arm, it’s going to cost $65. If you’re in an auto accident and you have the same exact x-ray, it’s over $600. What’s the deal?”

Read Hines’s Full Answer

Bill Schuette

Bill Schuette declined the Detroit Journalism Cooperative’s numerous requests to participate in this project, citing scheduling conflicts for the several days offered for taping. Click HERE to learn more about him and WDET’s coverage of his campaign. 

Democratic Candidates

Abdul El-Sayed


Abdul El-Sayed said that part of his four-part proposal would be to simplify how insurance rates are calculated. “Right now, we allow auto insurers to make decisions about what your rates are based on what job you work, what your education level is, your credit score and where you live. That doesn’t make sense to me. The only thing they should be able to pay attention to is your driving record and whether or not you’re over the age of 25.”

Read El-Sayed’s Full Answer

Shri Thanedar


Shri Thanedar said he would change the way rates are calculated to improve equity. “The zip code that you live, your economic or marital status, your education, your credit score, none of that should be a factor in deciding your car insurance,” he said.

Read Thanedar’s Full Answer

Gretchen Whitmer


Gretchen Whitmer said she would like to hold insurance companies accountable for increases in rates. “We’ve also got to make sure that we’ve got an insurance commissioner who is a consumer protection advocate. It would be nice if we had an attorney general who was as well. The insurance commissioner is appointed by the governor, and so that’s one thing that I know unilaterally we can help a bit. But we’re going to need some legislation.” 

Read Whitmer’s Full Answer

Other Issues

Find out what the 2018 Michigan gubernatorial candidates think about transit, education, marijuana and redistricting.


Image credit: Detroit Journalism Cooperative

This post is a part of Detroit Journalism Cooperative.

The DJC is a partnership of six media outlets focused on telling critical stories of Detroit and creating engagement opportunities on-air, online and in the community. View the partners work at

Support for this project comes from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Renaissance Journalism’s Michigan Reporting Initiative and the Ford Foundation.



This post is a part of 2018 Elections in Michigan.

On November 6, Michigan voters will decide who will be the state's new governor, attorney general and secretary of state. Some state House and Senate seats are up for grabs, and numerous initiatives are expected on ballots.

WDET is committed to providing honest, fair, inclusive coverage of Michigan's 2018 elections. Join us now and all the way to the voting booth to be an informed voter.


About the Author

Sandra Svoboda

Special Assignments Manager

Recovering Bankruptcy Reporter/Blogger looking forward to chronicling regional revitalization on-air, digitally and through community engagement.   Follow @WDETSandra

John Forrest

Associate Producer

When not fixing cars or lasers, John enjoys working at WDET as a StoryCorp intern.

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