Duggan and others urge drivers to take advantage of insurance amnesty

Detroit – Mayor Mike Duggan joined state and community leaders on Tuesday in urging residents of Detroit and all residents of Michigan to purchase auto insurance before the next amnesty expires, when rates should increase.

One aspect of Michigan’s historic no-fault auto reform legislation that came into effect in July 2020 was to grant an amnesty to previously uninsured drivers; which means they could get insurance without penalty or increase in premiums.

The 18-month amnesty period expires on January 1, 2022.

Uninsured drivers have until Dec. 31 to obtain coverage before facing higher rates and penalties in the event of an accident.

More than 100,000 people who were previously uninsured have obtained coverage in the past two years, Duggan said.

“The main reason for the passage of this legislation was for people with moderate to low incomes who drove without insurance and were in danger every day,” Duggan said at a press conference at the public safety headquarters in Detroit. “If you haven’t purchased auto insurance for a while, you may be at a higher risk and when you go to buy it, the insurance company may charge you a higher rate than other drivers. . “

“If you get it by December 31, there’s a good chance your rate will be lower than if you wait,” he added.

Anita Fox, director of the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services, said it’s important for everyone across the state to get insurance because it protects residents.

“The last thing you want to do is have an accident and have no medical coverage for your family,” she said. “If you wait and have an accident, you could be putting your family, finances and health at risk because you are not covered.”

Of the 100,000 new drivers, 60,000 had not been insured for three years or more, Fox said.

“Michigan had the greatest advantages in the country, but with that we also had the highest costs and with the highest costs we had a disproportionate number of uninsured drivers putting us all at risk,” Fox said. . “Do it today. Contact an insurance agent, contact a business, go online, or call if you need help clearing your way at 833-ASK-DIFS.”

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed legislation in 2019 to end the state’s unique requirement that motorists purchase policies that guarantee uncapped lifetime medical benefits for catastrophic injuries in an accident.

Instead, insurers can sell policies with reduced coverage and are required to reduce medical premiums by 10 to 100% for eight years, depending on the level of coverage chosen by the driver.

The plan created a tiered fee schedule for medical providers that limits the rates they can charge auto insurers for caring for motorists.

The law prohibits insurers from basing their rates on postal codes, although they can use “territory” as a factor in setting rates according to certain geographic designations. The plan also prohibits insurers from taking into account other factors unrelated to driving such as gender, marital status and credit rating.

Duggan had joined Whitmer and other legislative leaders who had pushed for the change in law designed to provide relief to residents of Detroit, where average costs exceed $ 5,000 a year.

Reverend Wendell Anthony, head of the Detroit NAACP, said that for years the civil rights group has struggled with the high insurance costs imposed on residents of Detroit, which has had a disparate impact on Afro -Americans and people of color.

“We shouldn’t be paying high insurance costs for where we live, but really for how we drive,” said Anthony. “Efforts have been made to address this problem. The bipartisan auto insurance law signed in 2019 by Governor Gretchen Whitmer is an important step in the right direction, but it is not all we wanted and not all. what we need now. “

Almost 60% of Detroit residents drive without insurance, but it’s not that they don’t want insurance but rather that they can’t afford it, Anthony said.

“Many have had to make the decision to drive at risk and hope for the best. There is a more responsible, responsible and fair way to encourage the process,” he said. “We urge the people of Detroit and everyone to take full advantage of the amnesty program and get rid of the financial penalties you will receive at the end of December 31.”

Last summer, Duggan hosted a virtual town hall before July 2, 2020, when the Auto Reform Act came into force, providing a line-by-line virtual tutorial on how to save fuel. ‘money.

The mayor, at the time, detailed the choices and requirements for opting out of personal injury protection, which covers medical bills if you are injured in an accident, as well as the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association for catastrophic accidents. .

Detroit sent documentation to its 8,000 employees last year to help them if they chose to opt out.

Until now, for decades, drivers had to buy both, even if they had health insurance.

Krysten Jones, a 35-year-old Detroit resident, said she was paying $ 550 a month even with her clean driving record and because of the high rate, she was willing to take the risk of driving without insurance.

“When I heard about the new law, I was delighted to learn that I could purchase affordable auto coverage without paying fees or penalties. I bought a new policy at midnight when the new law went into effect and my rate dropped almost $ 400. per month, “Jones said at the press conference.” I recently had an accident and if I hadn’t had this I wouldn’t have had the blanket and I’m grateful for it. “

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Twitter: @SarahRahal_

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