On May 30, 2019, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed into law a bill that will bring sweeping changes to the state’s no-fault auto insurance laws. The primary goal of the new legislation is to reduce auto insurance premiums, as Michigan has some of the highest auto insurance rates in the nation.
Though the new legislation provides numerous changes to the auto insurance industry in Michigan, the following are the key takeaways:
•Drivers will no longer be required to purchase unlimited no-fault personal injury protection (PIP) benefits, which guarantee lifetime medical benefits for catastrophic crash injuries. After July 1, 2020, and through July 1, 2028, drivers may select their own no-fault PIP coverage. Under the new law, drivers may choose between $50,000 coverage (if enrolled in Medicaid or Medicare), $250,000 coverage, $500,000 coverage or unlimited PIP coverage.
•Once the new legislation takes effect, drivers could enjoy an auto insurance premium cost reduction depending on which PIP coverage they select. Note that all savings are limited only to the no-fault portion of a driver’s auto insurance bill (typically around 40% of the total premium), not the entire bill. Furthermore, the legislation does not address what the insurance providers may charge on other portions of insurance bills.
•A no-fault fee schedule was established to regulate the rates charged by medical care providers (e.g., doctors and hospitals) regarding medical care associated with auto accidents. Note that the fee schedule will not apply for the entirety of the first year the law is in effect.
•Drivers who choose any PIP coverage lower than unlimited will pay reduced fees to the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association (MCCA), an entity that bears responsibility to pay catastrophic injury benefits.
•Insurance providers will be prohibited from considering “non-driving factors” when determining insurance rates. Those factors typically include sex, marital status, educational level and occupation. However, providers can still set rates based on “territories” of the state. For example, providers could set higher rates for those who live in a region in which there are heightened instances of accidents or car thefts.
We will continue to provide information as it becomes available.