The attempt to make auto insurance a commodity is what you see in advertising today. Geico, 21st Century, Esurance are all high volume marketing machines designed to trick you into thinking all policies are the same. If everything has identical content, then price is the only consideration, right? Well not really.
One of the greatest factors often overlooked is a company's claims paying fairness and its ability to pay. Why pay the money if they wont pay you back? Give your local auto body shop a call and ask them if there is a difference between companies. What you find out might surprise you.
At Miller and Associates, we offer Michigan based mutual companies. The reason for this choice is twofold. First, Michigan based companies will stick around for the long term. The second reason is mutual companies are owned by you the policyholder, and decisions are made in your best interest. We like it simple, straightforward and honest!
Explanation of Auto Coverage Types:
Bodily Injury- this coverage is mandatory in Michigan and covers against lawsuits when you have caused bodily injury of a permanent and serious nature. Your net worth is the largest concern here, in that you want to carry enough coverage to protect your assets. How much is enough? This is a difficult question, but in our office we propose a minimum coverage of $100,000 per person and $300,000 per accident. High net worth families should have a higher coverage.
Property Damage - This coverage is mandatory in Michigan and covers property damage losses in tort states. Again we propose a minimum of $100,000 in coverage.
Mini Tort, or limited property damage insurance is not mandatory in Michigan. This is a low cost coverage that protects you from a recover for vehicle damage by another person in Michigan who does not carry collision coverage. The maximum recovery by another person against you is $500. This coverage is low cost and we suggest all persons carry this protection.
Personal Injury Protection is MANDATORY in Michigan and includes medical AND wage loss protection. You can co-ordinate this coverage with existing medical and disability insurance for a lower premium if you carry these coverages. Retired persons are also required to carry wage loss protection, however, they can exclude coverage for themselves for a reduced premium. Coverage still exists for other uninsured parties such as pedestrians or passengers in the vehicle under Michigan Law. Personal Injury Protection also covers loss of services and a limited death benefit.
Uninsured Motorist coverage is not mandatory in Michigan and protects a person from a driver who does not have insurance but causes bodily injury of a permanent and serious nature. When you carry this coverage, you can collect from your own policy what you WOULD HAVE COLLECTED had you been able to make a claim against the uninsured persons auto policy. We suggest you carry uninsured motorist coverage limits at least equal to your bodily injury limits.
Underinsured Motorist coverage is not mandatory in Michigan and protects a person from a driver who carries low limits of insurance on his/her auto bodily injury coverage. If you were allowed $100,000 in coverage, but the other person only carried $20,000 (minimum under Michigan law) then you can present the unpaid claim to your auto insurance carrier for payment. This covers the gaps created by drivers with low bodily injury coverage limits. We suggest you carry underinsured motorist coverage limits at least equal to your bodily injury limits.
Comprehensive coverage is not mandatory in Michigan and covers your automobile for damage OTHER THAN COLLISION. This coverage is generally written with a deductible of $50 or more per loss. Comp covers things like glass breakage and deer hits.
Collision coverage is not mandatory in Michigan, but if you do not carry collision you risk losing the value of your car in a collision, because in Michigan you cannot collect damages over $500 from another at-fault person. Collision generally carries a deductible of $250 or more and can be written in 3 different forms in Michigan. limited collision pays for damages only if you are not at fault in an accident, regular collision pays for damages less your deductible whether you are at fault or not, and broad form collision pays your claim WITHOUT a deductible if you are not at fault in the accident. You do pay the deductible if you are at fault. You should carry comprehensive and collision coverage if you cannot financially afford to lose the value of your automobile.
Road Service or emergency assistance pays for emergency costs associated with owning an automobile such as unlock services or towing.
Auto Rental covers the cost of renting an automobile if your car is damaged in a covered loss, such as a collision or deer hit. It does not pay for renting a car in other situations such as vacation use or repair issues.
Loan/lease gap coverage pays the difference in value between the loan/lease balance and the actual value of the car. This can only be purchased when you are the original titled owner of the automobile.