Give us a break on car insurance

Michigan tops plenty of “best” lists, those incessant rankings that seem to permeate our digital news feeds. The Mitten state also makes a few “worst” lists.

Plenty are little more than click-bait popularity contests, but one causes continuous angst among drivers: Auto insurance rates.

For decades, Michigan drivers have suffered the most expensive auto insurance in the nation, a pocketbook pummeling many attribute to the state’s historic requirement insurance include unlimited lifetime medical costs for those seriously injured in crashes.

A Business Insider examination of auto insurance rates found Michigan drivers shoulder a worst-in-the-nation average annual premium cost of more than $3,300. That’s more than 30 percent more expensive than Louisiana, the next in line in the cost ranking.

That profane gap is why lawmakers last year took a crack at reforming the state’s auto insurance regulations. They hoped to give drivers a break by fixing some serious malfunctions in the regulatory system that caused the state’s outlier status.

Many correctly asked questions we all wonder about each time we open our car insurance bills. How can we blindly claim Michigan does car insurance correctly when literally every other state boasts substantially lower rates than ours? Wouldn’t it be nice to pay more reasonable rates like our friends and family who live in other Great Lakes States?

Average rates in those states are between $1,100 and $1,400, according to the Business Insider analysis.

Some of the reforms passed in 2019 go into effect on July 1, and many contend Michigan drivers will see meaningful reductions in their car insurance bills. Thus far, most insurers have kept new rate structures under wraps.

Those who’ve already received statements for the upcoming year’s premiums say the reductions are more modest than expected — about 10 percent.

And 10 percent is a far cry from the meaningful reduction most of us probably hoped for, certainly not enough to reel our rates to within the range our neighbors pay in Indiana, Illinois, Ohio and Wisconsin.

We, and many of you, will continue to hope for some meaningful reduction in our car insurance bills.

But it doesn’t appear we should expect enough change to be called a “reform.”

— Traverse City Record-Eagle


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