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auto insurance

Cars on the freeway
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Based on data from an insurance comparison website, Detroit has the best drivers in the country. But the statistic has some caveats. 

Seattle-based Quote Wizard looked at the 75 largest metropolitan areas in the U.S. for the study. It created the ranking based on reports to insurance companies of accidents, DUIs, speeding tickets, and minor citations. 

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There will be no sunlight on the records of an auto insurance fund that affects every Michigan driver.

The Michigan Supreme Court on Wednesday turned down an appeal from a coalition of health care, labor and consumer groups. The groups want to open the books to understand how the state Catastrophic Claims Association calculates rates.

The insurance fund was created to reimburse insurers for claims that exceed $545,000. Owners pay a fee on every vehicle each year, on top of regular insurance. Starting July 1, the rate will rise to $170 from $160.

Car accident
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If you’re a driver in Michigan, it's not exactly breaking news to hear that our auto insurance rates are some of the highest in the country. Drivers in Detroit pay the most. One study estimated an average of $3,400 annually. By comparison, the national average is about $900.

Defer Elementary School in Grosse Pointe Park.
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Public schools in Bloomfield Hills and Birmingham are already charging tuition for students outside the district who want to attend. Now, because of budget cuts and declining enrollment, it looks like Grosse Pointe Public Schools might follow suit.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Controversial legislation to scrap unlimited, lifetime medical coverage for car crash victims is back up for consideration in Lansing.

Proponents of the current system say the law makes sure victims are taken care of. But Republicans have been trying for decades to scale back the state’s unlimited medical coverage for people injured in car crashes.  

The proposed legislation would let consumers pick their levels of coverage.

Speaker of the House Tom Leonard says auto no-fault overhaul is one of his party’s biggest priorities.

Prison bars
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A former camp counselor from suburban Detroit was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison for taking nude photos of young boys and posting them online. The judge who sentenced 22-year-old Matthew Kuppe said he thought the sentence was too harsh, but Kuppe's plea deal left him with no choice. This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry take a closer look at the case.

They also talk about former state Sen. Virgil Smith's possible bid for a Detroit Council seat, a lawsuit to force state Attorney General Bill Schuette's office to turn over personal emails that discuss public business, and a push to ban  7-day auto insurance plans in Michigan. 

https://www.flickr.com/photos/christopherbibbs/2380738854/

Detroiters pay some of the highest auto insurance rates of anyone in the country. A significant share of the city’s residents do not make enough to pay for continuous insurance coverage. That presents problems when it comes time to get a vehicle registered.

As a result, many have turned to a legal workaround called 7-day auto insurance. Now, that loophole may be closing. 

John Auchter / Auchtoon.com

We're nearing the end of the season of Lent, and for Catholics (and others who participate in the Lenten practice of "giving up stuff") this is around the time we tend to lose focus and start to obsess about the beer or chocolate or whatever we pledged to eschew for 40 days.

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The cost of auto insurance in the state of Michigan is going up. The Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association (MCCA) is adding another $10 to its annual fee, coming in at $170 a year.

Thanks in part to Michigan auto insurance law, which requires that all drivers have no-fault insurance policies on their vehicles, the state has some of the highest insurance rates in the country. 

So is it worth it?

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

With only two days left on the schedule, Republican leaders have added a surprise piece of legislation to their to-do list.

Some major changes to Michigan’s no-fault auto insurance could be voted on before the end of the session if Republican leaders have their way.

Republican leaders have restarted discussions on legislation to limit benefits under Michigan’s no fault law. The legislation would scale back the medical benefits provided to those who suffer catastrophic injuries in automobile wrecks.

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Are women worse drivers than men? Michigan auto insurance companies appear to think so.

In most states, there’s not much of a difference between auto insurance rates for men and women. But in Michigan, there’s a difference of about 4.03% between them, with men paying $2,087 and women paying $2,175.

Flickr user Pictures of Money/Flickr / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Anna Clark is a freelance journalist who lives in Detroit. She owns a 2007 Ford Focus and has never had to make an auto insurance claim. 

But she's preparing to move out of Detroit, to Ann Arbor, and just recently learned her insurance is going to drop by a staggering amount.

"You'd think I might be delighted that I suddenly have this much extra money per month that I'm not paying on insurance for the next year, but I was actually horrified," Clark said. 

Car rear ended another car in Ann Arbor.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A consumer advocate says many low to moderate income people pay much more for car insurance, even with the same driving record and zip code as wealthier people.

Bob Hunter is with the Consumer Federation of America.

He says major insurance companies use factors like marital status, education, occupation, and home ownership as proxies for income.

He says in general, people who are single, don't own a home, didn't go to college, and who work at blue collar jobs, have less money. 

Car rear ended another car in Ann Arbor.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Why is it that the poorest people in Michigan, the ones who face the biggest struggle to find jobs and get to those jobs, are paying the highest auto insurance rates in the country?

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

 

People in Detroit pay some of the highest auto insurance rates in the nation. Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan believes that’s part of the reason people move out of the city. He’s put together a plan to provide cheaper auto insurance for city residents. Some critics think it would be a bad deal for Detroiters.

user H.L.I.T. / Flickr

Last year, 876 people died in Michigan car crashes, according to the state police.

Another 71,000 were injured.  

Some of those injuries were catastrophic, leaving people with lifelong brain damage, in wheelchairs, or hooked up to ventilators.

During his first term, Governor Rick Snyder attempted to get the legislature to pass bills that would have severely limited the amount victims of catastrophic auto accidents could collect.

Juan Alvarez / Creative Commons

Police in Michigan are using an easy way to check whether a motor vehicle is properly insured.

Michigan State Police and other agencies can tell whether most vehicles are insured by running a license plate number through an in-car computer.

Getting a ticket
Jimmy Emerson / Creative Commons

Michigan drivers who have trouble keeping track of paper proof of insurance forms may soon have another option.

The state House this week passed a bill that would let drivers use smartphones or other electronic devices to show proof of insurance when pulled over.

Many insurance companies already offer apps and other ways for insured drivers to view their information electronically.  

crash below I-96
Ray Dumas / Creative Commons

The Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association says it will lower the fee that gets tacked onto all drivers' insurance policies. 

Starting this July, the fee will drop from $186 to $150 per car annually. The announcement comes after some lawyers complained earlier this month that the fee was too high.

deployed airbag
Dimland

LANSING – The public has no right to see the records of an insurance fund that puts a fee on cars to pay for catastrophic injuries. That’s the opinion of the Michigan appeals court.

The Appeals Court said today that the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association is not covered by a public records law.

It overturned a 2012 decision by an Ingham County judge.

The insurance fund was created by the Legislature to reimburse insurance companies for claims that exceed $500,000.

A political controversy in Lansing that just won’t die is back: auto no-fault insurance. There is yet another Republican effort to muscle through an auto no-fault overhaul, this time being led by state House Speaker Jase Bolger.

There’s a lot in this proposal, released just yesterday, but one of the main things is a cap on the state’s currently unlimited medical benefits if you are injured in a crash. Under the Bolger plan, these benefits would top out at $10 million. Other parts of the proposal include limits on hospital fees and payments for in-home care, incentives to avoid litigation, and a guaranteed rate rollback in the first two years of coverage.

Essentially, there is something in this plan for all of the special interests that have a stake in the auto no-fault system – hospitals, insurance companies, trial lawyers – to dislike. But, Bolger says, bring it on.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Michigan Legislature is considering bills that would overhaul auto insurance in the state.

There are several aspects to this. Jake Neher with the Michigan Public Radio Network joined us today to help us wade through what has been proposed. 

Listen to the full interview above.

So, whatever happened to moderates in politics? It seems everyone is an ideologue and "compromise" is a dirty word. On today's show, we talked to a former Republican leader who says the disappearance of the moderate is becoming a real problem in his party.

And, we talked with a "genius."

The MacArther Foundation has announced this year's "genius grants," and one of the 24 who has been recognized as an exceptionally creative individual is from the University of Michigan.

And, the new Common Core Curriculum does not require that kids learn cursive, but is that really what is best?

Also, shoplifting is now a felony in Michigan. What does this mean for consumers and shop owners?

And, a music student at the University of Michigan will have his work performed by the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. We talked to him about his piece.

First on the show, the Michigan Legislature is considering bills that would overhaul auto insurance in the state.

There are several aspects to this. Jake Neher with Michigan Public Radio Network joined us today to help us wade through what has been proposed. 

rick4mi.com

When it comes to trying to wiggle out of paying for auto insurance, the creativity of some Michigan drivers seems to know no bounds.

But to all of those drivers who think they're getting away with auto insurance fraud, the Michigan Secretary of State has a warning: "We're on to you."

Secretary of State Ruth Johnson is announcing the creation of a task force to fight fraud in auto insurance all across Michigan.

Secretary of State Johnson joined us today from Lansing.

Listen to the interview above.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

The state of Michigan is launching a campaign to crackdown on auto insurance fraud.

Secretary of State Ruth Johnson says her office will be working with the Michigan State Police, local prosecutors and the insurance industry to catch people selling and using phony auto insurance policies.

She says a one day snap shot of more than 3 thousand auto registration renewals using paper insurance certificates found 16% were using phony auto insurance.

Johnson says many of the scams are quite sophisticated.

user H.L.I.T / flickr

State lawmakers from Detroit say they will put forth their own package of bills to overhaul m auto insurance in Michigan.

The Democrats oppose Governor Snyder’s plan to cap insurance payouts for catastrophic car accident injuries at $1 million.

Snyder and some Republicans say Michigan’s unique “no-fault insurance” policy bumps up Michiganders’ auto insurance premiums. They say their proposal will bring those rates down by $125 per vehicle for at least one year, with possible future savings.

michigan.gov

Some members of the legislature are once again proposing changes to no-fault auto insurance in Michigan. They say it will save auto owners money. Opponents say the plan is good for insurance companies, but not for accident victims.

Everybody seems to agree auto insurance in Michigan costs too much.

Governor Rick Snyder and the chairs of the Senate and House insurance committees explained the latest plan to reduce the cost.

“In this legislation it would specify that premium costs would come down by $125 per vehicle in the first year and then hopefully because of competition and other things could even see that increase in later years,” Governor Snyder said.

That one-year guarantee of savings would come because of a reduction in the Personal Injury Protection part of auto insurance.

L. Brooks Patterson defended James Simpson's invitation, saying Simpson was asked to speak specifically because he's provocative.
screen grab of Oakland Co. video

A proposed reform to Michigan’s no-fault auto insurance is circulating in the Legislature.

Among other things, it would cap benefits for people who suffer severe injuries in auto accidents at $1 million.

Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson has come out as a strong opponent to this legislation.

Patterson is still recovering from a serious auto accident he had last summer, and his driver, James Cram of Owosso, was paralyzed from the neck down.

In this interview with Jennifer White, Patterson talks about his opposition to the proposed legislation and his recovery.

You can listen to the full interview above.

Patterson wanted to be clear that he and his driver were working at the time of their accident.

Their medical bills are covered by worker's compensation, so Patterson says his opposition to changes to Michigan's no-fault insurance laws are not for his own benefit.

"Did the accident make me more aware and more sensitized to the plight of people who suffer from catastrophic injuries? Absolutely," he said.

Last week, Governor Snyder announced plans to introduce legislation that, if passed, would essentially mean that insurance companies and the state would no longer provide virtually unlimited benefits to those injured in catastrophic car accidents.

Currently, victims whose health care costs exceed half a million dollars have their care covered by the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association. The governor would cap those benefits at a million dollars. The next day, his proposal was attacked by an opponent who called it, “an embarrassment to the Republican party.”

“The governor misses the big picture,” he added. What is most interesting about this is that the man attacking the governor‘s idea is not a liberal Democrat or a leader of a victim‘s rights group, but one of the state‘s most prominent conservative Republicans, L. Brooks Patterson, the longtime czar of Oakland County.

Brooks knows what he is talking about. Last August, he and his driver were T-boned in a car accident that very nearly took their lives. Patterson was in a coma for days, suffered multiple broken bones and was in the hospital for nearly two months.

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