Don’t be an uninsured driver. There’s no getting around it, Michigan no-fault auto insurance is expensive. That cost could make you want to skip the coverage and take your chances. But there are thousands of reasons why that is a bad idea.
Michigan law requires every registered motor vehicle to be covered by a no-fault insurance policy if it is going to be driven on a highway. If you own a vehicle and choose not to insure it, you take a chance every time you or someone else gets behind the wheel. Operating a vehicle without valid insurance is a criminal misdemeanor with a penalty of up to one year in jail and a fine of between $200 and $500.
But the criminal consequences of an uninsured driver are mild compared to what could happen if you are in an accident.
Uninsured Driver Exclusion
First, you’ll have to deal with your own medical expenses. As an uninsured motorist, you are excluded from receiving any no-fault benefits, even if you were not at fault for the accident. This rule also applies if you have been excluded from the vehicle owner’s policy (if, for example, you have too many points on your license).
Third Party Lawsuit Damages
Next, if you were at fault for a serious auto accident, you will probably end up going to court to pay for damages caused by the injured motorists injuries. This can include thousands of dollars in non-economic damages like pain and suffering, permanent disability or long-term wage loss. Insured motorists can rely on their own auto policy’s “liability insurance” to help cover the costs. But as an uninsured motorist, you are on your own.
Reimbursement of No-Fault Benefits
Finally, if any auto insurance company had to pay no-fault benefits because of an accident involving your uninsured vehicle, it can sue you for reimbursement. In other words, you could end up paying the insurance company for everything it had to pay for your accident. This will include thousands of dollars in actual benefits, costs, attorney fees, and expert witness expenses.
Driver’s License / Registration Consequences
If you have to pay the insurance company back, you will want to find a way to do it quickly. If the judgment isn’t paid within 30 days, your driver’s license and vehicle registration can be suspended or revoked. The only way to reinstate it is to pay the debt or make payment arrangements through the Secretary of State. If you fall behind, you could find yourself without a license again.
Being an uninsured driver of a vehicle isn’t worth the risk. One serious accident could put you so far behind in debts and legal fees that you may be facing bankruptcy. Even though it is expensive, it is better to properly insure your vehicle. That way, you will know you are covered if an accident ever happens.