Once again, a Michigan legislature has taken aim at Michigan’s no-fault act. He is proposing no-fault reform legislation which, so far, seems to do nothing to help the people the law is designed to protect.
Michigan’s no-fault auto insurance has been under attack the last few years. Whether through statewide no-fault reform bills, or Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan’s effort to make local residents accept second class coverage, these bills have threatened to cut away at Michigan motorists’ protections without addressing other changes that could save the state money.
The newest bill being drafted appears to be no different. On June 21, 2016, State Representative Jason Sheppard, a Republican from Temperance Michigan, announced a new plan to overhaul the state’s auto insurance laws. At a town hall meeting at the Bedford Public Library, the representative gave a glimpse of what is to come.
Citing the cost of Michigan health insurance as a motivator, Sheppard proposed a plan that would allow insurance companies to offer tiers of coverage. The difference: how much the insurance company will have to pay if you are in a serious auto accident. The first tier would cap your recovery at a mere $250,000 – the same amount proposed in Mike Duggan’s D-Insurance last year. The second tier would have a cap of $500,000, and the third tier would have a cap of $1 million. Michigan’s current, unlimited coverage would be offered as the fourth option.
Coverage at the lower levels will barely provide injured motorists with the acute care they need – like emergency room visits and surgery – and will leave no room for necessary ongoing treatment or medical accommodations like ramps and wheelchairs.
More importantly, Sheppard’s plan seems to focus solely on insurance provider costs. While he claims that motorists selecting the lower plans could save “30 percent or more” on their car insurance premiums, it appears to have no safeguards to ensure lower rates.
The last round of no-fault reform bills had the same problem. They relied on the goodness of the auto insurance industry to provide the savings they promised to consumers. Without real, meaningful regulation of auto insurance providers, these promises are nothing more than speculation.
Michigan doesn’t need tiered insurance. Our motorists don’t deserve substandard care simply because of their income. Don’t let the Michigan legislature bargain away your safety net. Tell Jason Sheppard that any no-fault reform needs to protect motorists, not the insurance companies’ bottom line.
David Christensen is an auto accident attorney at Christensen Law in Southfield, Michigan. He represents the victims of motor vehicle collisions against their auto insurance companies. If you have been seriously injured in an auto accident, contact Christensen Law today for a free consultation.