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When shopping for car insurance, small companies can sometimes save money and provide better service than the large national chains. But sometimes that mom-and-pop shop is really selling fake insurance. Find out how to check your insurance company before you buy.
Since 2013, the Michigan Secretary of State has been tracking and investigating fake car insurance policies handed out by bogus insurance companies. Secretary of State Ruth Johnson spearheaded the Fighting Auto Insurance Rip-offs (FAIR) initiative that brought state officials together with insurance industry representatives to track and prosecute insurance fraud.
The initiative was based on a finding that on July 31, 2013, 16 percent of certificates checked were invalid or fraudulent. Johnson stated that fake insurance policies were found in over half of Michigan’s counties.
FAIR takes its authority from a Michigan statute making it a one year misdemeanor to provide false insurance information to the secretary of state. That includes altered, fraudulent, or counterfeit certificates of insurance.
That’s how Hakeem Sanusi of Eastpointe, Michigan, was found criminally liable for selling fake auto insurance certificates on February 27, 2015. Arrested in September, 2014, Sanusi pleaded no contest to six counts of insurance fraud as a habitual offender. He will serve one year in jail.
With reports of fake or invalid certificates topping 50% in a few Michigan counties, it is important to make sure your auto insurance provider is certified. The easiest way to do that is to check the state’s No Fault Certification List. The list includes all the insurers who are licensed to write auto insurance policies in the state of Michigan. If your policy came from one of those companies it was probably valid when you purchased it. However, it is up to the insured party to stay current with payments and keep the certificate valid.
Michigan’s no fault auto insurance provides top-notch coverage if you happen to be in an accident. But a false or lapsed policy could cost you in both benefits and criminal charges. Before you sign on to a small insurance provider, take the time to double check if they are certified with the state. It could be the difference between the benefits you need and unpaid medical bills you can’t afford.
David Christensen is an auto accident attorney with Christensen Law in Southfield, Michigan. He and his team represent the victims of car crashes to help them get the benefits they pay for from tough insurance companies. If you or someone you know is getting the run around from their insurance provider, contact Christensen Law today for a free consultation.