Michigan law requires every car owner to have proof of insurance before being allowed to register a vehicle and get license plates. But uninsured drivers still somehow make it onto our streets.
In fact, the state of Michigan has one of the highest rates of uninsured drivers in the country (21 percent, according to one estimate last year). In Detroit, that number is far worse: Some think it might exceed 50 percent. This is a big problem for everyone.
Having No Insurance Costs Everyone
Not having insurance hurts all drivers, not just the uninsured driver. Michigan’s no-fault insurance system gives you, an insured driver, some automatic protection against uninsured drivers. Because no-fault is essentially a policy on yourself, if you’re injured by another driver—even one with no insurance—you’ll be covered.
The system is designed, however, to pay out based on what is paid in; claims are covered using the payments made by insured drivers. You can see where the problem begins: When some drivers don’t pay into the system and then cause insured drivers to make claims, that money needs to come from somewhere.
In the end, that “somewhere” means insured drivers, who will see their rates rise and coverage reduced in future years. While it may be true that many uninsured drivers don’t have insurance because they can’t afford it, it’s also true that, by not having insurance, they further drive up rates for everyone, making the system more expensive and possibly forcing even more drivers to go without coverage.
Uninsured Drivers Might Miss Out
Uninsured drivers are hurt the most. When drivers have no insurance, it means they are blocked by state law from recovering almost all damages. They likely can’t sue for damage to their vehicle, medical expenses, lost wages and income, or pain and suffering—even when they are the victims.
In Michigan, not having insurance takes away your seat at the table when it comes to legal remedies. But the flip side doesn’t hold: An uninsured driver can still be sued for all of those things (lost wages, repair costs, medical expenses, pain and suffering) by someone else injured in a crash.
An uninsured driver can also have his or her license suspended or revoked, and driving without insurance is a misdemeanor offense, allowing the court to impose a fine of up to $500 and up to one year in jail.
Limits to Coverage
The injury protection built into Michigan’s no-fault insurance system is unique in that it provides lifetime medical care, when necessary, to those injured in crashes. Some coverage for property damage and liability is also provided.
Drivers should consider uninsured motorist coverage, which offers them increased protection when they’re hit by an uninsured driver. You should discuss all coverage with your insurance agent because not all policies are created equal. You want to make sure you’re getting what you want—and paying the right amount for it.
Detroit Car Accident Lawyer
As Detroit car accident attorneys, the lawyers at Christensen Law have seen many cases involving property damage and injury caused by uninsured drivers. When you’ve been the victim of this kind of crash, you need an experienced partner on your side. Give us a call today at 248-213-4900 or fill out the form below to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case and to learn how we can help.