Many drivers say lower auto insurance rates are long over due

Posted at 8:04 AM, Sep 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-27 10:13:25-04

Relief for thousands of drivers in Michigan, right now the state that has the highest premiums in the country-- averaging $2400 a year.

A bill introduced today would change that,, requiring insurers to roll back rates for people who buy $250,000 worth of coverage-- making sure savings are passed along to drivers. Auto insurance companies would be subject to a fee schedule, just like health insurers.

Senior drivers, who have lifetime health coverage, would be able to opt out of personal injury protection coverage.

The bill would also make it more difficult to file accident lawsuits.

Supporters,which include republicans and democrats, say it would cut premiums by 20 to 50 percent. That would be a huge help for drivers struggling to pay for insurance.

The cost of auto insurance in Michigan forces some people to cut back on things like vacations.
Others find themselves having to make even bigger sacrifices.
And some even joke about just getting rid of their cars completely.

"Buy a scooter, to get around" said driver Recca Schuitema.

Funny we're sure, but its not, when drivers are working double-time just so they can afford their auto insurance.

"I will be 77 in January and I'm still working, and it just doesn't seem like I ought to have to" said Schuitema.

Rebecca Schuitema and her husband lived in Florida for 20 years where her premiums were half as much as they are in Michigan.

Rebecca's not alone, Doug Roll owns a farm in Mulliken and has to insure his truck, car, and two semis. He told his state senator lower rates are long overdue.

Driver, Doug Roll said, "I said there is got to be something we can do, this has been left alone for so long and it just keeps skyrocketing, my insurance has went up already twice and I haven't had an accident in my whole driving career."

One of the reasons for the high cost of insurance is Michigan's requirement that drivers carry lifetime medical coverage for accident injuries. 
The Coalition Protecting Auto No-Fault insurance says without that mandate the taxpayers would be stuck paying for that care through medicaid.

"The last time something like this was proposed it was about 30 millions dollars a year, every year to state taxpayers" said Josh Hovey, Coalition Protecting Auto No-Fault Spokesperson

Hovey says the biggest issue is the way companies come up with their price.

"Right now insurance companies charge women more, they charge people more for credit scores, they charge people more based on job titles, and that was completely absent from what was proposed today and I think that needs to be addressed" said Hovey.

No matter which side ends up winning this fight. Drivers we talked to don't expect things to get better.

"Hopeful, but I will be perfectly honest and say I'm not optimistic" said Schuitema.

This is not the first time the legislature has looked at ways to reduce rates.
Every other attempt has gotten bogged down and died.

Detroit-area democrats are working with the republican speaker of the house to get the bills passed.
That's because Detroit's insurance rates are higher than the rest of the state.