DEPARTMENT OF INSURANCE AND FINANCIAL SERVICES
June 28 is National Insurance Awareness Day, and the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) is offering tips to Michiganders to help them shop for auto insurance that works for their needs and budgets. This is especially important as auto insurance premiums nationwide are impacted by higher costs and an increased number and severity of crashes
“Shopping around is one of the most important ways for Michigan drivers to ensure they get the most for their auto insurance dollar, and following a few simple shopping tips can help make the process more efficient and more effective,” said DIFS Director Anita Fox. “If you need help understanding how auto insurance works, you can call DIFS at 833-ASK-DIFS, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., or click here.”
Shopping for auto insurance can be an important step in getting the right coverage for your situation and budget. Important tips include:
- Shop Around: Call more than one company or agent to compare prices and coverages. Be sure to deal only with licensed agents and companies. DIFS offers a Locator that can help you find licensed insurance professionals in your area.
- Get Insurance Quotes Before Buying a New Car: Ask for insurance quotes on the particular year, make, and model car you are considering. Having the VIN number of the vehicle you are looking at can make this process easy. Knowing the cost of insurance before you purchase a vehicle is important because the cost can vary greatly from car to car.
- Ask About Discounts: Many insurers offer discounts for safety devices, such as anti-theft devices or anti-lock brakes, or for having more than one type of policy with the same company. You may also be eligible for a discount or lower rate if you are an employee or member of certain organizations. Discounts vary by insurer, so you may consider asking your agent or company if you qualify for any of the policy discounts they offer.
- Consider Increasing Your Deductible: A deductible is the amount of money you must pay out of pocket before your insurer will pay for damages. For example, a $500 deductible on a collision policy means that you must pay the first $500 in repair costs before your insurer pays up to the policy limit on the covered loss. No matter what deductible amount you choose, it is important to make sure you have a plan, such as a dedicated savings account, for paying this cost.
- Ask About Your Coverage Choices: Consumers with older, less valuable vehicles, or those who do not have a finance or lease agreement that requires comprehensive or collision coverage, may wish to consider dropping these coverages to save money if they do not owe money on the vehicle and if they are able to pay out of pocket to repair or replace the vehicle if it is damaged. Be sure to read your policy, including your declarations page, after you receive it to make sure it reflects the coverage choices you made with your agent during the sales process.
- PIP/BI Coverage Level Choices: In addition, you may choose the coverage levels for Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and Residual Bodily Injury Liability (BI) that are appropriate based on your needs and budget. PIP covers your medical expenses if you are injured in an auto accident. The BI coverage level you choose is the amount your policy will pay if you’re held legally responsible for another person’s death, bodily injury, or damaged property in an accident. You should consider your choices carefully as these choices will have financial consequences. You may wish to consult with your insurance agent or obtain legal or financial advice to ensure your assets are adequately protected before changing your coverage limit.
Educational resources to help drivers learn more about auto insurance, including publications and instructional videos, are available here. In addition, DIFS continues to operate its dedicated, no-fault hotline with calls being answered Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Drivers can call 833-ASK-DIFS (275-3437) or email for assistance. Consumers may file a formal complaint by clicking here.
The mission of the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services is to ensure access to safe and secure insurance and financial services fundamental for the opportunity, security, and success of Michigan residents, while fostering economic growth and sustainability in both industries. In addition, the Department provides consumer protection, outreach, and financial literacy and education services to Michigan residents. For more information, click here or follow the Department on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.