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Michigan Drivers: Do You Know About These Hidden Car Insurance Provisions?

When buying auto insurance, it can be tempting to just skim through the agreement, rather than read pages and pages of fine print. However, skimming through could cost you in the long run if you end up being involved in certain types of car accidents in Michigan. Some car insurance companies have added provisions to their insurance policies that decrease your insurance coverage in specific instances Even if you are paying a higher insurance premium than the Michigan state minimum, under these circumstances your insurance coverage could decrease significantly.

As a resource, our Detroit auto accident attorneys at Goodman Acker P.C. have provided you with a list of some of the hidden provisions that insureds typically do not realize are in effect. These hidden provisions include:

  • "Step-Down" Provisions: These types of provisions decrease your insurance to the state minimums of $20,000 per person and $40,000 per accident for bodily injury to others and $10,000 per accident for property damage, regardless of how much you pay for your insurance even if it is well above these minimum amounts. One type of "step-down" provision decreases your insurance coverage to the minimums if another person, who is not on your insurance policy, drives your vehicle and gets into an accident. Another type is the family "step-down" provision, which also brings your insurance down to the state minimums. This provision goes into effect if you are driving your car and you injure a family member, such as your spouse, in an accident, or vice versa. Carriers such as Progressive, Pioneer, Grange, Farm Bureau, and USAA are known to carry family "step-down" clauses.
  • Alcohol Exclusion Provisions: Some states, Michigan included, allow insurance companies to eliminate or limit coverage for injuries in the instance of a drunk driving accident if you are the intoxicated driver. Furthermore, these provisions allow the insurance companies to limit doctors’ abilities to diagnose alcohol problems and recommend treatment.
  • Unlicensed Driver Provisions: Some insurance policies will provide limited or no coverage in the case of an accident involving a driver who does not have his or her driver's license with them. Be sure to always keep your driver's license with you when you drive, and remind others who are driving your vehicle as well. Check with your insurance company to see what its policy states.
  • Business Exclusion Provisions: Some insurance companies will not cover injuries and damages in the case of an accident under business circumstances. If you use your car or a friend's car for business purposes, beware that it is unlikely that you will receive full coverage in the case of an accident.
  • Car Theft Provisions: Certain insurance companies will not provide maximum coverage, and others will provide no coverage, in the incident of a car theft if there is no evidence of forced entry. Be sure to ask your insurance company about provisions covering car theft.

It is important to speak in-person to a representative at your car insurance company. Sitting down and going through your car insurance policy may lead to surprising discoveries. Doing this before accepting a policy can help prevent situations in which you are paying a high deductible but you end up getting covered for just the bare minimum.

If you have been in a recent Michigan car accident, call the attorneys at Goodman Acker P.C. before speaking to a car insurance adjuster. We can help ease the process by looking over your car insurance policy and speaking with you about the circumstances of the accident and your injuries. Call today at (248) 793-2010 for a free, no-obligation case review by one of our experienced and top-rated lawyers. We will explain the legal process to you and answer any questions that you may have.

Diana Lewis for Goodman Acker: Michigan Drivers: Do You Know About These Hidden Car Insurance Provisions?