As the birthplace of Henry Ford and the “auto capital of the world,” Michigan has a long-standing history with cars and a complex relationship with car insurance. Like most other states, car insurance is a legal requirement in Michigan, yet the Great Lake State has more uninsured drivers than almost any other state. Driving without insurance in Michigan is considered a misdemeanor, and drivers may face penalties, including fines and suspended driving privileges. Bankrate’s insurance editorial team has created this guide to help you navigate Michigan car insurance laws and the impact that driving uninsured can have on your finances.

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Is driving without insurance in Michigan illegal?

As in most states, car insurance is a legal requirement in Michigan. If you have a vehicle that is registered with the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), you must meet the state’s minimum car insurance requirements. Because Michigan is a no-fault state, drivers are required to carry personal injury protection (PIP) and property protection insurance (PPI).

Michigan car insurance minimum requirements

Here is a breakdown of coverage types and limits required to drive legally in the state:

  • $50,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $100,000 bodily injury liability per accident
  • $10,000 property damage liability per accident (for damage in other states)
  • $1,000,000 property protection insurance (PPI)
  • Personal injury protection (PIP): Coverage ranges from unlimited to no PIP medical coverage, depending on the policyholder’s selection

Michigan default limits

Michigan has default limits in place for bodily injury coverage and PIP. Policyholders who fail to submit their coverage selection forms to their insurance company will see the higher default limits replace the lower options until the forms and required documentation are received and processed

Michigan auto insurance policies come with default liability limits of:

  • $250,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $500,000 bodily injury liability per accident
  • $10,000 property damage liability per accident (for damage in other states)

Drivers can opt for lower limits, like the 50/100/10 minimum, but policies are quoted with a default coverage of 250/500/10.

Michigan auto insurance policies also come with the unlimited PIP medical option as the default coverage limit; however, there are a total of six PIP options to choose from:

  • Unlimited coverage
  • Up to $500,000
  • Up to $250,000
  • Up to $250,000 with medical exclusion (for those whose non-Medicaid health insurance covers auto accident injuries)
  • Up to $50,000 (for those enrolled in Medicaid and whose household members have a health or car insurance policy that covers accident-related injuries)
  • PIP medical opt-out (for those enrolled in Medicaid and whose household members have a health or car insurance policy that covers accident-related injuries)

Penalties for driving without insurance in Michigan

Michigan’s legislature made sweeping changes to car insurance requirements and penalties for failing to purchase coverage, and the state saw the largest drop in the number of uninsured motorists of any in the U.S. Although more drivers are covered, Michigan still ranks fifth for uninsured motorists by state.

In Michigan, driving without insurance is a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $500, up to one year in jail or both. Drivers may also have their license suspended for 30 days or until they can provide proof of insurance. Drivers will also pay a license reinstatement fee of $125.

Additionally, the Secretary of State has the authority to restrict your car registration privileges if you have no proof of insurance in Michigan. If you receive a ticket for not having insurance, the Secretary of State may not allow you to transfer, replace or renew your car registration or register a new vehicle until showing proof of coverage.

Michigan drivers should also be aware of the state’s laws around driving without proof of insurance. If you have an active car insurance policy but have no proof of insurance available when requested by law enforcement, you could face a fine of $25.

Getting into an accident without insurance in Michigan

Michigan’s car insurance laws do not offer any forgiveness for drivers who get into an accident without no-fault insurance and liability coverage.

If an uninsured driver’s vehicle is damaged or totaled in a no-fault accident, they will be financially responsible for repairs or the purchase of a new vehicle. Drivers who do not carry car insurance cannot take advantage of Michigan’s mini-tort law, which would allow them to recoup up to $3,000 from the at-fault driver to cover vehicle damage.

The consequences of not having insurance when you cause an accident are even more severe. If you hit another driver and you do not have insurance, you will be financially liable for any portion of the other driver’s medical bills and lost wages not covered by their PIP as well as any damage to their vehicle. If the other driver sues you, you will also have to pay all your legal fees in addition to any damages you are ruled responsible for, putting your assets at risk.

Drivers who are involved in an at-fault accident without insurance might also be required to purchase SR-22 insurance. SR-22 insurance is not an actual insurance policy, but rather a certificate that proves you carry the state’s minimum liability coverage. Filing an SR-22 is usually inexpensive, but having an SR-22 on your record can lead to an insurance rate increase, as you will typically be classified as a high-risk driver.

Frequently asked questions

    • The best car insurance in Michigan depends on many factors, like your budget, coverage needs, available discounts and your personal preferences. Michigan drivers should shop around, compare providers and request rate quotes from several insurers. While rates are important, you may also want to look for a provider that has a good customer service history and excellent financial strength ratings.
    • Michigan is one of the most expensive states for car insurance. The average annual cost of car insurance in Michigan is $2,963 for full coverage and $999 for minimum coverage. By comparison, the average cost of car insurance in the United States is $2,314 per year for full coverage and $644 per year for minimum. However, drivers might pay more or less than the statewide average based on their claims history, age and their policy’s coverage limits, among other things. Car insurance companies take several factors into account when calculating your rate, although Michigan law does exclude or restrict some factors, such as gender and credit.
    • Drivers found guilty of driving with no insurance in Michigan will be fined no less than $200 and no more than $500, according to Act 218 of the Insurance Code of 1956. Other penalties stipulated in the law state that drivers may also be imprisoned for up to one year or a combination of both fines and jail time.
    • As of 2022, over 19 percent of drivers in Michigan did not have insurance coverage, according to the Insurance Information Institute. While this number shows a significant decline in the percentage of uninsured motorists, high rates of uninsured drivers can be a contributing factor to the state’s high cost of car insurance. Michigan has responded by reforming legal insurance requirements and more closely regulating auto insurance. As a result, the state saw a 6 percent drop in the number of uninsured motorists — the biggest decline in the U.S.