Purchasing car insurance in Michigan is not just a good financial decision, it is also required by law. Motorists caught driving without insurance in Michigan can face a fine, jail time and a suspended driver’s license, in addition to the financial consequences if you cause an accident and don’t have car insurance. If you are a Michigan car owner, make sure you understand Michigan’s car insurance laws before you get behind the wheel.

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Minimum insurance required in Michigan

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).

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) choices:
    • 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)

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.

Penalties for driving without insurance in Michigan

Driving without car insurance in Michigan is illegal. If you get caught driving without insurance, you will likely face steep penalties. These penalties can affect your driving privileges, as well as your ability to file an insurance claim after an accident.

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 Michigan Secretary of State has the authority to restrict your car registration privileges until you can show proof of insurance. 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, without 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 cannot show proof of insurance when requested by law enforcement, you will 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 coverages.

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 coverages. 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.

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