State leaders in Michigan are encouraging residents to secure auto insurance before the amnesty period expires and premiums begin to rise.
The amnesty period is part of the state’s no-fault reform legislation, which took effect in July 2020. The law provides uninsured drivers a reprieve, allowing them to obtain insurance without penalty or rate increases.
The amnesty period is set to end on January 01, 2022, meaning drivers without insurance have until December 31 to get coverage before facing penalties and stiff premiums, according to The Detroit News.
In a Press conference attended by the news outlet, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said that more than 100,000 previously uninsured motorists have picked up coverage because of the amnesty.
“The single biggest reason for passing this legislation was for those folks of moderate-to-low income who were driving uninsured and were at risk every day,” he said. “If you haven’t had car insurance for some time, you can be put at higher risk and when you go to buy it, the insurance company can charge you a higher rate than other drivers.”
Duggan also urged uninsured motorists to beat the amnesty deadline to secure the lower rates.
Anita Fox, director of Michigan’s Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS), stressed the importance of having every driver in the state insured as it also protects the residents.
She added that of the 100,000 drivers who took advantage of the auto insurance amnesty, about 60,000 were previously uninsured for three or more years.
“Michigan had the greatest benefits in the nation, but with that, we also had the highest costs and with the highest cost, we had a disproportionate number of uninsured drivers putting all of us at risk,” she said.
Before the law was enacted, the average cost of auto insurance policies in the state exceeded $5,000 a year.
Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed the legislation in 2019, putting an end to Michigan’s requirement that drivers buy policies that guarantee uncapped lifetime medical benefits in case they sustain serious vehicular injuries.
Because of this, insurance companies are able to offer reduced coverage policies, requiring them to decrease medical premiums by between 10% and 100% for eight years, depending on the level of cover a motorist chooses.
The law also bars insurers from basing premiums on zip codes and other non-driving factors, including gender, marital status, and credit score.