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Drivers need relief

Last updated: 10/04/11 12:01pm

Soon the Michigan Legislature will begin debating making changes to the state’s auto insurance laws. At issue is the amount of Personal Injury Protection or PIP coverage the state requires motorists to purchase. Currently that number is infinite. Michigan is the only state in the country that forces drivers to purchase unlimited medical coverage through auto insurance. This causes our premiums to cost more.

Insurance companies want to offer drivers more choices. I agree. Why should I be forced to purchase unlimited medical coverage? As drivers, we like to think we are considered responsible adults, so why are we denied choosing a $1 million, $500,000 or even a $50,000 limit?

The main opposition to this legislation is trial lawyers and hospitals. Trial lawyers are able to milk insurance companies for millions and millions of dollars for clients involved in traffic accidents. The medical profession charges gobs of money for procedures, therapies and follow-ups. Ever went to the chiropractor and escaped with only one or two visits before being pronounced cured? Perhaps only if you pay cash.

Auto insurance companies are treated as unlimited cash wells that can be drawn from for years on end. One might argue “What about that catastrophic accident that produces a bed-ridden person for life?”

First, the new law will offer drivers choices. We can still purchase unlimited medical coverage if we choose to. Second, a person who becomes disabled can qualify for Medicaid and government disability payments. Third, most accidents are not catastrophic, but minor fender benders. Therefore, continuing to force drivers to purchase the most expensive policy (non) options is wrong, especially when so many are living paycheck-to-paycheck.

Allowing insurance companies to offer choices in PIP coverage will lower our premiums. Lets hope the Legislature and governor look past emotions and offer Michigan drivers some relief.

Published Sep 15, 2011

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