Michigan Car Insurance Requirements

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Minimum car insurance in Michigan

Michigan has a unusual no-fault insurance system. It is the only state with unlimited medical and rehabilitation benefits for a lifetime if you are injured in a car accident. This system is part of the reason why Michigan car insurance rates are among the highest in the country.

Michigan car insurance can seem like a maze. Let's work through the coverage types one by one.

Personal injury protection (PIP) pays unlimited medical and rehab benefits. Michigan requires PIP.

PIP also provides benefits for lost wages if you can't work, services for tasks you can't perform and funeral costs.

If you get into an accident, Michigan no-fault insurance pays the following, regardless of who caused the accident:

  • Unlimited medical and rehabilitation benefits.
  • Lost wages benefits for up to three years if you can't work due to a car accident.
  • $20 per day for replacement services if you are injured in an auto accident (such as house cleaning).
  • Damage to other people's property.

Required property protection insurance in Michigan: As part of the no-fault system, Michigan drivers must have property protection insurance (PPI). This insurance covers damage to property such as buildings, parked cars and other stationary structures like fences, no matter who's at fault. It's available for up to $1,000,000 in coverage.

   More: No-fault insurance

Optional collision insurance: Note that the Michigan PPI above covers car damage only to properly parked cars. If you crash into a post and dent your fender, or someone crashes into your vehicle, PPI does not apply. Instead, you would need collision coverage for your own car repairs. 

Optional comprehensive coverage: This insurance type pays for vehicle damage from problems such as animal collisions, floods, hail, fire and vandalism. It also covers car theft if your vehicle is stolen and not recovered.

Minimum auto liability insurance in Michigan:

Michigan also requires drivers to have liability insurance. Liability insurance is for damage and injuries you cause to others. This might seem confusing, since Michigan's no-fault law says injuries and property damage are paid through your own insurance no matter who is at-fault. So why have liability insurance, too? If you cause an accident out-of-state, the liability insurance will kick in. For example, if you drive into Indiana and crash into someone, they can make a claim on your Michigan liability insurance. Michigan's no-fault insurance doesn't extend to accidents in other states. The minimum liability coverage for Michigan drivers is:

  • $20,000 bodily injury per person.
  • $40,000 bodily injury per accident.
  • $10,000 property damage per accident.

This is often written as 20/40/10.

   More: Cheap car insurance in Michigan

Quick guide to Michigan car insurance

You must show an insurance ID card (or other proof of financial responsibility) in Michigan when:

  • Law enforcement requests it
  • You renew vehicle registration

Penalties for not having car insurance in Michigan

  • Misdemeanor, fine of not less than $200 and not more than $500 and/or imprisonment for not more than one year. Supplying false information is a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment for not more than one year or a fine of not more than $1,000, or both.

Source: Property Casualty Insurers Association of America

Consumer complaints against large car insurance companies in Michigan

Each state's insurance department handles and records complaints against insurance companies. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners calculates a "complaint ratio" to reflect the number of complaints in relation to the insurer's size of business. Here are ratios for the largest car insurance companies in Michigan.

Michigan car insurance complaints for large insurers

Michigan DWI laws

The types of driving while impaired (DWI) laws in Michigan are:

Operating while visibly impaired (OWVI): Because of alcohol or drugs in your body, your ability to operate a motor vehicle is visibly impaired.

Operating while intoxicated (OWI):

  • Alcohol or drugs in your body substantially affect your ability to safely operate a motor vehicle.
  • Your blood alcohol content (BAC) is at or above .08.
  • High BAC is defined as at or above .17.

Operating with any presence of a schedule 1 drug or cocaine (OWPD): If you have a small trace of these drugs in your body, even if you do not appear intoxicated or impaired.

Under age 21 operating with any blood alcohol content (zero tolerance): If you have a BAC of .02 to .07 or any presence of alcohol in your body (other than alcohol that might be consumed at a religious ceremony).

Operating while visibly impaired (OWVI) penalties in Michigan

First offense

The first offense is a misdemeanor. If convicted, you could get:

  • Up to a $300 fine and one or more of the following: Up to 93 days in jail and up to 360 hours of community service.
  • Driver's license restrictions for 90 days (180 days if impaired by a controlled substance).
  • Possible vehicle immobilization.
  • Four points added to your driving record.
  • Driver Responsibility Fee of $500.
  • If a restricted license is issued, you will be required to install an ignition interlock for one year.

Second offense

The second offense within seven years is a misdemeanor. If convicted, you may face:

  • A $200 to $1,000 fine and one or more of the following: five days to one year in jail; 30 to 90 days of community service.
  • Driver's license revocation for a minimum of one year (or minimum of five years if there was a prior revocation within seven years).
  • License plate confiscation.
  • Vehicle immobilization for 90 to 180 days unless you forfeit the vehicle.
  • Possible vehicle forfeiture.
  • Four points added to your driving record.
  • Driver Responsibility Fee of $500.
  • If a restricted license is issued, you will be required to install an ignition interlock for one year.

Third offense

The third offense is a felony. If convicted, you could face:

  • A $500 to $5,000 fine and either of the following: One to five years imprisonment or probation with 30 days to one year in jail.
  • 60 to 180 days of community service.
  • Driver's license revocation if there are two convictions within seven years or three convictions within 10 years. The minimum revocation is one year. If you've had a prior revocation within seven years, the minimum revocation is five years.
  • License plate confiscation.
  • Vehicle immobilization for one to three years, unless you forfeit the vehicle.
  • Possible vehicle forfeiture.
  • Vehicle registration denial.
  • Four points added to your driving record.
  • Driver Responsibility Fee of $500.
  • If a restricted license is issued, you will be required to install an ignition interlock for one year.

OWI and OWPD penalties in Michigan

First offense

The first offense is a misdemeanor. If convicted, you could face:

  • A $100 to $500 fine and up to 93 days in jail and up to 360 hours of community service.
  • 30-day driver's license revocation, then license restrictions for 150 days.
  • Possible vehicle immobilization.
  • Possible ignition lock.
  • Six points on your driving record.
  • Driver Responsibility Fee of $1,000 for OWI or $500 for OWPD.
  • If a restricted license is issued, you will be required to install an ignition interlock for one year.

Second offense

If the second offense is within seven years, it is a misdemeanor. If convicted, you could face:

  • A $200 to $1,000 fine, plus possibly five days to one year in jail, and 30 to 90 days of community service.
  • A minimum of one year driver's license revocation and denial (minimum of five years if there was a prior revocation within seven years).
  • License plate confiscation.
  • Vehicle immobilization for 90 to 180 days, unless you forfeit the vehicle.
  • Possible vehicle forfeiture.
  • 6 points added to your driving record.
  • Driver Responsibility Fee of $1,000.
  • If a restricted license is issued, you will be required to install an ignition interlock for one year.

Third offense

The third offense is a felony. If convicted, you could face:

  • A $500 to $5,000 fine and either one to five years imprisonment or probation with 30 days to one year in jail.
  • 60 to 180 days of community service.
  • Minimum driver's license revocation and denial for one year if there are two convictions within seven years or three convictions within 10 years. If there was a prior revocation within seven years, the revocation period is a minimum of five years.
  • License plate confiscation.
  • Vehicle immobilization for one to three years, unless you forfeit the vehicle.
  • Possible vehicle forfeiture.
  • Vehicle registration denial.
  • Six points added to your driver's record.
  • Driver Responsibility Fee of $1,000.
  • If a restricted license is issued, you will be required to install an ignition interlock for one year.

High blood alcohol content (BAC) penalties in Michigan

If you're convicted of operating your vehicle with a BAC of .17 or higher, you're likely to face similar penalties to the above, but with harsher consequences. Here are fines and penalties you could face for your first offense with high BAC in Michigan.

  • One or more of the following: Up to 180 days in jail; a $200 to $700 fine; up to 360 days of community service.
  • Driver's license suspension for one year. You can be eligible for driving with restrictions after 45 days of suspension if an ignition interlock is installed in your vehicle.
  • Possible license plate confiscation if you operate a vehicle without a proper ignition interlock device.
  • Mandatory vehicle immobilization if you're subsequently convicted of operating a vehicle without a properly installed ignition interlock device.
  • Six points added to your driving record.
  • Driver Responsibility Fee of $1,000.

Zero tolerance penalties (under age 21) in Michigan

First offense

  • Up to a $250 fine, or up to 360 hours of community service, or both.
  • Driver's license restricted for 30 days.
  • Four points added to your driving record.
  • Driver Responsibility Fee of $500.
  • If a restricted license is issued, you will be required to install an ignition interlock for one year.

Second offense within seven years

  • One or more of the following: Up to a $500 fine; up to 60 days of community service; up to 93 days in jail.
  • Driver's license suspension for 90 days. If you have a prior drunk or drugged driving conviction, a driver's license revocation and denial for a minimum of one year (minimum of five years if there was a prior revocation within seven years).
  • Four points added to your driving record.
  • Driver Responsibility Fee of $500.
  • If a restricted license is issued, you will be required to install an ignition interlock for one year.

Refusal to take chemical test in Michigan

Under Michigan's Implied Consent Law, all drivers are considered to have given consent to take a chemical test to determine BAC or the presence of drugs in the body. Refusal to take the test could mean:

  • Six points added to your driving record.
  • One-year license suspension for your first refusal.
  • Two-year license suspension if you refused to take the test one or more times within the previous seven years. You will not be allowed a hardship appeal.
  • A face fine up to $150 plus court costs.

Driving while impaired penalty source: Michigan Secretary of State and the National Conference of State Legislatures

Distracted driving laws in Michigan

Prohibits drivers from using hand-held cell phone while driving

No

All cellphone ban

Only school bus drivers

All cellphone use banned for novice drivers

Yes, drivers with a Level 1 or Level 2 license

Text messaging ban while driving

All drivers

Source: Governors Highway Safety Association


Updated June 18, 2018

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