Three Awful Words that are Aggravating Detroiters and Damaging their Wallets by Chellyz View
Alright, I am about to type the three awful words that are leaving Detroiters feeling aggravated, defeated, and tormented. Auto Insurance Rates……. Eek eek eek eek! Did you hear that? It’s the haunted music that is associated with those terrifying words. I have listened to the campaigns of people vowing to address the outrageous automobile insurance rates Detroiters must pay. I have heard the outcries of Detroiters feeling the pain of their wallets being depleted due to unfair rates. Even if an individual is a good steward over their money, it doesn’t mean they should pay ridiculous premiums for auto insurance. Recently, I have felt the frustration when searching for the most affordable auto insurance rate. While trying to get my life right, something went wrong, and I allowed my insurance to lapse over a month ago. Then my horror story began!
For the past year, I was blessed to pay one of the most affordable auto rates I ever had in a longtime. Unfortunately, I missed a payment due to life circumstances, and was without automobile insurance for over thirty days. I called the insurance agent and was ready to renew my policy. However, I was informed I could no longer pay the fee monthly. I had to pay the six months up front, because I was being penalized for not having any insurance for over thirty days. Also, the rate had slightly increased. So, I paused then pleaded with the agent to just give me a chance, but according to policy there wasn’t a possibility to make a deal.
I frantically called several other agents hoping to find the lowest auto insurance rate. I also visited a few auto insurance offices in person. Ultimately, the torture of searching for affordable auto insurance became a pain in the well you already know. I received quotes as low as $405/mo. and as high as $937/mo. Can you believe it? All of these quotes were not only higher than my car note, but more than a studio apartment in the inner city with a utility included.
Let’s discuss the fact that I didn’t have any points on my driving record, but another driver ran into the back of my former car in January 2017. I was patiently sitting at a red light when a drunk driver ran into the car behind me, and then that car smashed into the back of my trunk. The effect left that my car totaled. I am forever grateful to the Holy Spirit I wasn’t injured, and only had to receive therapy for a few weeks due to slight back pain. Also, I was thankful I had insurance at that time to cover the damages. However, I was informed though I did not receive a ticket from that accident, my current rate would be being affected by the ordeal. I wanted to grab my car key and throw it across the room and call out Florida Evans classic line from Good Times, “Da##! Da##! Da##!” Michigan is a No-Fault State, but it feels as if the blame is being placed on Detroiters.
Last year, a bill was introduced to reduce rates for Detroit citizens. The proposal failed, because it was very controversial. To reduce rates customers would have the option of deciding which package to choose for their personal injury protection (PIP). It was stated the cost of auto rates would reduce by allowing citizens to choose their own protection plan. However, there was no guarantee rates would drastically reduce for Detroiters. According to an article retrieved from http://www.MLive.com entitled, “Bill to lower Michigan auto insurance rates fails in late-night vote” stated “A key part of the failed package was letting people choose their levels of personal injury protection. A person could choose the $250,000 coverage, $500,000 to save 20 percent on the PIP portion or their coverage or unlimited coverage and save 10 percent.” If an individual chose not to have unlimited coverage for their PIP it would have been devastating and costly. For example, an individual who did not have unlimited pip coverage or a primary medical carrier to pay for services such as physical therapy, or chore services if care is needed on a long-term basis due to a severe auto accident, they would have to face even greater out of pocket medical expenses.
So, how are Detroiters getting by with these crazy auto insurance rates? They are not. Often you will see new to seasoned automobiles with major damage on these streets for two reasons. First, people are “riding dirty” (singing in my Chamillionaire voice), because they don’t have insurance. Another reason is people with insurance have an extremely high deductible to lower their insurance policy which is also not affordable. Many citizens use out of state license plates and addresses to soothe their pockets of the unfair rates. Also, people find methods to beat the system by “borrowing” someone else’s address who live in another city in Michigan. Even the new Detroiters who are moving in upscale apartments downtown are using suburban addresses. One article retrieved from www.michiganradio.org entitled, “Detroit sues Dan Gilbert’s Bedrock over tenant information” indicated, “As the city notes in court filings, “Some residents who reside in the city of Detroit use a suburban address of a relative or friend for purposes of obtaining lower auto insurance rates and/or for the purpose of avoiding city income tax liability.”
Unfortunately, many people even myself prayed that nothing would happen until I could rob Peter to pay Paul to renew my policy. Some drivers would purchase a seven-day policy to renew their license and vehicle tab when it is their birthday season. In case you didn’t know, the seven-day policy no longer exists in Michigan. Thanks, Lawmakers! You continue to show how much you truly don’t care! Oh yeah, I was offered another auto insurance that would cover my vehicle in the case of an accident, fire, vandalism or theft. The down payment for it was decent, but the agent told me the punchline to the joke. The insurance is not valid in the state of MI, and if I was stopped by the police, I could be fined with a $150 ticket for invalid insurance. In addition, I was told to contact the finance company to inquiry if they offered insurance until my policy was reinstated. The company told me they did not offer any auto coverage.
As the story continues to unfold, one agent told me to just park the car for awhile since his quote was too costly. Ummmm, I don’t think that is a permanent solution, but merci beaucoup for your suggestion. The Motor City was known as an auto industry, and the much needed improvements for mass public transportation has never been a number one agenda though efforts are slowly being made. I see the uprising of bike lanes and the usage of electric scooters increasing in the city. Hmmmm, then again maybe I could avoid auto insurance if I didn’t utilize my car. However, riding my beloved bike and/or attempting to ride an electric scooter every day aren’t feasible solutions due to the structure of my life i.e. being a chauffeur for my children. Anyway, the snow will soon be covering Detroit grounds, and it would be difficult for me to maneuver on either device. You know, I did see quite a few people last winter riding their bikes in five to several inches of snow on streets that were not plowed. I will leave that skillful act to the experts!
Let me say this, shopping for auto insurance is a horrible experience in Detroit. Most agents sounded sympathetic when telling me why the rates were so high and apologized while trying to explain the justifications of the injustices of unfair auto rates. However, I thought can’t these agents be a part of the solution and lobby against these high you know so and so rates. Oh right, but that ain’t their issue if the money is being made. I know one politician is stating in her commercial, “Fix the Da## Roads.” I am yelling at the television, “Correct these Unfair Rates!” The powers that be have given people another reason to move, but as I always tell my peeps that’s not an option for me. This issue will be addressed, Someway, Someday, and Somehow!!!!! It needs to be resolved, because I will have a teenage driver in the house within the next two years. My wallet can’t handle any additional stress.
-Let your heart be full of new ventures that will lead you to the possibilities of limitless conversations!
Lawler, Emily. “Bill to lower Michigan auto insurance rates fails in late-night vote.” Michigan News, 11/3/2017 https://www.mlive.com/news/index.ssf/2017/11/bill_to_lower_michigan_auto_in.html Accessed 28 October 2018
Cwiek, Sarah. “Detroit sues Dan Gilbert’s Bedrock over tenant information.” Michigan Radio, 05/14/2018 http://www.michiganradio.org/post/detroit-sues-dan-gilberts-bedrock-over-tenant-information Accessed 28 October 2018