Michigan Insurance Lawyer says Drivers Should Still Steer Clear of Insurance Company
As a no-fault insurance lawyer, I’m constantly asked by family, friends and people I meet for the first time about what Michigan auto insurance companies I personally like and recommend. After all, in the past 15 years, I’ve dealt with every insurance company in Michigan, and I’ve seen how they’ve treated hundreds of my clients.
To be absolutely clear, I have never recommended State Farm. Normally, I tell people not to choose the company for auto insurance, because from my experience, State Farm has treated its policyholders – my clients – worse than many of the other auto insurance companies I deal with. Since truth is an absolute defense, I and the other auto accident lawyers here at Michigan Auto Law can give countless examples of real clients who have been horribly mistreated by State Farm: I’ve seen State Farm adjusters cut people’s benefits off for no apparent reason, and refuse to give a reason. I’ve seen them deny payments to medical doctors without any contrary medical evidence and without even “cut-off” second opinion insurance medical examinations first. I’ve seen State Farm insurance adjusters put their policyholders “under investigation,” again, causing tremendous hardship for absolutely no reason.
In Michigan, a state without bad faith laws and punitive damages, State Farm can get away with this behavior moreso than other states. State Farm is hardly “a good neighbor” like its warm and fuzzy commercials suggest.
However, State Farm is also one of the three biggest auto insurance companies in Michigan, and thousands of people are insured with them. Therefore, even though I do not personally recommend State Farm, I do want their current insureds be aware of a very important new option the company is offering in Michigan: underinsured motorist coverage (UIM). State Farm was one of the last insurance companies refusing to offer underinsured motorist coverage until this recent change, and as I understand it, they are not advertising the change to policyholders.
Underinsured motorist coverage provides a valuable source of legal recovery after an accident, when someone is injured by another driver who does not have adequate insurance coverage. State Farm now offers underinsured motorist coverage up to $250,000 per person and $500,000 per accident. This means that in the event of a car accident, State Farm will pay up to $250,000 in insurance coverage per person, even if the person who causes a serious car accident only has $20,000 in coverage (the minimum) and no assets. State Farm will pay up to the per accident maximum of $500,000 only if multiple people are injured. Keep in mind, no person can get more than $250,000, even if their personal injuries are worth far more, because the amount is contractual.
If you have State Farm and you decide to stay, I strongly recommend that you add on underinsured motorist coverage. Due to the struggling economy, there is a good chance that when a serious car accident or truck accident occurs in Michigan, one of the drivers will be uninsured or underinsured. One recent article said that half of the drivers in Detroit are driving without any insurance whatsoever, so adding underinsured and uninsured motorist coverage becomes more important today than ever before.
Tell your insurance agent you want both uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. Almost every insurance company in Michigan now offers these important coverages. Meanwhile, read about the 10 worst insurance companies in Michigan. State Farm makes the list.
— Steven M. Gursten is recognized as one of the nation’s top experts in serious car and truck accident injury cases and automobile insurance no-fault litigation. Steve has served on the executive board of the Michigan Association for Justice (formerly the Michigan Trial Lawyers Association), where he co-chairs the Automobile Accident No-Fault Committee.
Michigan Auto Law is the largest law firm exclusively handling car accident, truck accident and motorcycle accident cases throughout the entire state. We have offices in Southfield, Detroit, Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids and Sterling Heights. If you are confused about your no-fault insurance policy or have questions about uninsured motorist coverage call (800) 777-0028 to speak directly with a lawyer.