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Worst Auto Insurance Companies: Progressive

Worthless Coverage Award

I always tell my clients and loved ones that before purchasing any auto insurance, you must ask yourself, “What is buried in the fine print?” Well, the fine print in Progressive’s uninsured motorist coverage (UM) is particularly nasty. This is why Progressive is on Michigan Auto Law’s list of the worst auto insurance companies.

In my case, Carducci v. Macomber, Detroit Edison, Progressive et. al, my client, Amie Carducci, was only 28 when she was struck nearly head-on by a negligent driver. She had 13 surgeries, spent nearly a month in the hospital, and has no memory of the crash due to her traumatic brain injury.

The driver who hit Amie did not have auto insurance. Amie, however, had purchased uninsured motorist coverage (UM) from Progressive. UM coverage is supposed to protect someone if she is injured in a car accident at the hands of an uninsured driver. Amie, like tens of thousands of Michigan residents, thought it would protect her. Remember, in some cities, such as Detroit and Pontiac, up to 50 percent of drivers are driving without insurance, so UM is important coverage.

But the UM coverage Amie purchased from Progressive was worthless. What Amie didn’t know was that Progressive had a policy allowing it to “set off” (subtract) the medical expenses and wage loss Amie’s workers compensation carrier had paid Amie before paying her uninsured motorist coverage. In other words, Progressive could subtract medical bills and wage loss being paid by another insurance company to avoid paying out on uninsured motorist coverage.

End result: Amie got nothing – $0 – for all of her injuries, pain and suffering, and surgeries from being hit by an uninsured driver. This all happened despite paying money to Progressive for coverage that was specifically meant to protect her if something exactly like this were ever to happen!

How Progressive’s uninsured motorist coverage policy affects you

This makes the Progressive policy that Amie Carducci purchased completely worthless. It means Progressive and other Michigan auto insurance companies can pocket the extra premiums they charged for these policies. And the “uninsured driver” protection its own customers are paying Progressive is also worthless. In fact, the more seriously hurt these Progressive customers are, the less likely Progressive is to pay anything.

If someone isn’t hurt badly, the insurance company can file a motion for summary disposition and have its defense lawyers try to have the case dismissed under Michigan’s harsh auto accident injury threshold law. But if someone is badly injured, Progressive can subtract the wage loss and medical bills from the coverage and again, pay nothing!

Sound too horrible to be true? It’s not. Amie received nothing from Progressive Insurance Company because of the fine print.

This means every person that buys UM and UIM from Progressive and some other insurance companies in Michigan may get nothing if they’re badly hurt and have other insurance, because auto insurance companies get to deduct insurance benefits paid for serious injuries from its UM and UIM coverage.

That kind of coverage is no coverage at all. It’s “worthless coverage.”

How you can protect yourself in the event of a car accident with an uninsured driver

In Michigan, uninsured motorist coverage is an optional coverage, meaning it is not mandatory and people who want it can pay a higher premium to protect themselves. Our insurance attorneys strongly recommend this coverage to all of our clients and friends. The cost is that of a movie and popcorn and it’s so well worth it.

Make sure to purchase a high policy amount. Let’s hope you don’t have 13 surgeries and huge medical bills like Amie did – that Progressive can “offset” to avoid paying.

Progressive Michigan Insurance Company is one of the most-complained-about auto insurers in Michigan

Progressive Michigan Insurance Company was one of the top 5 most-complained-about auto insurers among the nearly 80 auto insurance companies doing business in Michigan each of the last five years, according to data from the Michigan Office of Financial and Insurance Regulation (OFIR).

That means that during those years Progressive Michigan Insurance Company received more consumer complaints than any of the nearly 70 other auto insurers.

Progressive Michigan Insurance Company pays a small percentage of premiums on claims

Among Michigan’s largest auto insurers, Progressive Michigan Insurance Company is at the bottom of the list for paying out the smallest percentage of its premium dollars in claims for its auto-insurance customers, according to loss ratio data gathered by the Michigan Office of Financial and Insurance Regulation (OFIR).

For instance, for every premium dollar Progressive Michigan Insurance Company receives from Michigan drivers, it only pays out approximately $.48 in auto accident claims submitted by its auto-insurance customers.

Progressive Michigan Insurance Company auto insurance prices are some of the most expensive in Michigan

Among Michigan’s largest auto insurers, the auto insurance rates for Progressive Michigan Insurance Company were among the Top 5 most expensive in all 16 of the major Michigan markets examined in compiling the “Worst Auto Insurance Companies” list.

And, in 14 of those markets, Progressive Michigan’s auto insurance rates were the most expensive.

Complaints from Michigan consumers have increased against Progressive Michigan Insurance Company

Consumer complaints against Michigan Progressive Insurance Company increased between 2010 and 2011, according to data gathered by the Michigan Office of Financial and Insurance Regulation (OFIR).


  1. Insurance Institute of Michigan, 2010 and 2012 IIM Fact Book, “Top Writers of Auto Insurance in Michigan.” (Page 27)
  2. “Insurance Company Complaint Ratios” (“Coverage Type: Automobile”) for 2007 through 2011, Michigan Office of Financial and Insurance Regulation (OFIR).
  3. “2008 Buyers’ Guide to Auto Insurance,” Michigan Office of Financial and Insurance Regulation (OFIR)(Example 3: Pages 16-17).
  4. “The Competitiveness and Premium Excessiveness of the … Auto Insurance Industr[y] in the State of Michigan,” Michigan Office of Financial and Insurance Services (OFIS)[Now known as the Michigan Office of Financial and Insurance Regulation (OFIR)](“Appendix L: Auto Insurance Companies’ Combined Loss Ratios …”)

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