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What are the risks for driving without auto insurance in Michigan?

September 25, 2012 by Steven M. Gursten

If you choose to drive without auto insurance, think again.  Here are four serious consequences that you  face if you don’t have No-Fault.

1. You lose your right to collect No-Fault PIP (personal injury protection) insurance benefits. This is a huge loss.  If you are seriously injured in an automobile accident while driving your own uninsured vehicle, you will be disqualified under Michigan law from making any claim for No-Fault benefits.  This means you cannot collect wage loss for three years, and you lose your right to having lifetime necessary medical care  paid for by your own auto insurance company.  You also lose other valuable benefits, such as having  people come into your home to help you with chores (replacement services) and in cases of very serious auto accidents, in-home nursing services (attendant care). Since Michigan is a No-Fault state, you cannot  recover these expenses from the driver/owner of the other vehicle even if the other driver caused the crash.  You will  have no way to pay for your medical bills, except out of your own pocket.

2. You can’t sue. You are disqualified from bringing a pain and suffering claim against the at-fault driver.  You can’t sue. Period. You can’t sue even if you are completely innocent, even if you are paralyzed for life, and even if you bear no fault whatsoever for the car accident that caused your injuries.  The at-fault driver, even if he or she was driving drunk, escapes all responsibility for your pain and suffering damages and personal injuries.  Michigan has the harshest and most draconian law in the nation, and people who drive uninsured and are catastrophically hurt by another have no legal rights.

3. The other guy’s insurance company can sue you. If you’re in an automobile accident that involves another car, and the other driver’s No-Fault insurance company pays No-Fault benefits on behalf of the other driver, guess what?  They’re going to come after you.  You can be sued by the No-Fault insurance carrier of the other vehicle for reimbursement of all of the No-Fault benefits it pays out to the other driver. Here’s the kicker: this  is true even if the other driver is at fault and caused the accident!

4. You can’t collect your mini tort and you are stuck paying for your car damage.  Your car that got smashed and towed from the scene?  Well, when the new mini tort law takes effect on October 1st, 2012. Uninsured drivers in Michigan are singled out and specifically barred from collecting any money from the at-fault driver toward their car damage. That includes making a mini-tort claim for vehicle damage to your car.

But you say the accident wasn’t even your fault?  Doesn’t matter.  You are responsible for the full cost of your vehicle repairs.  And since you didn’t have auto insurance, that also means you didn’t spend the couple extra dollars for collision coverage on your insurance policy…and that, sadly now  means you are now stuck paying the full amount for your car damage out of your own pocket.

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