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IPS / Lighthouse Insurance Group Blog: michigan auto insurance

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image of truck jumping car batteryWinter is upon us. Cold weather, deep freezes and winter precipitation can often damage car batteries. Batteries die at a higher rate during the winter.

During cold weather, it takes more energy for a car battery to start a car. If the battery has damage or is old, the excessive energy use may cause a battery to die or not function properly.

Battery maintenance should be a priority for every driver. The typical battery lasts around five years, and many can last much longer. The average cost of replacing a car battery is around $200 according to

Battery replacement can be a very hefty cost. In most cases, your car insurance won’t cover battery replacement due to normal wear and tear or purposeful negligence.

It is your responsibility to make sure that a battery functions properly. Not only will a functioning battery protect your money, it can also protect your car itself. You don’t want a bad battery to put a drain on the rest of your car.

Here are some tips to keep in mind to manage your battery health and make small adjustments.

  • Don’t leave on your headlights, radio or other internal electrical systems. Turn them off before turning off the car. If you leave these on, they can drain your battery without your knowledge.
  • Make sure that battery cables are not loose. Also ensure that the battery does not leak and has no corrosion.
  • Consider keeping your car covered or in a garage. These steps help insulate the engine and the battery and can reduce the effects of cold on batteries.
  • If your battery does die, don’t attempt to restart the car multiple times. If the car won’t crank after one or two tries, don’t drain residual power by attempting to restart the car.
  • When you have to use jumper cables to restart a car, leave them connected long enough to build up power. Also, many experts recommend that you drive your car for a period of time after jumping it to rebuild power.
  • Have your mechanic regularly check your battery’s water levels, insulation and power terminals.
  • Batteries are sensitive systems. If you are not a car mechanic, you shouldn’t attempt to replace or fix a battery yourself.

Car batteries have long lives. They cost a large amount to replace. You want to do everything you can to keep your battery properly functioning for as long as possible. Following some of these steps will help you do so.

Insurance Planning Service is here to help you. If you want to learn more about Michigan auto insurance and battery maintenance, visit our auto insurance page on our website. You can also call us at (800) 220-5582.

man in rental carWhen buying a vehicle, your lender may require that you have comprehensive auto insurance on it. This provides a safety net for the lender. If the vehicle is a total loss, such as after a fire or a theft, the insurance plan helps to cover the loss. When leasing a vehicle, you may have the same requirements, or those that are similar. Those who lease a vehicle never fully own it outright, making it even more important for you to maintain the most appropriate and effective car insurance plan.

What Types of Auto Insurance Must You Have?

When signing a lease for a vehicle, the company can outline what your specific requirements may be. In most situations, you could be required to maintain the following types of coverage:

  • Comprehensive insurance. This pays for damage resulting from incidents such as storm damage, flooding, hail, fires, and theft.
  • Collision insurance. This type of insurance helps to pay for damage to the vehicle that occurs when you are involved in a collision that you caused, such as backing into a pole or hitting another vehicle.
  • Liability insurance. You may need to have at least the state required minimum liability insurance. The lease holder here wants to ensure you are operating the vehicle legally. Liability insurance offers no protection to you or the lease holder, but to other drivers when you cause damage to their person or vehicle.

Is that enough? It’s often advisable to have extended liability insurance since most state-required levels are very low and often not enough to pay for the damage resulting from a single incident. In addition to this, you may also need to carry under-insured and uninsured plans, medical payments, and coverage for any special equipment. You may also need gap insurance. It is nearly always more affordable to purchase gap insurance, often required by lease holders, from an insurance agency rather than buying it directly from the leasing company.

The right amount and type of insurance coverage can save you a great deal of money. And, it offers the protection you need to safeguard against risks that could occur while you are operating your leased vehicle. Ensure your policy meets all standards required under your lease agreement.

We’ll help keep you safe on the road. Call Insurance Planning Service at (734) 421-9900 for more information on Michigan auto insurance.

image of cop writing a ticketAuto insurance companies provide a specific product to drivers based on the amount of risk the individual has. If that risk level changes, there is more risk present to the insurance company. As a result, car insurance providers may raise rates to compensate. An incidents in which you get a ticket can lead to a higher premium because it shows insurance agencies you are more of a risk to them. But, how much will it impact you?

Here's What You Need to Know if You Get a Ticket

Non-moving violations, such as parking tickets, do not often lead to any change in premium. However, other types of traffic violations, especially those in which damage occurs, can lead to a higher premium for you. Reckless driving tickets or other moving violations can lead to a boost in your costs, but it's important to know that there are often steps you can take to minimize those costs.

First, consider how long it has been since your last ticket. If you have had several tickets in a year or so, this shows the insurance company you are a higher level of risk of another accident or instance, causing them to raise your rates. If you haven't had any prior moving violations, and thus do not have any or many points on your driver's license, you may not see an increase at all. Bear in mind, that each insurance provider has different regulations and guidelines that they follow when determining rates.

What to Do If You Get a Traffic Ticket

If you get a moving violation, don't ignore it. In many cases, you will be able to take a driving safety course or refresher. Doing so may amount to only a few hours spent online or at a local agency, but it may prevent points from being added to your driver's license (and therefore you may not have to worry about an increase in your rates).

In addition to this, be proactive. Take a defensive driving course. Work to reduce your points over time. By being a safe driver going forward, your car insurance rates are likely to come down again. And, if they do not, consider changing to a new auto insurance provider who can offer you a more affordable insurance premium.

Find out if your rates will be impacted. Call Insurance Planning Service at (800) 220-5582 for more information on Michigan auto insurance.

Also Read: How to Save on Your Teen's Auto Insurance

teen driving and adjusting mirrorHaving a teenager is a major challenge and when he or she is ready to drive, feeling anxious is perfectly understandable. Even for experienced motorists, driving is a dangerous activity. Yet another challenge is finding auto insurance for your teen that's affordable. Insurance companies often consider teens to be a high risk because of their lack of road experience and you may be faced with higher premiums accordingly. However, there are ways to keep these rates as low as possible.

Enroll Your Teen in a Defensive Driving Course

Many insurance companies provide discounts for teens who have taken a defensive driving course beyond the basic driver's education course. In addition to the insurance discount, it helps make your teen a better and safer driver. The standard driver's education course and the road practice required for getting a license is only the beginning of what it takes to be a safe driver. A good defensive driving course will give your teen a head start.

Inform Your Insurer about Your Teen's Good Grades

Good grades indicate responsibility and maturity. These two qualities make people better and safer drivers. Because of this, most insurers will offer a discount for students with at least a B average (you will need to show proof). This is yet another good reason to encourage your kids to study hard.

Raise the Deductible

The deductible is the amount of money you have to pay in the event of an accident. Damages above the deductible are paid by the insurer. Substantial monthly savings are possible by raising the deductible (the more risk you assume following an accident, the less you pay per month), but it is done at risk. You are betting that your teen will not get into an accident. If you have the deductible amount already saved away, this option could be for you.

Buy a Used Car with a Good Safety Record

Expensive high-end cars and high performance "muscle" cars cost more to insure. Buy a car that's a few years old with an excellent safety rating. Make sure that it isn't a popular car for thieves. It should also include anti-lock brakes, stability control, airbags and an anti-theft device. These features help to reduce premium rates.

Talk to Your Independent Insurance Agent

Your insurance agent can tell you more about the above tips and offer more suggestions. The more information the agent knows about your situation, the better he or she can find the right policy for your teen.

How much can you save? Call Insurance Planning Service at (734) 421-9900 for more information on Michigan auto insurance.

AutoWe all know that auto insurance in Michigan is expensive. In fact, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, our premiums auto insurance premiums rank 7th highest in the country.  SB-248 has passed the Senate Insurance Committee and the House Insurance Committee, and sill soon come to a congressional vote.  If passed, the framework will be in place to lower Michigan's auto insurance rates.

One of the largest issues has been a combination of Michigan's unlimited medical benefits coupled with auto insurers being required to pay-as-billed for medical services.  Other medical payers, such as health insurance companies, pay medical providers based on an agreed schedule of fees - as is the case with PPOs or HMOs.  Others such as workers compensation and Medicare pay providers based on a schedule enacted by law.  In contrast, Michigan auto insurance companies have been required to pay whatever they're billed by the providers, often being three to four times more that what other types of insurers pay for the same treatment. One element of SB-248 would establish a fee schedule to enable auto insurers to pay amounts similar to that of other health insurance companies.  This will not change the medical services available - only the amount auto insurance companies will have to pay for them.  Still, there will be no maximum limit or cap on what can be paid...only that along the way, amounts paid will become reasonable and in line with other types of insurers.

SB-248 will provide for an Insurance Fraud Authority to go after schemers who abuse our no-fault insurance system.  Michigan's unique unlimited lifetime no-fault medical benefits have led to increasing fraudulent claims.  According to a study by Hillsdale Policy Group, auto insurance fraud costs an estimated $400 million.  Michigan is only one of eight states without a fraud authority to investigate and prosecute fraud, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau.

SB-248 still provides for reimbursement for non-skilled family-provided care, but limits payment to family members to $15 hour and no more than 24 hours per day.  That's still $131,000 per year!  This limit doesn't apply if the family attendant is a licensed professional.

SB-248 proposes a $100 / car rate rollback on auto insurance policies.

SB-248 changes the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association (MCCA) to a new Michigan Catastrophic Claims Corporation (MCCC) that will function differently and be more transparent.  The purpose of the MCCC will be to fund the portion of auto-related medical claims in excess of $545,000.  At present, the MCCA pays out over $80 million per month for catastrophic injuries.

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Lighthouse Group Main Office in Grand Rapids, MI
Mailing Address | P.O. Box 530009, Livonia, MI 48153

Phone: 734.421.9900 | Toll Free: 800.220.5582 | Fax: 734.421.9911

Also serving these Detroit area communities in Michigan: Livonia, Farmington Hills, Ann Arbor, Southfield, Plymouth, Canton, Westland, Northville, Novi, Dearborn, South Lyon & Walled Lake