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Barrett supports reform to reduce car insurance rates

LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Tom Barrett on Tuesday voted to support legislation to reduce auto insurance rates in Michigan by providing drivers more coverage choices, cracking down on fraud and lawsuit abuse, and reducing inflated medical costs.

“This is the most meaningful vote I have cast in my time in the Legislature. The unaffordable cost of car insurance in our state is absolutely crippling our family budgets and our state’s ability to compete for new jobs and investment,” said Barrett, R-Charlotte. “We have now passed comprehensive, meaningful reforms that will finally make car insurance affordable again.”

According to an October 2018 report, Michigan drivers pay the highest auto insurance rates in the country — 83% higher than the national average. A recent University of Michigan study also said that auto insurance rates are unaffordable in 97% of the state’s ZIP codes.

Senate Bill 1 would require auto insurers to offer Michigan drivers at least three new personal injury protection (PIP) coverage options, including the ability of drivers with qualified medical coverage — such as health insurance, Medicare or Medicaid — to opt out of PIP coverage since they already have medical coverage for injuries.

“Drivers should be able to choose the amount of auto insurance coverage that fits their needs and their budget, and that is exactly what this reform provides,” Barrett said. “Depending on the coverage options drivers pick, they could save as much as 80% on their car insurance. And all drivers will still see savings due to cost controls and efforts to reduce fraud that are included in the reform.”

SB 1 would also reduce out-of-control medical costs that are passed on to drivers via higher rates, cut fraud and conflicts of interest in the auto insurance system, and reduce the announced $220 annual Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association fee by 80%.