Does Hitting A Deer Raise Your Insurance?
There are about 50,000 car accidents involving deer every year in Michigan. Hitting a deer can be a traumatic experience. Deer are large animals and collisions can cause serious injuries and property damage. To add insult to injury, many drivers worry that on top of everything else, they will end up paying more for their car insurance if they file a claim.
Will Your Insurance Go Up After Hitting a Deer?
Comprehensive insurance covers collisions with animals. Comprehensive claims usually do not cause your insurance rates to increase. However, insurance companies do consider your entire claims history when setting rates, so if you file an unusually large number of comprehensive claims, it could affect your rates. Different insurance companies have different criteria for assessing surcharges after accidents. If you are unsure whether an accident may affect your rates, ask your insurance agent.
Will Your Rates Go Up If You File an Injury Claim After Hitting a Deer?
If you or the passengers in your vehicle have injuries caused by a collision with a deer, the personal injury protection coverage on your policy covers your medical expenses and lost wages that result from the accident. On average, car insurance premiums increase by about $4 per year after a PIP claim. However, most of this increase is due to claims where the driver is at-fault for an accident. A PIP claim because of a deer collision may not affect your rates.
What Kind of Accident Can Increase Your Rates?
Accidents caused by you or someone else driving your car are the most likely to increase your insurance rates. Your insurance company cannot increase your rates in the middle of a policy period. However, if the driver of your vehicle is 50% or more at fault for an accident, your insurance company will probably assess a surcharge when your policy renews.
The more damage the accident caused, the more your rates are likely to go up. If you cause too many accidents or engage in other risky behaviors, such as driving while intoxicated or speeding, your insurance company may decide not to renew your policy at all.
Minor accidents, such as a fender bender in a parking lot, probably will not cause your rates to increase as much as a serious accident, but your rates probably will still increase. Additionally, even though most insurance companies only increase rates for at-fault accidents, because Michigan is a no-fault insurance state, insurance companies may choose to increase rates even for accidents that someone else caused because those accidents still cost your insurance company money.
How Much Will Your Insurance Rates Go Up for At-Fault Accidents?
Michigan drivers pay some of the highest insurance rates in the country. At $5,821 per year, Michigan drivers pay the highest average premiums for full coverage after an accident claim. Industry research shows that average rates for Michigan drivers increase between 37% and 57% per year following an accident.
Why Is Auto Insurance So Expensive in Michigan?
With an average cost of $2,345 per year for full coverage and $946 per year for minimum coverage, Michigan auto insurance rates cost about 32% more than the national average for full coverage and 75% more for minimum coverage. Multiple factors affect the price of auto insurance in the state.
No-Fault Insurance System
In most states, insurance companies can control their costs by refusing to insure risky drivers or charging them higher premiums. The no-fault system in Michigan requires all drivers to purchase personal injury protection coverage and all insurance companies must pay for their own policyholder’s injuries, even when another driver causes the accident.
Legislatures designed the no-fault system to reduce litigation, ensure people had coverage for their medical expenses and make the system fairer. However, in recognition of the high costs Michigan drivers are paying, the state reformed the no-fault system for policies issued or renewed after July 1, 2020.
This change removed the requirement for all drivers to purchase an unlimited amount of PIP coverage. Instead, drivers can choose a limit that fits their needs and budget. In some circumstances, drivers can opt out of PIP coverage completely or exclude specific family members from coverage. This reform also requires insurance companies to reduce PIP premiums by an average of 10% to 45% from 2020 to 2028, depending on which PIP option drivers select.
Minimum Insurance Requirements
Michigan law requires drivers to purchase PIP coverage, a minimum of 50/100/10 liability coverage and $1 million in coverage for damage to third-party properties. While these requirements help protect Michigan drivers from catastrophic uncompensated medical expenses and property damage, they also result in higher insurance rates.
With 25.5% of the drivers in the state having no insurance, Michigan was the second worst state for uninsured motorists in a recent study. When uninsured motorists cause accidents, the people they injure must turn to their own policies for coverage which drives up insurance rates.
According to the Michigan Fraud Investigation Unit, 21% of bodily injury claims and 18% of PIP claims closed with evidence of fraud. The more insurance companies pay out in fraudulent claims, the more they charge customers in premiums.
Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association
MCCA is a non-profit organization that reimburses no-fault insurance companies for PIP claims that exceed a specific amount. The MCCA charges all auto insurance companies in the state to cover these claims and in turn, the insurance companies pass that cost on to Michigan drivers.
How Can You Save Money on Your Car Insurance?
There are several steps you can take to reduce your auto insurance premiums.
Insurance rates can vary substantially from one company to another, so even if your rates are higher because of an accident, you can still shop for a better rate. When comparing insurance companies, ask what the company’s policy is for increasing rates after a comprehensive claim, PIP claim, fault and no-fault accident. You can also research data on which companies charge the lowest rates after accidents.
Do Not Purchase Optional Coverages
Collision and comprehensive coverage are optional coverages in Michigan. Electing not to purchase these coverages can lower your premiums. However, if you hit a deer and you do not have comprehensive coverage, you will have to pay for your car repairs yourself.
Choose a Higher Deductible
Your deductible is the portion of your property damage you must pay for before your insurance will pay for anything. The higher your deductible is, the lower your premiums will be, though you also will have higher out-of-pocket expenses if you have an accident.
Choose a Lower PIP Coverage Limit
You can still purchase unlimited PIP coverage; however, that is the most expensive option. Choosing a $500,000 or $250,000 limit will lower the PIP portion of your premium. If you have other health insurance that covers auto accident injuries, you may also be able to purchase coverage with exclusions at a lower rate.
What If Someone Else Causes an Accident?
Michigan’s no-fault insurance laws provide protection for all drivers; however, if you have serious injuries or have lost a loved one due to someone else’s negligence, you may be able to seek compensation from the responsible party. Contact the Mike Morse Law Firm at 855-645-3946 to schedule a consultation.