Insurance in Michigan is complicated. There are lot of different things to think about, such as what coverages you need to buy, the cars you need to cover for and what car insurance company you can trust.
But as any good Detroit or Michigan car accident lawyer will tell you, no matter what you must tell the truth and not hide information when buying car insurance. Michigan has very stringent rules when it comes to applying for auto insurance. And the repercussions for breaking these rules can be severe. A car insurance company can deny a claim and completely rescind the entire policy right after an accident – right when you need it most – if it believes there was fraud or a material misrepresentation when the car insurance was taken out.
The fallout from a car insurance company claiming a material misrepresentation or fraud is enormous. This can prevent you from getting your medical bills paid, lost wages reimbursed, getting prescriptions paid, and obtaining medical treatment for your injuries.
In addition, if you are driving an uninsured car that you own at the time of the car crash, you cannot then obtain pain and suffering for your injuries. This is true even if the other driver caused the accident.
So if you fail to tell the truth when applying for car insurance, you are essentially paying for car insurance for no reason. If something bad happens, they will deny the claim and tell you they are not responsible for paying you any benefits.
Here are some pointers to keep in mind when applying for and purchasing Michigan car insurance. Keep these things in mind so you don’t have a situation in the future where Progressive, Geico or LA Insurance is claiming you committed fraud when getting car insurance.
Disclose All Cars In The Household:
When you are purchasing auto insurance, basically the auto insurance company is insuring risk. And under Michigan law, car insurance carriers are entitled to know the exact amount of risk they are insuring.
Risk is determined in a variety of ways. Driving record and age are two such factors. Another risk factor is the number of cars in the household. The more cars that are garaged at a home, the higher the risk. The higher the risk, the more money a car insurance company can charge for insuring that risk. As a result, car insurance companies are entitled to know how many cars an applicant has at the residence where the policy is purchased.
This means you must disclose ALL the cars that are located at the home when applying for insurance. Don’t get cute about this. If a car stays at the home overnight, then you must disclose it. If the car is owned by another person who doesn’t live at the home, but the car is driven by you or someone else who does live with the applicant, then that car MUST be disclosed.
If there is a vehicle at the home, but its already insured with another car insurance company, disclose it!
The failure to disclose all automobiles to the car insurance company can be devastating. Following a bad car crash, the car insurance company can use the failure to disclose vehicles as a reason to rescind an insurance policy.
This means at the very moment you need your car insurance to:
(1) pay for the car damage, (2) get no-fault benefits – such as the payment of medical expenses, or (3) get money for pain and suffering, the car insurance can void the policy and refuse to pay benefits.
Disclose All Residents In The Household
Another important thing to remember when applying for car insurance is to disclose all individuals living in the household. Don’t lie about the boyfriend who is living with you but has a bad driving record. Don’t forget to disclose your two nephews who are staying in the household and are of driving age. It is important to disclose everybody.
Again, the ramifications for failing to do so are dramatic. If you or a loved one is injured while operating one of the covered vehicles, the insurance carrier can rescind the car insurance policy if you failed to disclose individuals who were also staying in the same household.
Like I said before, car insurance carriers are insuring a risk. And the more individuals that live in a household the more risk there can be. And if the car insurance company finds out a policyholder was not being truthful about who was living in the home or apartment complex where the policy was taken out, it can use this wrongful conduct to cancel the policy and avoid paying benefits.
Don’t Hide Who Actually Owns the Vehicle
A lot of people will try to purchase insurance and not tell the car insurance company that the vehicle is actually owned by another person. The car insurance company – whether its Farm Bureau or State Farm – has no duty to investigate fraud in an application for insurance. In other words, they don’t have to investigate to see if the car was actually owned by a different person.
If a horrible car crash occurs, and someone is injured, that person can make a claim for Michigan no-fault benefits and pain and suffering. But the car insurance may seek to rescind or void the policy if it finds out the vehicle was actually owned by a person it never knew about.
Again, car insurance companies insure risk, and if the owner and driver of a vehicle is someone they did not know about, they did not have the opportunity to properly weigh that risk. Under Michigan law, that is sufficient reason for the auto carrier to rescind the policy.
When You Move, Tell the Car Insurance Company
This is a big one. And it’s so easy to forget but it’s very important. If you are moving to another house or apartment, even if it’s for only a month, you must tell your car insurance company so they know where the car will be garaged.
For example, if you live in Detroit and you are going to move to Sterling Heights, you must tell your car insurance company about the move. This is because the car insurance will evaluate the risk of insuring the vehicles based in part upon where the vehicles will be staying. When vehicles stay at a different location, the risk changes.
I have seen it so many times where a client will fail to disclose to the car insurance company that they moved. The car is still being insured at one location when the person who has the insurance policy is now staying at an entirely different location. The auto insurance carrier will then rescind the policy and refuse to pay benefits.
If you were involved in a Detroit car accident, or an accident anywhere in Michigan, and the insurance company is alleging fraud, call our office. Our experienced and dedicated team of Detroit auto accident lawyers will evaluate your situation and answer your questions.
The telephone call is free and we never charge anything until we win your case. That is our guarantee. Call us at 1-800-LEE-FREE (1-800-533-3733).