As representative for the 110th State House District, I’ve put over 600,000 miles on my car driving between my home in Calumet and Lansing to be a voice for the people of the Upper Peninsula. As I go around the district, people tell me that basics like gas, utility bills, and health care are becoming unaffordable for working families. And everywhere I go, people ask why car insurance premiums are so outrageous in the State of Michigan.
For far too long, drivers in the U.P. have been forced to pay inflated auto insurance rates. The problem is a failure Lansing leadership, who have let the auto insurance industry profit off the backs of hardworking families without consequences.
Michigan has some of the highest auto premiums in the country because we have some of the laxest regulations in the country. Simply put, we let insurance companies get away with highway robbery when it comes to setting rates for consumers.
Here are a few things the auto insurers don’t want you to know:
Women pay up to 40 percent more in higher premiums in Michigan, and there no rules to stop insurance companies from charging them more.
Didn’t go to college? Auto insurance companies think you’re less trustworthy, and they’re allowed to set your rates higher because of it.
Behind on your bills? Insurance companies can raise your premiums if you have less-than-perfect credit.
I’m fighting to end the unfair practice of using credit scores and other non-driving factors to determine your rate. I’m working toward reducing costs for seniors, reining in healthcare costs and increasing transparency in how rates are set for drivers. I want the state to crack down on fraud by creating an authority that protects consumers, not special interests.
Last year, Lansing Republicans tried to push through bad legislation that was written by the insurance industry, for the insurance industry. It would have gutted ratepayer protections under the guise of lowering your premiums. But the plan was nothing but a political gimmick, pretending to reduce your costs when in reality, they gave insurance companies a loophole to get out of lowering your rates if they could show they would miss out on profits as a result.
If Lansing wants to get serious about auto insurance reform, there are good plans that have the support of both Republicans and Democrats. Plans that would stop insurance companies from charging you more based on non-driving factors, crack down on fraud, and allow you to choose the level of coverage that makes sense for you and your family.
My commitment to the people of the Upper Peninsula has never wavered: I will support a real, long-term solution that lowers premiums for all Michigan drivers without gutting the quality of your coverage. But to do that, we need to hold insurance companies accountable. It’s long past time for the leadership in Lansing to stop making excuses and get to work on legislation that benefits the people, and I’m ready to work with them when they do. That is my promise to you.