State House may vote tonight on bill to reduce auto insurance premiums

Posted at 4:34 PM, Nov 02, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-02 18:40:21-04

LANSING, Mich. - The Michigan House of Representatives is expected to vote Thursday evening on House Bill 5013, which supporters say would cut the medical portion of Michigan's car insurance rates up to 40 percent.

But, while there is some bipartisan support, there is also some bipartisan opposition from some legislators who don't think the promises of the bill are possible. The bill lets drivers opt out of a requirement to carry unlimited medical benefits through their auto insurance for crash injuries.

The legislation seeks varying cuts in personal injury protection fees for motorists choosing less coverage.

Supporters say the bill would help drivers who face the highest premiums in the country. Opponents say it would lead to inadequate treatment for people with brain and other catastrophic injuries.

Rep. Winnie Brinks from Grand Rapids says the bill promises more than it can deliver.

“I really do believe there is plenty of room for reform in our auto insurance system and this is not the bill that does it,” Brinks said. “The house bill does not save people money in the way they’re representing and it’s resulting significantly in the loss of positive things that have happened if someone is unfortunate enough to experience a catastrophic accident.”

There were also protesters outside the house floor Thursday, who told FOX 17 cheaper options could come back to haunt someone if they’re ever involved in a catastrophic car accident.

“People don’t realize that it could happen to them,” said Julie Bumpus while protesting the bill Thursday.

Bumpus was paralyzed in a catastrophic car accident leaving her incapable of walking and using her hands. One surgery cost she and her family $180,000, saying without no-fault insurance, she would have been broke and living disabled on the street.

Under the legislation, any medial expenses that exceed someone’s personal injury coverage would be passed on to the insurance company, but opponents says not everyone has health insurance. Supporters of the bill, like Rep. Scott Vansingel of Grant admits there are some issues, but believes the bill is adequate enough to give it a ‘yes’ vote.

“We made a promise to people years ago when they bought policies and they were in accidents, and it protects the people adequately, so with that I was able to get to a yes on this,” Vansingel said.

Michigan has one of the highest auto insurance rates in the country for unlimited, no-fault insurance.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.