You probably have heard news reports about many changes in your automobile insurance coverages starting in 2019 and which are continuing. The reality is that there are many changes to your insurance policy including some that are not even part of the new law. These changes can tremendously impact your family, if you are unaware of them and do not protect yourself.
One example is the “family step-down” clause. This is a clause that significantly limits the coverages available to your family members in the event of serious injuries from an auto accident. Your insurance agent can, and should, recommend high insurance policy limits to protect you/ your family in the event that you cause an accident that injures someone. But what about you and your family? What happens if a family member causes a crash that injures spouse or child from the same household? The family could (logically) conclude that they are covered by the same Bodily Injury Liability limits that are listed in the policy and paid for with the insurance policy premiums. This is where the ‘fine print’ comes in.
If the insurance policy contains a ‘family step-down’ clause, the residents of the household injured in that collision are reduced to the State of Michigan minimum for their injuries, even though the insurance policy lists a much higher bodily injury limit. This clause is most often buried within exclusions deep within the policy. The effect of this clause provides total strangers with more insurance coverage than members of your household! Worse yet, you, as the policyholder, are not given a choice under the law, or under the insurance policy. You, as the policyholder are stuck with this coverage, learning about it after the collision occurs.
The ‘family step-down’ clause is not part of Michigan law. Not all insurance companies choose to restrict their insured with this horrible clause. However, it is important that you reach out to your insurance agent before a crash in order to understand your options and understand what questions to ask your insurance agent. If an accident has already occurred, it is even more important to speak with a lawyer, such as The Law Offices of Henry Hanflik, in order to quickly understand your rights and what coverages are available to you and to your family. This is particularly true now that new laws have been enacted which will significantly impact your rights.
The new law has many twists and turns which can trip up the uninformed. You cannot rely upon an ordinary lawyer to properly represent you; your lawyer must have vast knowledge of the no-fault law, and work with it every day. Our office has more than 50 years of experience understanding and working with Michigan’s No-Fault Act and automobile insurance coverages. We have experience advising our clients on how to maximize their benefits from a crash that has occurred and also how to advise our clients to protect themselves for the future.
When you need our services, call the Law Offices of Henry Hanflik, and speak with Henry Hanflik, Kurt Brown, and the helpful and knowledgeable staff.