By Mike Kruzman /

Local Chambers of Commerce came together with insurance experts for an informational webinar on the coming changes to auto insurance.

The Greater Brighton Area, Howell Area, and Hartland Area Chambers held the program this week with members from Hartland Insurance. Michigan enacted no- fault insurance in 1973, with Agent David Walker saying it looks very similar today as it did back then. While no-fault insurance is very robust, it comes with a steep price tag that has caused Michigan drivers to pay among the highest rates in the country for decades. That is changing July 2nd when new rules come into effect. Automobile owners were previously required to carry unlimited personal injury protection, or PIP, coverage. New legislation gives 6 options for limits, enacts a minimum reduction of 10% to rates, and lowers the cost of the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association fee. Hartland Insurance Agent Jim McGrain said they are recommending policy holders stick with unlimited coverage, noting their payments will still go down. Keeping unlimited coverage still brings a 10% discount on the PIP portion, and the MCAA fee will drop from $220 to $100.

Options 2 limits medical benefits to $500,000, brings a 20% savings and eliminates the MCCA fee. The third offers a 35% savings and no MCCA fee, but only $250,000 in benefits. Those options are available to all. People on Medicare, Medicaid, and those that have qualified health plan have additional options, including a potential opt-out, available.

With all these possibilities in play, Walker recommended that everybody have a conversation with their agent or somebody within the business. He urged, in particular, residents who do their policy shopping online to do so.

Walker said the downside to lower limits, is that people who have exhausted theirs now can seek recovery damages through litigation. One thing policy holders will see as a result is their bodily injury limits going up, though in a limited amount. Walker strongly encouraged that consumers talk with their agents about their options and the ramifications of making what decision they choose.