For years, the city of Detroit has been infamous for its urban decline and economic struggles. However, as the city finally begins showing signs of recovery, Detroit residents still have a costly problem: studies show that drivers in the area pay the highest car insurance rates in the nation, averaging $5,000 a year. As a result, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan is pushing a bill that he says could give his constituents more affordable auto insurance rates. However, area legislators say they are skeptical that Duggan’s affordable insurance plan will be as beneficial as he thinks.
In a community meeting held at the Little Rock Baptist Church on Thursday, April 30, Duggan revealed the details of his drastic new D-Insurance bill: the plan would provide a minimum $25,000 in personal injury protection and cap medical coverage at an additional $250,000. Any additional health care costs would be the responsibility of the driver’s health insurance services. Duggan called the issue the most complicated problem he has worked on during his career, but estimated that the bill could reduce annual insurance bills by $1,000 while still providing more benefits than 48 other states. If the bill passes, Duggan said that the city would put out competitive bids for companies to provide insurance services for Detroit.
However, many legislators are skeptical about the bill’s benefits, with one state representative even remarking that driving with no insurance would be better than driving with D-insurance. Firstly, many people are unsure how D-insurance would play into Michigan’s current insurance laws, including the state’s lifetime insurance benefits for drivers with catastrophic injuries. Secondly, lawmakers argue that because the plan doesn’t include collision coverage and will reduce health coverage, it will have a significant financial impact on area residents. Some predicted that the plan will increase the number of lawsuits between non-Detroiters and city residents involved in accidents, as people will run out of benefits and see their wages garnished as a result. Others called Duggan’s efforts well-meaning, but say that he has placed too much trust in insurance services.
Whether the D-Insurance bill passes or not, however, it is clear that area legislators must figure out how to get insurance that Detroit residents can afford. Currently, the high insurance rates in the city are cited as the reason behind the high number of uninsured drivers in the city, as well as the significant number who can’t afford a car at all. Many also say it is a major reason they chose to relocate out of the city. As crime and other problems in the area decrease and Detroit’s reputation begins to improve, some speculate that these prices could drop in time. However, if Detroit residents are going to enjoy the benefits of their improving city, lawmakers must find a way to make their lives more affordable until these results take effect.