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Study: Michigan most costly state to own a car

gobankingrates.com reports that Michigan is the most expensive state to own a car.
flickr user Jeff B
gobankingrates.com reports that Michigan is the most expensive state to own a car.

Anyone who drives in Michigan is no stranger to the high cost of auto insurance in the state.

A study from gobankingrates.com finds the high cost of insurance contributes to Michigan being the most expensive state to own a car.

According to the study, it costs nearly $5,000 annually to own and maintain a vehicle in Michigan, with more than half that cost coming in the form of auto insurance premiums.

However, Pete Kuhnmuench, executive director of the Insurance Institute of Michigan, says Michigan drivers are getting the most "bang for your buck."

"What you buy in Michigan is far beyond in benefits what you would typically buy in any other state," Kuhnmuench said.

Michigan is one of a handful of states with no-fault insurance laws, but the only state to require auto insurance providers pay unlimited medical costs to people seriously injured in accidents.

That mandate adds costs to insurance policies, especially since Michigan law leaves limited room for auto insurers to negotiate hospital bills.

Efforts to change Michigan's auto insurance policies have failed in the past, but the protections they give consumers are unmatched.

"If you're going to mandate that everybody buys a Cadillac, it's not coming at a Kia price," Kuhnmuench said. "And unfortunately, many of our consumers can't afford that Cadillac."

Kuhnmuench says Michigan has a high rate of drivers without insurance, despite the fact that it's required by law.

Kuhnmuench says the driver of an uninsured vehicle who gets in an accident would be denied no-fault benefits, but any passengers would still receive all no-fault benefits.

"Over one in five vehicles out there is driving around uninsured," Kuhnmuench said. "(But) the impact is more on people who do insure their vehicle than the uninsured."

If a driver with insurance gets in an accident with a car whose driver who isn't insured, the medical costs of the uninsured car's passengers could get passed on to the insured driver's insurance provider. Or, those costs get passed on to "every other driver in the state" according to Kuhnmuench, through the Michigan Assigned Claims Plan.

Tyler Scott is the weekend afternoon host at Michigan Radio, though you can often hear him filling in at other times during the week. Tyler started in radio at age 18, as a board operator at WMLM 1520AM in Alma, Michigan, where he later became host of The Morning Show.
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