? Auto and Home owners insurance

kathyg_in_mi

We were with Auto Owners insurance for probably 10 years. This year DH contacted other companies to see if he could get a better rate. We are saving $400 a year thru Progressive, a nice little savings.

He did not call Auto Owners that we were changing insurance. AO needed to be renewed by 7/1/2020.

So we get a letter in the mail saying we owe AO $350. DH calls and tells them we had a contract with them that expired 7/1/2020, and we did not renew.

A second letter came today and AO is going to send this to a collection agency!

DH has contacted the Michigan insurance complaints agency and they are sending him a form to fill out.

Anyone know if we have a leg to stand on?

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Comments (28)
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barbara_tpa

I would say if you can prove that you were covered from 7/1/2020 onward with your new insurance company, that would be enough proof. Others?

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Elmer J Fudd

I disagree. Why would the prior company care or not care about what was done with another company? Their relationship was with the insured and they were not told to cancel coverage.

Insurance companies are cautious about cancelling policies for non-payment. I'd heard in California, there was a prohibition on doing so for some number of months earlier this year because of the economic/health crisis.

That doesn't affect someone in MI, but I'd think it's a normal practice to not immediately cancel a policy because of tardy payments. For many insurance companies, with many customers, that's a normal occurrence.

I'm not a lawyer. I think your choices are to either talk to one or pay the bill. You didn't cancel the policy and the insurance company followed its normal practice of continuing coverage. I suspect the money is due but you should check to be sure.

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Bluebell66

Do you have an insurance agent? If so, it seems like they should be able to sort this out for you.

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maddielee

it depends on your state...


“4. How to cancel car insurance

Once you're insured with the new company, you'll need to know how to cancel car insurance with your old insurer. Some states have laws that prevent a cancellation during the first month or 60 days to keep drivers from buying a policy temporarily to meet registration or license requirements and then canceling. But there are exceptions. You can cancel if:

  • You can show proof that you obtained another car insurance policy with a different insurer, or
  • You no longer own the vehicle that you insured on the policy

Contact your insurer to cancel your auto insurance explaining you have a new policy. You'll probably need to put the cancellation in writing and provide proof of insurance from your new auto insurance company. When switching auto insurance, set your effective cancellation date to the same day your new policy begins to avoid a lapse. Make sure you get it in writing.”


Link



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nicole___

Usually after it's been sent to collections, it's out of the hands of the insurance company. You can try calling Auto Owners, explaining the situation. There's always a chance.

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C Marlin

Send the old company a copy of the dec page of your new policy. They won't double insure, the most they will do is collect half. Many times collection is a threat only.

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moosemac

A little off topic but if you live in a state that requires mandatory auto insurance, double check directly with the DMV that your new insurance is on file with the DMV. I have seen this happen a lot lately and it is an unpleasant surprise to be pulled over and towed for no insurance because your insurance company failed to notify the DMV.

I would also check with your home mortgage company to be sure they have the updated information i.e. new insurance company on file.


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maifleur03

My insurance company sends a notice that the charges were due and if any changes to contact them. Sounds like someone ignored that mailing/email and subsequent ones stating that it was not paid. You can talk to the insurance company and hope.

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chloebud

I wouldn't assume the old policy would just cancel. I know some new insurers will handle the cancellation for you, but I'd still want written confirmation. It does make sense you shouldn't be responsible for paying them past your contract date of 7/1/20. They clearly aren't going with that. That being said, my guess is you'll likely be okay. Next time just call and ask about cancellation procedures.


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Elizabeth

Even though you did not pay the old policy when due on 7/1 when it renewed, they may not have cancelled your account for another 30 days, for non-payment. You did not give them an effective date of cancellation. Although the policies overlapped you probably have to pay Auto Owners. ( In my opinion...not a lawyer here )

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Lucille

Anyone know if we have a leg to stand on?

No, you do not.

In Michigan, you should have notified them. In order for them to drop coverage they would have had to wait until after 10 days of nonpayment and sent a notice. You didn't, and they didn't, and the insurance continued and must be paid for.


https://www.michiganautolaw.com/blog/2019/09/12/car-insurance-cancellation-for-non-payment/

Specifically, under Michigan law regarding car insurance cancellation for non-payment, if an insurer doesn’t provide the legally required 10-day notice of cancellation after the nonpayment has occurred, then it cannot lawfully cancel a person’s policy and coverage will continue either until the person pays his or her premium or until the insurer issues a proper notice.


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olychick

I've always canceled when changing companies because otherwise you'll get a notice of cancellation from the first company that could show up on your record and affect your ability to insure in the future (should you want to switch again).

It's a falsehood that once in collections it's out of their hands. If they cancel the debt, there is no debt to collect.

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chloebud

"...they may not have cancelled your account for another 30 days..."

Good point. I know ours does the 30 days. I also think they send at least one notice, maybe two, before canceling.

Found this online, although Kathy's situation could be different since her contract did expire.

Q - If I don't want a policy to continue, can I just not pay the premium and go elsewhere?

A - Many people think that the way to "not renew" policy is just not to pay. Always call the company to make sure what the procedure is to cancel and let them know your intention.

Never allow a policy to be canceled for non-payment just because you don't need the insurance anymore. Insurance companies may do soft-credit checks on your credit score, and they also take into consideration if you have been canceled for non-payment before. This will impact your insurance credit rating and make it difficult for you to get affordable insurance.

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Elizabeth

If they do send it to a collection agency and you are notified, make sure you promptly notify them, in writing, that you are contesting the charges and will not be paying unless it does not resolve in your favor. This and the non-payment on the policy will show up on your credit score.

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Rose Pekelnicky

When you got insurance with the new company you should have notified the old company that you weren't renewing.

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Lukki Irish

Unless Michigan (with it’s weird insurance laws is different) they can’t make you pay for an insurance renewal. However the law and your mortgage company require you to have insurance and lapse insurance is expensive. By pursuing the payment, they are basically allowing you to get yourself covered in the rears. I’ve had that happen before and it’s an easy fix. Just send them a copy of the binder or deck sheet showing you had insurance through Progressive from 7/1/2020 until now and they should cancel it out. Also, this may be reduntant but just in case, don’t forget to make sure that any lenders you have for the cars or house have a copy as well showing they are assigned as the loss payee.

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1929Spanish-GW

I used to be an agent. This is the statement is an indicator that you've been through the process and that should have told you what to do...

We were with Auto Owners insurance for probably 10 years.

Every year they would have sent you an updated Declarations Page, any policy amendments & notifications, and your premium for the next term. That's the renewal process. If you were going to be non-renewed by the company, they would have sent you that notice within a similar notification period.

When you received the renewal packet (I believe most states require 30-60 days ahead), your acceptance was indicated by the absence of a cancellation request.

Also, before sending you to collections, you should have received at least one late notice. Third party collections costs the company money, so they try and recover premium first.

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joyfulguy

While I'm Iliving in Ontario, next door to Michigan, the rules may well be dfferent, but here, if the company hasn't received payment by the expiry date, I have no insurance as of 12:01 of next day.

My last day is Oct. 31, I went to the office yesterday, they want an appointment, or a phone number to call on the door (that I assume was locked).

I called the number, they wanted me to pay by credit card, I need some issues discussed, so will call today to ask for an appointment.

But if I, who've been them for over 10 years, haven't paid by Oct. 31, will have no insurance.

ole joyful

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Elmer J Fudd

Insurance tends to be regulated by states and there are vast differences from one to the next. There are curious places where state lines run down the middle of a street, so that neighbors living on opposite sides of one street can be subject to very different rules and circumstances for their insurance. You're in a foreign country, there's no reason to expect any similarities between Canadian insurance rules compared to insurance in any particular US state.

Having said that, I've never heard of a cancellation due to reasonably late payment but that's perhaps among the rules in my state. There are long grace periods. I once received a car insurance bill, left on a rather long trip during which the insurance expiration and due date periods passed, and found warnings of cancellation on my return. I paid it quite late, more than one month. My insurance remained in force.


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jrb451

Has anyone had an “at fault” accident after the expiration date of their policy and before submitting payment for renewal and had their insurance company balk at coverage? I can understand an insurance company accepting late payment and continuing coverage if nothing happened.

ETA: My State Farm policy states "This policy expires on the date due if the premium is not paid." Been with them for 35+ years.

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Elmer J Fudd

If the policy hasn't been legally and formally cancelled, then it's in force. Payment or no payment.

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maifleur03

jrb I can only comment about this state but here at least there is a grace period that is written into the fine print of some policies. It was 30 days after the due date. If payment was made during that time the insurance did not lapse. However if it was one day after that day it was a company decision. What was sent was notification of reinstatement of a lapsed policy. The person who brought me the letter did not tell me how the insurance company handled the accident.

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Lucille


Has anyone had an “at fault” accident after the expiration date of their policy and before submitting payment for renewal and had their insurance company balk at coverage?

This is why Michigan's notice statute is so precise, as my link in my previous post details. There were substantial changes to Michigan auto insurance statutes in 2019.

Specifically, under Michigan law regarding car insurance cancellation for non-payment, if an insurer doesn’t provide the legally required 10-day notice of cancellation after the nonpayment has occurred, then it cannot lawfully cancel a person’s policy and coverage will continue either until the person pays his or her premium or until the insurer issues a proper notice.

This protection is invaluable for a driver who have been injured in a car accident and his or her insurer is trying to avoid paying No-Fault benefits by claiming that it does not have to provide coverage because the driver’s policy had been cancelled due to nonpayment of premiums.

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jrb451

So, the OPs coverage with AO continued even though they obtained new coverage from Progressive. In the case of a claimable event which coverage would pay? Does Michigan law address this? Not trying to be difficult.

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Elmer J Fudd

I think a general principle in insurance coverage, that may certainly vary from place to place, is that for certain things you can't be doubly insured. You can have tiers of coverage that doesn't overlap. A good example is the case of non-optional duplicative medical insurance from two sources - one will be considered as primary, the other secondary.

I would expect that an existing auto policy in force that hasn't been legally cancelled would be considered as primary, and the secondary one could only be relevant for portions of a loss not covered by the primary coverage.

That's my speculation, I have no knowledge of the specifics that apply in MI.

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jrb451

It would be interesting to hear the arguments that the 2 companies would present should this occur.

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C Marlin

Insurance does vary by state law, in CA each company would pay 50%. That's the rub, if an event occurred the insured may file a claim with the company they now want to cancel.

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1929Spanish-GW

Michigan is still no-fault, correct? That didn't change, did it?

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