House Bill 5111 and Eliminating the Harsh Widow Penalty by Auto Insurance Companies
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Eliminate the Auto Insurance Companies’ Harsh Widow Penalty

Legally Reviewed and Edited by: Terry Cochran

It’s shocking to see what insurance companies can still get away in 2019. Michigan’s no-fault law pertaining to automobile accidents first emerged in the 1970s as an attempt to making higher profits, which turned out to be true, until medical expenses continued to increase. Thus, leading to insurance bullies seeking to change the system again.

If you live in Michigan and aren’t familiar with the widow penalty, here’s what you need to know car insurance companies are charging much higher premiums to women who have lost their husbands. No changes to their driving records, no speeding tickets, no car accidents–these women are being made to pay more money for their car insurance for the sole reason of losing their partner.

House Bill 5111

Once the media and public were made aware of the auto insurance companies’ abhorrent behavior, the House Bill 5111 was established and first introduced in October 2017 by Rep. Sherry Gay-Dagnogo (D-Detroit). This bill is in progress and specifically aims to tear down the gender discrimination practiced by auto insurance companies. In its official text, the House Bill 5111 states: “An insurer shall not use any of the following factors in underwriting or establishing rates for automobile insurance: sex, marital status, race…”

The House Insurance Committee’s chair Rep. Lana Theis (R-Brighton) declined to be interviewed regarding the widow penalty when the media reached out to him. However, Theis still had the audacity to think establishing insurance rates based on gender or marital status was more rational than reducing others’ costs by 40%.

Insurance Companies Guilty of Gender Discrimination

According to studies and testing by the Consumer Federation of America, the following auto insurance companies charge higher rates for widows or charge drivers based on their gender and marital status: GEICO, Liberty, Esurance, Progressive, Farmers, and AAA.

AAA, in particular, was found guilty of charging a 200% increase for a Michigan resident’s insurance premiums after her husband had passed away. Her rates went from $200 to $300 without any warning nor reason.

It was recommended to her to enlist the help of attorneys who were familiar with the legal boundaries and automobile industry, such as a car accident lawyer or an auto accident lawyer.

Women’s Perpetual Fight for Equality

You would logically expect widows’ insurance payments would decrease, considering the fact that there is one less person on their plan and one less car on the road. But no. Gender discrimination was so extreme and tragically prevalent that politicians have to create a completely separate bill to prevent auto insurance companies from acting in such manner.

Studies show that men are actually involved in more car accidents than women. According to a 2017 study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 12,200 male drivers died in auto accidents or crashes, compared to only 5,151 deaths for female drivers–that’s more than double the difference. Even further, 71% of all motor vehicle crash deaths in that same year were male. Michigan’s terrible roads also likely play a factor in this issue.

Despite concrete evidence that shows women are less dangerous drivers and not as reckless on the road, females are being punished for inhumane reasons. Gender and marital discrimination should be extinct by now, but the unfortunate truth is that women still have a long road ahead of them.

What You Can Do

What You Can Do

Seek professional consultation. You should not be subjected to outright discrimination based on your gender or marital status. Losing someone you love is already strenuous enough–you should be allowed to grieve, rather than suffer from added financial burdens.

Determining financial payments based on gender and marital status is not only illegal but is fundamentally wrong on all levels. If you or someone you know have been subjected to this type of gender discrimination after losing your partner, you should seek an auto accident lawyer or lawyers specializing in insurance at Cochran, Kroll & Associates, P.C. in Michigan. You can call them at 1-866-MICH-LAW to receive professional legal counsel and a free case evaluation.

Disclaimer : The information provided is general and not for legal advice. The blogs are not intended to provide legal counsel and no attorney-client relationship is created nor intended.

Ms. Barry is studying Communications at the University of Pennsylvania. She has won multiple awards both for her persuasive and creative writing and has written extensively on the topics of medical malpractice law, personal and birth injury law, product liability law. When she's not researching and writing about these topics, she edits a literary magazine and tutors students at Penn's writing center.



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