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When You Are a Michigan Resident Under Michigan Auto Insurance Law

Michigan has a four separate and distinct seasons.  Many people who call themselves “Michiganders” try to find someplace warm to get away from the harsh cold of Michigan winters.  These “snowbirds” sometimes leave the state for periods of greater than 30 days. This presents some very important issues and pitfalls with regard to Michigan auto insurance law.

Michigan Auto Insurance is Expensive

Michigan remains in the top five for highest auto insurance rates in the entire country.  However, if you are a resident of the State of Michigan, you are required to carry Michigan no-fault insurance coverage on your car.

Often, Michiganders traveling to other states do and should change their auto insurance to the insurance of the state in which they are residing for an extended period of time.  A good rule of thumb would be 30 days.  If you are residing in another state for a period of 30 days or greater, you should (and you may be required to depending on the state) change to auto insurance for that state.  That way you can rest assured that you will have proper coverage should an accident occur while you are residing in that state.

Now, your extended out of state stay is over and you are coming back to Michigan.  What should you do with your auto insurance?  For so many, it is so tempting to just keep your, cheaper, out of state insurance going.  After all, you feel like you are insured because you are paying for auto insurance for your vehicles. Under Michigan Law, you are required to and you must change your auto insurance back to Michigan insurance.  Failure to do so would render you uninsured in an auto accident.

Out of State Residents Just Visiting or Working in Michigan for a Period of Time

Another interesting scenario is when an out of state resident comes to Michigan to work for an extended period of time.  These individuals often stay in hotels or do short term rentals for the duration of their stay.  They have absolutely no intention to stay in Michigan.  Often, their families remain in their state of origin and, once their Michigan obligations are complete, they will return to the state from which they came to rejoin their family.

The Michigan Law on this topic states as follows:

MCLA 500.3102(1): A nonresident owner or registrant of a motor vehicle or motorcycle not registered in this state shall not operate or permit the motor vehicle or motorcycle to be operated in this state for an aggregate of more than 30 calendar days unless he or she continuously maintains security for the payment of benefits pursuant to this chapter.


Under this law, if you are living in Michigan, you may keep your out of state insurance for only the first 30 days.  After the first 30 days, you are required to obtain a proper Michigan insurance policy.  Also, it is important to note that the 30 days is an aggregate (or total) amount of days in a calendar year.  Failure to comply with this law will render you uninsured for your accident.

Jumping from State to State?

Here are some Do’s and Don’t’s:

  • DO: get auto insurance for the state in which you are residing if you are residing in that state for a period of greater than 30 days.
  • DO: notify your Michigan insurer of your intention to leave the state for a period of greater than 30 days.  Sometimes, if you are insured with a large insurer, they can change your policy to auto insurance for the state in which you intend to live for greater than 30 days.  This provides convenience and documentation of your notification to the insurance company.
  • DON’T: Do not live out of state without changing your insurance to that state.
  • DON’T: Do not continue your out of state insurance once you move back to the State of Michigan because it is cheaper.  This will render you uninsured and may have tragic consequences on your ability to get your medical bills paid and to seek compensation from the driver who caused your accident.

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Femminineo Law, PLLC is Michigan’s finest personal injury firm. He has succeeded in recovering hundreds of millions of dollars for victims of highway accidents, medical malpractice, slips and falls, and for wrongful death matters throughout the State of Michigan.

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