Lansing, Michigan


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David Mittleman
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Michigan Police Officers Can Check Whether You Have Car Insurance by Running Your Plate


A few weeks ago, I posted two articles about no-fault and uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance coverage in Michigan.  In our state, drivers are required by law to have valid auto insurance when driving on our roadways.  Typically, motorists would be asked to provide proof of insurance during a traffic stop or at the scene of an accident.  But about 6 months ago, new search capabilities began allowing law enforcement officers to check insurance status simply by running a vehicle’s license plate.

Easier To Nab Drivers Without Insurance

Approximately 20 percent of Michigan’s drivers are uninsured, compared to the national average of about 13 percent.  Uninsured drivers can cause problems for everyone, because economic costs are shifted to insured drivers, health insurance companies, and even to taxpayers via medical benefits provided by Medicaid and Medicare.  Allowing police officers to readily identify uninsured motorists will hopefully deter this behavior.

System Still Has Shortcomings

Currently, insurance companies update the Secretary of State twice per month with reports of which vehicles are insured.  As a result, the information available to police officers may not be completely up-to-date and some motorists might actually be insured even though the system says they are not.  That raises concerns about officers using license plate searches as a primary reason for stopping a vehicle.


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  1. Don Birkholz says:
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    David’s liability insurance probably costs 200$ per year and he probably has to work maybe one hour per year for his insurance. A low income single woman with three teens has to pay maybe 8,000$ or work several months for her family’s insurance, which, of course, she does not do, and is most likely not purchasing. Putting the screws to this household will likely result in more on food stamps, more down to the food bank, more stolen license plates, more stolen cars, more landlords not getting their rent. Not a good solution. People should protect their own assets instead of expecting indigents to pay 70% of their paychecks to protect other’s assets. The insurance people also concur.

  2. Jon says:
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    Playing the “lawyer as fat cat” answers nothing & moves no discussion forward. While I don’t know David’s finances, I do know that they are none of my business; they are none of yours, either. David is a hard-working, conscientious attorney, who busts his ass for his clients.

    Personally, I wonder why the state of Michigan has been telling us for 12 years, that they cannot assist in identifying insurance coverage, when they have been collecting this information all along. There used to be a state-managed resource, where information like this could be verified. It seems that the state of Michigan has been lying to it’s citizens for years. And yet another subject.