Snyder troubled by Novi’s No. 6 ranking in car insurance rates

The Detroit News

By Chad Livengood
Detroit News Lansing Bureau

Lansing — Gov. Rick Snyder caught the attention of auto insurers in his State of the State address last month when he said Novi’s car insurance rates are among the highest in the country.

Snyder, a self-professed data nerd, cited statistics from Runzheimer International that show Novi ranks No. 6 in the country with average auto insurance premiums of $2,890 a year — higher than drivers in Baltimore and Los Angeles pay.

Detroit’s auto insurance premiums were the highest at $6,456 and Muskegon ranked No. 9 at $2,711.

But insurance agents in the Novi area and industry experts are skeptical of the governor’s numbers and caution the rankings can be deceiving because they don’t account for discounts drivers get for having good driving records, short commutes to work and health insurance.

“We’ve always questioned the Runzheimer data,” said Pete Kuhnmuench, executive director of the Insurance Institute of Michigan. “I think it’s a little skewed.”

The average Michigan driver’s insurance premiums were $1,073 in 2010, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, the eighth highest in the country.

Runzheimer International, a Wisconsin-based an employee mobility firm, compared insurance rates based on “business driving” for a 2012 Chevrolet Malibu LS with $100,000 in liability limits and $300,000 for collision coverage — standard minimum coverage for most insurers.

A Runzheimer spokesman declined comment.

Patrick Moore, a car insurance agent at Metro Agency in Livonia, said there are “jillions of factors” in determining insurance rates.

Moore cited a recent quote for a 24-year-old driver with no prior accidents or tickets with a 2013 Chevrolet Impala. The annual premium was $1,677 in Troy and $1,494 in Novi, Moore said.

“I’m sure what (Snyder) said was true based on the data he was looking at,” Moore said.