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Guide to Michigan Collision Coverage and Auto Insurance

Read on to learn more about the different kinds of collision coverage in Michigan.  To speak with a trusted car accident attorney in Michigan, call 1-866-22Not33 or reach us through our contact page today. 

Different Kinds of Collision Coverage in Michigan

Vehicle owners in Michigan can buy 3 types of collision coverage, depending upon how much you want to spend, and what level of risk you are willing to take if your car is damaged. Here are the choices:

  1. Limited Collision Coverage: You can buy insurance to pay for repairs to your vehicle as long as you are not more than 50% at fault for the accident. However, if you buy limited coverage and are more than 50% responsible for the collision, you get no coverage. You are on you own to fix or repair your car or truck. This kind of coverage can be purchased with a deductible to make it even less expensive, but you will pay the deductible if you were 50% or less responsible for the damage to your vehicle, and you still get nothing if you were more than half at fault.
  2. Standard Collision Coverage: This kind of coverage will pay for the damage to your vehicle no matter who was at fault, but there will be a deductible that you will pay even if you weren’t at fault (you might get mini-tort coverage from the other driver for up to $1,000 if you were less than 50% at fault to repay your deductible—see our blog entry about mini-tort).
  3. Broad Form Collision Coverage: This is the most expensive, but the most comprehensive collision coverage you can buy. It pays to fix or replace (insurance company’s choice) your vehicle no matter who caused the collision, just like Standard Form Coverage. The difference is that you don’t pay a deductible if you were less than 50% at fault for the accident. You will pay a deductible if you were mostly at fault, but your insurance will cover the rest.

Does My ‘Comprehensive’ Auto Coverage Pay for Property Damaged in a Collision?

Usually not. The comprehensive rider on you auto policy pays for damage to your vehicle that is caused if it is stolen, or is damaged in an incident that doesn’t involve a collision, such as hitting a deer. But this doesn’t usually cover things like clothing or a booster seat that might be damaged in a collision, but aren’t part of the car itself.

Your collision coverage is the source of payment for damage to your vehicle that is caused by hitting or being hit by another vehicle.

You might be able to use your homeowner’s policy to pay for personal items in your car that are damaged in a collision. Remember, there will be a deductible on your homeowner’s coverage, and making repeated claims on any insurance policy is going to make your rates go up. You will also have a deductible on your comprehensive coverage if you use it to pay for non-collision damage to your vehicle. You have to decide if the cost of the deductible, plus the higher premium you might have to pay after making a claim justify using your insurance.

Don’t forget that personal items that are prescribed by a doctor, such as hearing aids or eyeglasses are medical devices that can be reimbursed under the no-fault portion of your coverage if they are damaged in a collision.

Does Third-Party Coverage Apply to Intentional Auto Injuries?

I know I can sue a driver who carelessly runs into me and hurts me seriously, but what happens if that driver hurt me on purpose?

Many people are hurt by drivers who intentionally crash into them after an argument, or during “road rage” incidents. If the other driver is at fault for crashing into you, and you are seriously hurt, you can still file a bodily injury claim against that person. Even if the other person’s car insurance says that it doesn’t cover intentionally-caused injuries, our courts have said that only applies to their injuries, not yours.

So while nobody wants to get into a situation where tempers flare, and people end up being run over or crashed into, the fact is that these incidents occur. You are not excluded from filing a body injury claim for pain and suffering against the other, so long as you were not the one who was at fault.

Remember, if you were not the person who caused the collision, you still get your no-fault benefits from your own car insurance or through the standard priority system that we have discussed elsewhere in this blog. It is important to note that if you get hurt in an accident that you caused on purpose, your auto insurance may refuse to cover your medical expenses or wage loss, because your injuries were not “accidental.”

This is yet another reason why you don’t want to get involved in road rage, no matter how justified you may feel your actions are at the time.

Source: 95 Mich App 213; MCL 500.3131; MCL 500.3135(3)(a); MCL 500. 500.3105(4)

Do I Get the Amount of Bodily Injury Coverage Listed On My Policy If I Get Hurt?

That is a question that callers ask us all the time.  The answer is No.

For one thing, the bodily injury coverage you buy on your Michigan auto insurance policy doesn’t cover you for accidents other  people cause.  It’s the other way around—your coverage protects you from injury claims made by people in accidents you cause.

The important thing to find out if you are hurt in a traffic accident in Michigan is how much liability coverage the other driver has. This is something you should probably let a lawyer do for you, since we don’t recommend that you contact the other driver’s insurance company yourself. You want to “level the field” early on in your claim in order to avoid giving too much of the wrong kind of information to your opponents.

The thing to keep in mind is that whatever amount of liability insurance your opponent has does not mean that you just make a phone call to their insurance company and go pick up a check for that amount.  To qualify for any money at all from the driver who causes an injury accident in Michigan, there are only four types of pain and suffering cases that are eligible. And you can be sure that the claims adjusters and lawyers for the other person’s insurance company will make every effort to look for information that damages the value of your claim—or reduces it to nothing, even if the accident wasn’t your fault.

What If Agent Didn’t Sell Me Proper Coverages

“What if I find out after an accident that my insurance agent didn’t sell me the proper coverages? Can I sue the agent for the mistake?”

Many people don’t pay much attention to their insurance coverages until they have an accident. Only then might they find out that they weren’t covered at all for a particular loss, or that they didn’t have nearly enough coverage to take care of their losses. The question often arises whether the insurance agent should have told the customer which coverages to buy, or how much to buy.

The answer is usually “No.” In Michigan, an insurance agent is generally just an “order taker” who sells you whatever you ask for. The agent doesn’t have a duty to help you figure out whether you are buying more or less coverage than you need, and it is your responsibility to know what your coverages are. As with most things in the law, there are some exceptions, although they can be difficult for the customer to prove. Here are the four exceptions:

  1. Did the agent tell you something about your coverage, or lack of it, that was incorrect?
  2. Did you make a request when you applied for coverage that the agent should have asked you to clarify?
  3. Did the agent offer advice about what you should do that turned out to be wrong?
  4. Did the agent promise to do something that the agent didn’t do?

Remember, you need proof to get anywhere with these exceptions. Your word alone against the agent means you lose.

Please keep in mind that the insurance policy is a contract. You are expected to know what it says. If you think you have been misled by an insurance agent and that you can prove one of the exceptions, a lawyer who does insurance work may be able to help you.

Contact An Attorney

Remember: the insurance company can place restrictions on who is allowed to repair your car, and how much the insurance company is going to pay. They are going to offer you what they consider the “fair market value” of your car, not what you think it is worth because of the extras you have added.

Many disputes arise over the appraisal of damage to vehicles, and you have a few options besides simply accepting what the insurance company offers to pay without questioning that offer. Attorneys who work on automobile injury cases will be able to guide you through these disputes.

Matz Injury Law is a personal injury law firm that specializes in auto accidents from cars to trucks and everything in between across the state of Michigan including Warren, Sterling Heights, Traverse City and beyond. If you or someone you know has been in an accident and needs a Car or truck accident attorney, contact our team for a case evaluation today.