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Auto Insurance Archives

Insurance, Part I

What does your auto insurance policy get you? Many people buy auto insurance because they have to, not because they want it. However, knowing what you are paying for is important to understanding if what you have actually meets your needs. It is important that you understand that portion of your policy that is no-fault and that portion of your policy that is not.

Why You Should Report All Drivers On Your Car Insurance

Everyone loves saving money, but it could cost you if your current means of doing so include not listing all drivers of your vehicle on your insurance policy. SMDA recently worked a case where the insurance company claimed they were entitled to deny no-fault insurance benefits to our client because he allegedly was not listed as a named insured on his commercial vehicle automobile insurance policy. The company attempted to apply the holding from the Court of Appeals in Barnes v Farmers, 308 Mich App 1 (2014), to this case involving a commercial policy to ask the Court to rule that our client was not entitled to receive No-Fault insurance benefits following a collision. However, the Court determined that the Barnes case only pertained to personal automobile insurance policies and not commercial policies. Since the SMDA client was operating a commercial vehicle at the time of the accident, the holding from Barnes was inapplicable to our client. However, our case should act as a good reminder for anyone, especially families, with a personal No-Fault automobile insurance policy to list all drivers of the car on the policy, no matter how little time they spend in it and here's why:

One Step Closer to Justice for Grieving Family

SMDA is pleased to update the status of the victory in the trial win against the auto insurer of a grieving family of their minor daughter who was seriously injured in a motor vehicle collision. SMDA tried this case to verdict and successfully defended the case in the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court. The case was tried over three days in August of 2015. SMDA, with the assistance of counsel for Mary Free Bed Hospital and Covenant Health Care, won a verdict of over one million dollars following a hard fought trial. Plaintiff's daughter, who passed away in a house fire before trial, was 15 years old at the time of the crash. She sustained serious injuries as a result of a single car accident while she was on her way to school. Her right to receive automobile no-fault insurance benefits rested on whether or not the she had permission to drive the car. Since the insurance company alleged that she did not have permission and thus was not entitled to receive any benefits from her mother's automobile insurance policy, it was their burden to explicitly prove she took the car without her parents' permission. Although her mother initially stated that her daughter had taken the car without permission, under testimony both parents and the minor plaintiff unequivocally testified that she had permission to take the family car. The insurance company also argued that permission could not be legally granted because the minor only had a permit and she could not legally operate the vehicle without a licensed adult in the car.

Coordinating No-Fault Insurance with Health Care Insurance

The Michigan No-Fault law provides in pertinent part: An insurer providing personal protection insurance benefits shall offer, at appropriately reduced premium rates, deductibles and exclusions, reasonably related to other health and accident coverage on the insured.

Paying for car damage after an accident

In Michigan, if you are involved in a car accident that was caused by another driver, you are entitled to recover up to $1000 from the at-fault driver's insurance company. You must contact the insurance company of the driver who caused the accident and ask for the mini tort coverage. You should include photos of your vehicle, estimate of repairs, the police report, and a declaration sheet from your own automobile insurance company.

Who Pays For Vehicle Damage After A Car Accident?

If you are involved in a car accident that was caused by another driver, you are entitled to recover money for the damages. Michigan has a mini tort law in which a victim of a car accident can recover up to $1000 for damage caused to his/her car. This amount is recovered from the automobile insurance company of the driver who caused the accident. You, or your attorney, must contact and make a claim with the at fault driver's insurance company and request the money. This amount is to cover your deductible, and then your own insurance company should cover for the remaining damage.

Auto Insurance, Part II

What do your premiums get you?It is important that when you purchase auto insurance that you have a discussion with your agent about uninsured motorist coverage, underinsured motorist coverage and liability coverage.

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