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No-Fault Explained: Property Protection Insurance

Most of the Michigan No-Fault Act addresses people who are hurt through the use of a motor vehicle. A serious auto accident can also cause physical damage. The law for recovering property protection insurance benefits is complicated, and easily misunderstood.

No-Fault Property Protection Insurance

Michigan no-fault property protection insurance is built in to your mandatory auto insurance policy. If your property is damaged in a serious auto accident, it will pay up to $1,000,000.00 toward the damage. This is a no-fault benefit, so you don’t have to prove the driver caused the accident, only that the vehicle was involved in the accident.

First Party Exclusion

If you only read MCL 500.3121, you might think all your property is covered if you are driving and get into an accident. That’s wrong. MCL 500.3123 contains a huge exclusion that could leave you and your family without coverage. The law excludes property protection insurance for:

Property owned by a person named in a property protection insurance policy, the person’s spouse or a relative of either domiciled in the same household, if the person named, the person’s spouse, or the relative was the owner, registrant, or operator of a vehicle involved in the motor vehicle accident out of which the property damage arose.

In other words, you can’t file a property protection insurance claim against your own insurance policy, or the policy of your spouse or a member of your household. If your teenage driver accidentally backs your car into your wife’s SUV, you may be paying all the repair bills yourself.

Third Party Property Claims

Most personal property claims arise from damage caused by a vehicle to something else. Courts have awarded property protection benefits to the owners of:

  • Muscle-powered vehicles like bicycles;
  • Buildings or homes damaged by vehicles;
  • Parked cars; and
  • Property that suffers environmental damage.

Often, it is the owners of the land where an accident happened that sue for property protection insurance benefits, not anyone involved in the accident. However, benefits are also available to passengers who are not members of the same household, and bicyclists or pedestrians who are struck by cars.

What About My Vehicle?

If your car is damaged in an auto accident, you will have to rely on your optional collision coverage to pay for the damage. If someone else caused the accident, you may be able to sue them for a part of the deductible (up to $1,000). You are also able to collect for damage done intentionally, by uninsured motorists, or by vehicle repair shops.

The attorneys at Christensen Law can help you file your property protection insurance claim and ensure you get the value of your property back. If your property has been damaged by a motor vehicle, contact Christensen Law today for a free consultation.