Michigan No-Fault Car Insurance

If you're injured in a car accident in Michigan, you'll need to turn first (and maybe exclusively) to your own car insurance coverage to get compensation for your medical bills and other out-of-pocket losses.

Vehicle owners in Michigan are probably aware that they're in a "no-fault" car insurance state, which means their options for pursuing a claim are often limited if they're injured in a car accident. In this article, we'll cover the details of Michigan's no-fault car insurance system.

No-Fault Car Insurance in Michigan

Michigan is one of about a dozen states that follow some variation of a "no-fault" car insurance system. In a no-fault scheme, your own car insurance coverage (in Michigan, that means your "personal injury protection" or "PIP" coverage) pays for your medical treatment and other out-of-pocket losses after a car accident, up to policy limits, regardless of who caused the crash.

It's not just the policyholder who is entitled to PIP coverage in Michigan. PIP benefits are also available to:

  • any family member living in the policyholder's house (even when the family member is a passenger in another person's car, or is injured in a traffic accident as a pedestrian)
  • any passenger or pedestrian who does not have their own no-fault policy, and gets hurt in an accident involving the policyholder's car, and
  • any motorcyclist who is hurt in a traffic accident involving the policyholder's car.

The benefits provided by PIP coverage include:

  • all costs of medical care made necessary by the accident
  • wages lost due to the injury (up to 85 percent of income you would've earned if you hadn't gotten hurt, for up to three years, although the exact amount you can recover for lost income changes every year), and
  • up to $20 per day in "replacement services"—for someone to take care of household chores that you're unable to perform because of the accident, for example.

PIP benefits are capped at an amount that is revised annually in Michigan.

The "Property Protection Insurance" component of Michigan's no-fault rules will pay up to $1 million in any damage your car does to another person's property in Michigan—for example, if your car hits a building. PPI will only pay for damage your car does to another vehicle if the vehicle was properly parked. It won't cover vehicle damage caused by an accident between moving vehicles, and it won't apply to damage to your own vehicle.

Michigan No-Fault and Liability Claims

Michigan no-fault insurance provides "residual liability" protection which "pays your defense costs and any damages you are found liable for as the result of an auto accident, up to the limits of the policy," according to the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services. In other words, if you're found legally at fault for a car accident, your no-fault policy will provide the following minimum amounts of coverage (you can pay more for higher limits):

  • $20,000 per person hurt or killed in an accident
  • $40,000 per accident in which more than one person is hurt or killed, and
  • $10,000 per accident for property damage for an accident that occurs in another state.

It's important to note that with a PIP/no-fault claim, you can't get compensation for your "pain and suffering" and other non-monetary damages stemming from the accident. In order to step outside of the no-fault system and file a third-party insurance claim or lawsuit against the at-fault driver in Michigan (so that "pain and suffering" and other non-economic losses are on the table):

  • the accident must have caused serious impairment of a bodily function, permanent and serious disfigurement, or death
  • the at-fault driver must be a non-resident whose vehicle is not insured in Michigan
  • the accident must have occurred in another state, or
  • the suit must be for $1,000 or less in damage to your car, the damage must not not covered by your own insurance, and the other driver must be 50 percent or more at fault.

If one or more of these thresholds is met, you can hold the at-fault driver responsible for the accident via a third-party car insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit, and you can pursue compensation for all categories of losses, including (for injury cases) pain and suffering and all other available non-economic damages (which, again, aren't available in a no-fault/PIP claim).

More Information on Car Insurance in Michigan

The Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services offers several helpful resources on no-fault insurance coverage in Michigan, including A Brief Explanation of Michigan No-Fault Insurance.

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