Limited Property Damage Liabiltly Coverage or Mini-Tort (Michigan)

If you live in Michigan then you also have the option to purchase Limited Property Damage Liability Coverage.   Most Insurance companies will add this coverage for you because it’s usually very cheap.  I think it costs me $0.60 every 6 months on my current auto insurance policy.  That’s only $0.10 per month.

If you are liable for damage caused to another motor vehicle, you may be sued for amounts up to $500.00  This coverage provides protection for such a liability risk, should you be involved in a claim or lawsuit.  This coverage applies only for losses that occur in Michigan.  Typically if you have this coverage on your policy then your insurance company will cover the amount up to $500.00 for you.

I found that many people did not know that this type of coverage even existed.  There were different times when someone had a claim in our office and they had a deductible that they were responsible for.  If they were not considered at fault in the accident then I would process a claim with the other insurance company for them to recoup their deductible.  Under the Michigan No Fault Provision they can be reimbursed up to the $500 limit.   For example, if you have regular/standard collision insurance with a $100 deductible, and are involved in an accident for which you are less than 50% at fault, you can sue the other driver to recover your deductible.

What Is Mini-Tort?

Under no-fault auto insurance, a driver can only be sued under certain circumstances, such as:

  1. If he or she causes an accident in which someone is killed or seriously injured, or
  2. If he or she is involved in an accident in Michigan with a non-resident who is an occupant of a motor vehicle not registered in Michigan, or
  3. If he or she is involved in an accident in another state where lawsuits are permitted

The limited property damage liability, or mini-tort, provision of the no-fault law creates another situation in which you can sue or be sued. Under mini-tort, if you are 50% or more at fault in an accident, and damages to the other drivers car are not completely covered by his or  her insurance, you may be sued and may have to pay up to $500 in damages. This also means that you may sue the other driver for damages  to your car which are not covered by your insurance if the other driver is 50% or more at fault.

Does My Insurance Cover This & And How Do I file a Claim?

The mandatory no-fault insurance coverages, which are required by law and which include some liability insurance designed to protect you in suits involving serious injury or death, do not cover this additional $500 liability. Insurance companies usually offer this coverage as an  optional coverage which you may purchase for an extra cost. (see my example above)  Insurers often call this coverage “limited property damage liability”.  Check with your agent to find out how your company handles this liability and what is available to you.

If you are not lucky enough to have a company that helps process this claim for you, I can help.  I will list below the contact numbers for many of the Insurance Companies out there.   If you have an accident in Michigan and need to file a Mini-Tort claim this is what you need to do.

First, you will need to make sure you have a copy of the police report from the accident.  Usually you can get this from the police department for free or it usually costs anywhere from $5-$10.  If you insurance company already has it, they will usually give you a copy for free.  You just need to ask.

Second, you will need to get a copy of your Auto Declarations page.  Again you can make a copy of it yourself as you should receive a new one every 6 months when your policy renews.  You can also request a copy from your insurance company which should be free.

Third, you will need to get an estimate of damages to your vehicle.  Many repair facilities will do this for free.  If you are entering a claim on your own policy many times you will already have this information.  If for some reason you didn’t get a copy and your insurance company has one, they should give you a copy for free.

Lastly, you will need to file a claim with the responsible party’s insurance company.  Tell them that you were in an accident with their insured, who was at fault, and you need to file a Mini-Tort claim under Michigan No Fault Law.  I found that many insurance companies didn’t even know that this exists and may times I had to walk them through what they needed to do.   Many of the popular insurance companies though, new what it was and it was a very quick and simple process.  Just had to write the claim number they gave me on the top of each page and fax them over the 3 pieces of info listed above.   After you file a claim you will want to get the claim number and contact number of the person handling the claim.  Many times I had to follow up every few weeks to make sure the claim was being processed and kept very close detail to it.

Here is a list of many of the insurance companies that do business in the State of Michigan.  If you find one that I do not have on my list please let me know and I will get it added.

Company Name Phone Number
AAA Insurance 800-222-6424
AIU 888-244-6163
AIG 800-433-8880
All Risk Insurance Brokers 519-253-6376
Allied Property & Casualty 800-282-9445
Affirmative Insurance 800-683-7081
Allstate 800-877-4514
All State Canada 905-477-7313
American Fellowship 248-352-7500
Amerisure (MI Mutual) 866-664-2524
American Country 312-456-2000
AMICA 800-242-6422
Auto Owners 800-445-4185
Bitiminous Casualty 810-352-8052
Bristol West 800-274-7865
Carolina Casualty Cherokee 800-201-0450
Central Mutual 800-786-8908
Citizens Insurance 800-628-0250
Cigna 810-353-2300
Cinn 513-870-2000
CAN/Continental Insurance Company 800-262-9262
Country/MSI 651-631-7000
CUNA/League General Insurance 800-572-7390
Dairyland 800-532-2525
Diversified Insurance 810-235-8000
Employees Mutual Casualty 800-292-1320
Farm Bureau (Birch Run) 800-367-5343
Farm Bureau (Lansing) 800-527-6386
Farm Bureau (After Hours Claims Service 800-255-7240
Farm Bureau 800-322-7185
FarMers 800-435-7764
Federal Mutual 800-533-0472
First Security Casulty 800-323-8862
Founders Insurance 847-768-0040
Frankennmuth Insurance 800-324-4433
GMAC 800-225-5642
Geico 800-841-3000
Grange 800-445-3030
Hanover 800-853-0453
Hartford 800-280-0055 #3 than #2
Hastings Mutual 800-442-8277
Haylant Group 248-643-8750
Horace Mann 800-999-1030
Insurance May – Detroit 313-895-3000 or 313-893-0000
Lakes States Insurance 800-968-2090 Option 1
Leader Insurance 877-953-2337
Liberty Mutual 800-470-3811
Light House Insurance 616-218-3912 or 616-842-4900
Lincoln Mutual 800-292-5421
Look Insurance 877-402-0850
MAIPF (Michigan State Pool) 434-464-1100
Meridian Insurance 800-777-7324
MSI/Country 651-631-7000
Metropolitan Insurance 800-854-6011
Metlife 800-422-4272
Meemic 800-231-5770
Michigan Millers 517-482-6211
National General Insurance 800-235-1088
Nationwide 800-421-1444
Ohio Casualty 800-366-6446
Orion Insurance 800-334-0090
Pioneer State Mutual Insurance 800-733-2300 or 800-837-7674
Progressive 800-274-4499
Prudential 800-437-3535
QBE 800-683-7081
Safeco 800-332-3226
Sentry 800-447-0633
State Auto Insurance 800-766-1853
State Farm Insurance 800-520-3581
St. Paul Insurance 800-387-8734
Titan 800-775-4642 or 800-926-3168
Travelers Property Ins 800-252-4633
Universal Underwriters 734-432-5180
USAA 800-531-8222
US Fidelity & Guaranty Company 800-387-8734
Wausau Insurance Company 800-628-7236
Westfield Companies 800-443-3311
Wolverine Mutual Insurance 800-733-3320
Viking 800-334-0090

No Fault Auto Insurance – Different types of Collision Coverage for your car!

Most No-Fault Insurance states require you to have no-fault automobile insurance on your car.  If you have an accident in a No-Fault Insurance State, like Michigan, the required insurance pays for injuries to people and for damages your car does to other people’s property and to properly parked cars.  IT DOES NOT PAY FOR ANY OTHER DAMAGE TO CARS.  You must purchase collision coverage if you want coverage for damage to your car in case of an accident.  In a No-Fault Insurance state, the other driver’s insurance will NOT pay for damage to your car.  You are not required by law to have Collision insurance. You must have collision insurance if you want your insurance company to pay for damages to your car resulting from an accident.

In Michigan, you may be able to collect up to $500 from the other party in the accident under the “mini-tort” provision of the no-fault law.  The exception to this is if you are hit while your vehicle is parked and you know who hit your car.   If that’s the case then you can go after the other party for Property Damage and they will typically cover all damage done to your vehicle up to the other party’s liability limits they have selected.

There are 3 different types of Collision Coverage you can choose for your car.  Standard/Regular, Broadened and Limited (which you don’t see too often).

Standard/Regular Collision – If you are MORE THAN 50% at fault (you hit a tree, a person, another vehicle, etc) or you are 50% OR LESS at fault (you are rear-ended, side-swiped, ect) then your insurance company pays, except for the deductible that you chose.  You are responsible to pay the deductible. *Note* – If you have a deductible and are 50% or Less at fault, then you may be able to collect up to $500 from the other driver or their insurance company to recoup your deductible .  This is under the “mini-tort” provision of the No-fault law.  Usually you will need to provide them with a copy of your police report, a copy of your declarations page to your insurance (this is the page that shows what type of coverages you have, etc) and an estimate of the damage done.

Broad Form or Broadened Collision – If you are MORE THAN 50% at fault (you hit a tree, a person, another vehicle, etc) then your insurance company pays, except for the deductible that you chose. You are responsible to pay the deductible.  If you are 50% OR LESS at fault (you are rear-ended, side-swiped, ect) then your insurance company pays.  You do NOT have to pay the deductible you chose.

Limited Collision  – If you are MORE THAN 50% at fault (you hit a tree, a person, another vehicle, etc) then your insurance company pays NOTHING.  You are responsible for the cost of repairs to your car.  If you are 50% OR LESS at fault (you are rear-ended, side-swiped, ect) then your insurance company pays.  If you have chosen a deductible, your insurance pays the cost of the repairs over and above the deductible.  You must pay the deductible.

Broad form or Broadened Collision is typically more expensive than Standard/Regular Collision.  At the Insurance company that I worked for it varied by the vehicle you drove and the coverages you had selected.  On an average I would say it was usually between $10-$20 more per month.  I personally think it’s worth it.  That’s what I choose to carry.   It’s definitely worth having them quote the difference for you.   In my experience talking with many people who were getting quotes from us, I discovered their current insurance company usually didn’t even inform them of the options.  They just gave them the Regular/Standard because it’s cheaper.  So you always want to ask!

Remember there a lot of companies out there who will give you exactly what you ask for.  “Give Me The Cheapest You Can Get”.  I heard that a lot in my 3 years.  But, after explaining the insurance terms and what each thing meant to them, 9 times out of 10 they went with the more expensive option that I informed them about.  Nobody wants to be under insured at the time of a loss, especially if it was only a $5.00 per month difference.