The Rathbun Agency Blog

All You Ever Wanted to Know About Insurance

How Can I Collect for Damage to My Car without Full Coverage?

     For decades now, Michigan insurance has been regulated as providing “no-fault” coverage. No-fault insurance is aimed at promptly paying personal injury claims and decreasing potential litigation costs. This means that in the event of a covered loss, the policyholder would file the claim against their own insurance policy.  

     Michigan no-fault also includes limited property damage coverage, which encompasses mini-tort. This is a mechanism for collecting benefits out of the at-fault driver’s policy. Here is how the law breaks down for both at-fault and not-at-fault accidents:  

Not At Fault Drivers  

     A mini tort claim is your right after being involved in a collision where you are deemed less than 50 percent at-fault. A mini tort claim can only be filed by a not-at-fault driver driving in the state of Michigan. The following restrictions do apply:  

  • The vehicle driven by the not-at-fault driver must be damaged physically.
  • The vehicle driven by the not-at-fault driver must be insured.
  • The at-fault driver must be known. If a not at fault driver is hit and the at-fault driver runs, no coverage is provided by a mini tort because the coverage comes from the at-fault driver's car insurance policy.
  • A mini tort claim does not extend any coverage for injuries, only for physical damage. Michigan has a separate coverage, personal injury protection, which covers automobile-related injuries.
  • To receive the full $1000 mini tort claim, you must provide a body shop estimate and show that you don’t have full coverage or that you have to pay your deductible. The estimate must show $1000 in damages or more.   

At Fault Drivers with Insurance  

     Limited property damage coverage protects you against a mini tort claim, if you damage someone else’s vehicle.  It provides a $1,000 limited payout for damaged property of another vehicle after a collision. So long as you have an active insurance policy with limited property damage, you cannot be sued for damages to another person's vehicle after a collision in the State of Michigan.  

     In certain scenarios, it makes more sense to pay $1,000 out of pocket so that the claim doesn’t negatively affect rates. We are always here to discuss your claims situations and can work you through the process of filing a mini-tort claim against another driver.