What Is a Mini-Tort Claim in Michigan?

Limited Property Damage for Michigan Drivers

Two damaged cars after accident in Michigan
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Eric Van Den Brulle / Getty Images

Michigan's no-fault law includes a coverage often referred to as limited property damage, which is the coverage used for a mini-tort claim. According to Michigan's no-fault law, everyone's own insurance covers them. A mini-tort claim is a built-in loophole for getting some coverage out of an at-fault driver's insurance policy.

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 apply:

  • The vehicle driven by the non-at-fault driver must be damaged physically.
  • The vehicle driven by the non-at-fault driver must be insured.
  • The at-fault driver must be known. If a non-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.
  • The insured vehicle has no collision coverage listed on its car insurance policy.
  • The insured vehicle has standard collision requiring a deductible, listed on its car insurance policy.

    Example

    Julie was rear-ended by another vehicle, she has Personal Liability and Property Damage (PLPD) only listed on her insurance policy. Damage to her vehicle is extensive. She can file a mini-tort claim against the other driver because she was not at fault and does not have collision coverage on her car insurance policy. The coverage provided by a mini-tort claim is extremely limited. Here are some restrictions to look out for:

    • A $1000 payout is the most you can be paid under the mini-tort law.
    • A mini-tort claim does not extend any coverage for injuries. Michigan has a separate coverage called personal injury protection on car insurance policies specifically for injuries.
    • Mini tort only covers for damage to a vehicle and will not apply to a medical deductible.
    • To receive the full $1000 mini-tort claim, you must provide a body shop estimate. The estimate must show $1000 in damages or more.

    At-Fault Drivers With Insurance

    Limited property damage protects you against a mini-tort claim. It provides a $1000 limited payout for the 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. Mini tort breaks down into three stages for an at-fault insured driver in the state of Michigan.

    • At-fault collision with another vehicle
    • $1000 payout under limited property damage
    • No deductible applies

    At-Fault Drivers Without Insurance

    Non-insured motorists have no protection against mini-tort claims. The law is different for non-insured drivers, in that it is possible to be sued for the full amount of damage done to another vehicle in a collision. The $1000 limit does not apply to an uninsured at-fault driver in the state of Michigan.

    Michigan's no-fault law makes it a difficult decision to remove the collision coverage from your car insurance policy. Without collision coverage, Michigan driver's can only receive a maximum of $1000 when in a collision. It is frustrating for many drivers because you can only control your own actions. Many times actions of other drivers are unavoidable. The mini-tort helps somewhat in an accident but it often doesn't come close to repairing all of the damages for drivers without collision coverage on their vehicles.