What Is a Mini Tort Claim in Michigan?

Limited Property Damage for Michigan Drivers

Two damaged cars after accident
••• Eric Van Den Brulle/Stone/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 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 lookout 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 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 motorist 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 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.