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Know the Law – Vehicle damage claims

Posted at 8:40 AM, Sep 15, 2018

There’s almost always damage to your vehicle when you’re in a car accident. But with so many terms and language surrounding vehicle damage claims, it can get confusing. Grand Rapids auto accident attorney, Tom Sinas, breaks down some of the basic terms you might hear if you’re in an accident.

No-Fault, Mini Tort, and Other Common Terms Used Regarding Vehicle Damage Claims
First, it’s important to remind listeners that Michigan is a no-fault state, which means if you’re in an accident, you’re responsible for your side of the claim, regardless of fault. For example, if you have a medical claim, you must turn to your own insurance for covering that aspect of your claim.

It’s not necessarily the same for vehicle damage claims. With this type of claim, you have limited rights to seek redress against the at-fault driver in what’s known as a mini tort. Mini torts only applies to vehicle damage claims with a limit of $1,000. This means if you’re in an accident, the most you can recover from the at-fault driver in mini tort is $1,000 for your vehicle damages.

Obviously, most damages are going to cost more than that limit. So where do you get the remainder of the money to repair or replace your vehicle?

Optional Comprehensive or Collision Coverage
First, you must purchase additional optional coverage known as comprehensive or collision. These additional coverages insure the asset that is the vehicle itself. When you’re in an accident and the vehicle damage exceeds the $1,000 you can recover in mini tort, this is where you turn. Understanding the difference between the coverages is important.

Comprehensive coverage – applies to all types of damage to your vehicle, whether it’s in an accident, hits a deer, or a tree falls on it, to name a few.

Collision coverage – applies only to damage when your vehicle is in an automobile accident with another car or by itself.

PLPD – refers to having the minimum collision coverage on your vehicle. If you think you have PLPD, you most likely don’t have the additional collision or comprehensive coverage.

Like we say with everything, knowing about these optional coverages after an accident is too late. If you don’t know what your policy covers, now is a good time to call your agent.

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