Car accidents can – and do – happen anywhere. Unfortunately, that includes out of state. Things such as distracted driving, inclement weather, and poor road conditions can happen anywhere. But what does this mean for your no-fault auto insurance coverage?
Generally speaking, Michigan’s no-fault auto insurance applies to accidents that transpire out of state. Therefore, if you are a Michigan resident injured in an out-of-state accident, there’s a good chance you’re entitled to no-fault PIP benefits.
Are Accidents that Occur Anywhere Outside of Michigan Covered?
There are geographical limitations to Michigan no-fault coverage for out-of-state accidents. Michigan residents injured in an auto accident anywhere in the U.S. (including its territories and possession) or Canada will be entitled to no-fault benefits.
This means that if you are injured in a car accident in Europe, Michigan no-fault benefits are not available. However, some insurance policies are written to cover a broader geographical range than provided for under the law. Some policies provide coverage for out-of-state accidents occurring in Mexico (within a certain distance from the border). Therefore, you should always check the policy language to see if it provides for coverage in a broader geographical range.
Individuals Directly Covered Under a No-Fault Policy
As long as you are involved in an accident within the above-detailed geographical limitations, you will be entitled to no-fault benefits for an out-of-state accident if you are directly covered under a no-fault policy. This means you have to be:
- A named insured under a Michigan no-fault policy; or
- A spouse of named insured under a Michigan no-fault policy; or
- A relative of either the named insured or the spouse of a named insured who is domiciled in the same household.
Individuals Not Directly Covered Under a No-Fault Policy
So what happens if you are injured in an out-of-state accident but do not fit within any of the above categories? You will still be entitled to Michigan no-fault benefits as long as you were:
- an occupant of a vehicle involved in the accident and a Michigan resident; or
- an occupant of a vehicle involved in the accident where the owner or registrant of that vehicle was insured under a Michigan no-fault policy.
This is the language of the amended no-fault law, effective June 11, 2019. The old version of the law extended coverage to otherwise uninsured occupants only so long as the owner or registrant of the vehicle involved in the out-of-state accident was insured under a Michigan no-fault policy.
Under the old law, therefore, a nonresident of Michigan who was an occupant of a vehicle involved in an out-of-state accident would have been entitled to no-fault benefits if the owner or registrant of that vehicle was insured with a Michigan no-fault policy. Such a nonresident would not be afforded coverage under the new law, however, because the new law now disqualifies nonresidents from receiving Michigan no-fault benefits unless the nonresident has a vehicle that is registered and insured in Michigan.
It’s important to note that when you rent a vehicle and are then involved in an out-of-state car accident, you’re still entitled to no-fault benefits regardless of whether or not you purchased rental car insurance.
The best thing that you can do is to conduct a thorough review of your Michigan no-fault policy prior to traveling anywhere. Should you have any questions about your policy coverage, it’s best to call your insurance company in order to obtain the answers that you need.
The Attorneys at Miller & Tischler, P.C. Can Help
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident (whether in Michigan or out-of-state), you should not have to bear the burden alone. When you are already dealing with so much, the last thing that you want to do is to have to worry about tackling the legalities of your situation.
The Michigan personal injury attorneys at Miller & Tischler, P.C. will fight for the compensation that you deserve. We understand the seriousness of your injury and the physical, emotional, and financial hardships that you have and will continue to endure. We will gather the necessary evidence to build a case to achieve the most optimal outcome. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation, contact us today!