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Bundles v Markel Insurance Company of Canada and Auto Club Insurance Association; (COA-UNP, 9/21/2004, RB #2492)


Michigan Court of Appeals; Docket #248843; Unpublished
Judges Cavanagh, Smolenski, and Owens; unanimous; per curiam
Official Michigan Reporter Citation: Not applicable, Link to Opinion

Compulsory Insurance Requirements for Owners or Registrants of Motor Vehicles Required to Be Registered [3101(1)]   
Disqualification for Uninsured Owners or Registrants of Involved Motor Vehicles or Motorcycles [§3113(b)] 

Motor Vehicle Code (Registration and Title Requirements) (MCL 257.201, Et Seq.)  

In this unanimous unpublished per curiam opinion, the Court of Appeals denied no-fault benefits to plaintiff under the disqualification provisions of §3113(b), which preclude payment of no-fault benefits where a claimant was “the owner or registrant” of an involved, uninsured motor vehicle required to be insured under the Act.  In this case, plaintiff admitted that he was “an” owner of the uninsured semi-truck involved in the accident, but argued that the truck’s legal titleholder was also “an” owner.  Therefore, because plaintiff was one of several owners of the vehicle involved in the accident, plaintiff contended that he was not disqualified by §3113(b) which only precludes “the owner” of the uninsured vehicle from recovering PIP benefits.  The court rejected this argument on the basis of its opinion in Ardt v Titan Insurance Company [RB #2043] wherein the court stated, “Had the Legislature intended the exclusionary effect of MCL 3113(b) to apply to only a single primary owner for each vehicle, it would have had to indicate that intention more clearly than by use of the definite article in this instance.  We hold that where an uninsured motor vehicle involved in an accident has more than one owner, all the owners come under the statutory exclusion for personal protection insurance benefits.”  Therefore, because plaintiff was “an owner” of the truck, he was statutorily precluded from recovering PIP benefits.

The court also rejected plaintiff’s argument that the disqualification provisions of §3113(b) did not apply to this case because the truck involved in plaintiff’s accident was not required to be registered.  The court rejected this argument on the basis of MCL 257.216 which provides “every motor vehicle . . . when driven or moved upon a highway, is subject to the registration and certificate title provisions of this act. . . .”  Because plaintiff was a resident owner, these registration requirements applied to him.

Finally, the court rejected plaintiff’s argument that he should be entitled to no-fault benefits under the principles of waiver and estoppel.  The court dismissed these arguments for the reason that there was no evidence of any misrepresentation on the part of the insurance company in question.  The insurance company did not represent that the policy sold contained no-fault benefits.  Therefore, the court ruled that, “Plaintiff’s predicament was caused, rather, by plaintiff’s failure to inquire whether Markel’s insurance policy provided no-fault benefits.  We, therefore, conclude that the greater inequity here would be to require Markel to pay on a risk for which it never collected premiums.”

Michigan auto accident attorney Stephen Sinas is the lead editor of the appellate case summaries published on this site regarding the Michigan auto insurance law. To learn more about how Stephen Sinas and how the Sinas Dramis Law Firm can help you if you have been injured in a Michigan auto accident, visit

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