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Northland Insurance Company v Geistel, et al; (COA-UNP, 3/11/1997; RB #1930)


Michigan Court of Appeals; Docket No. 185559; Unpublished  
Judges Gribbs, Markey, and T.G. Kavanagh; (with Kavanagh not Participating); Per Curiam  
Official Michigan Reporter Citation:  Not Applicable; Link to Opinion alt   

Definition of Owner [§3101(2)(h)]

Leased / Rented Vehicles  
Private Contract (Meaning and Intent)   

In this unpublished per curiam Opinion, the Court of Appeals resolved a priority dispute between trucking insurance companies by enforcing a provision in a "bobtail" trucking policy which clearly stated that no coverage was provided while the truck was being used to haul lessee's merchandise.   

In enforcing the bobtail provision, the court stated:

"[W]e find that the express language of the endorsement is unambiguous and subject to only one interpretation: when the covered auto (i.e., leased truck) is used for the lessee's business and the lessee has sufficient liability and no-fault insurance for the auto, then plaintiff is not obligated to pay insurance benefits in the event of an accident that occurs during this use. This 'bobtail' policy therefore only obligates plaintiff to provide liability and no-fault insurance coverage when the driver operates the vehicle in a non-trucking use, such as without cargo or a trailer.... The bobtail policy does not provide full coverage for the vehicle, but when provided in conjunction with the lessee's policy providing coverage when the truck is hauling cargo for the lessee 'owner' under §3101(2)(g), the two policies together provide continuous insurance coverage for the truck "

However, because the accident occurred while the truck was being used to haul the lessee's goods, the court ruled that the lessee's insurer is solely responsible for providing coverage.

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