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Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company of Michigan v Wagner and Guntle; (COA-UNP, 4/9/1992; RB #1540)


Michigan Court of Appeals; Docket No. 134339; Unpublished  
Judges Fitzgerald, Hood, and Cavanagh; Unanimous; Per Curiam 
Official Michigan Reporter Citation:  Not Applicable; Link to Opinion alt  

Not Applicable

Private Contract (Meaning and Intent)    

In this unanimous per curiam Opinion, the Court of Appeals enforced a "owned/non-owned" vehicle exclusion, thus barring a wife who was involved in an accident driving a vehicle she owned, from obtaining liability coverage under a separate insurance policy issued to her husband, which policy did not list the vehicle owned and driven by the wife.  

In so holding, the Court of Appeals stated, "with respect to the no-fault insurance policy issued by Farm Bureau, we disagree with the trial court that this policy covers the 1982 Plymouth insured by Meridian Mutual because, under the Powers rationale, the owned/non-owned exclusion is ambiguous and should be deleted from the insurance contract Powers, a plurality opinion, dealt with whether an insurance policy can exclude coverage when an insured is driving a vehicle not named in the policy which is owned by a resident family member. For this reason, two panels of this Court have distinguished Powers and decline to extend its reasoning to situations where coverage is sought for the owner of a separately insured vehicle under a policy covering a resident relative's automobile. See State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company v Koutz, 189 Mich App 535 (1991) (Item No. 1449) and VanDykev League General Insurance Company, 184 Mich App 271 (1990) (Item No. 1378). In this case, resident relatives such as [wife] have coverage for owned vehicles under the no-fault automobile insurance policy issued to [husband] if the owned vehicle is described in the policy and a specific premium charge indicates that coverage is afforded. Because the 1982 Plymouth owned by [wife] and insured by Meridian Mutual was not described in the no-fault policy issued to [husband] the trial court erred in determining that coverage was available."  

The court also held that coverage was not available to the wife under an umbrella policy for the reason that the umbrella policy, by its terms, did not extend coverage unless damages exceeded $500,000 and unless the underlying insurance was listed on the schedule of primary insurance policies referenced in the umbrella policy.  

Lansing car accident lawyer 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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