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Auto-Owners Insurance Company v Ellegood; (COA-PUB, 3/4/1986; RB #1453)


Michigan Court of Appeals; Docket No. 83722; Published  
Judges Hood, J. H. Gillis, and J. N. Batzer; Unanimous; Per Curiam  
Official Michigan Reporter Citation:  149 Mich App 673; Link to Opinion alt   

Not Applicable

Private Contract (Meaning and Intent) 
Uninsured Motorist Benefits: Uninsured Motorist Coverage in General 
Uninsured Motorist Benefits: Exclusions from Uninsured Motorist Benefits   

In this unanimous per curiam published Opinion, the Court of Appeals affirmed summary judgment in favor of Auto Owners and upheld the exclusion of uninsured motorists coverage under the language of the owned motor vehicle exclusion contained in the injured person's father's policy.  

This case turned upon the question of whether or not a motorcycle is a "motor vehicle" within the meaning of the language of the owned vehicle exclusion. The defendant was injured by a hit-and-run driver while defendant was riding his uninsured motorcycle. When a claim for uninsured motorists benefits was made under a policy of insurance issued by Auto Owners to defendant's father, the insurance company denied coverage under the owned motor vehicle exclusion contained in that policy. That policy excludes coverage for uninsured motorist benefits where the bodily injury to an insured is sustained while in, upon, entering, or alighting from any "motor vehicle owned by the named insured, spouse, or a relative" unless a premium is paid for coverage for such vehicle. 

The claimant alleged that a motorcycle is not a "motor vehicle" within the meaning of the policy; and therefore, the exclusion did not apply. The trial court and the Court of Appeals both held that in its ordinary and popular sense, as well as in technical meaning, the term "motor vehicle" unambiguously includes a motorcycle. The court was not convinced that an otherwise unambiguous term should lose its definite meaning simply because the Legislature had determined that under the provisions of the "No-Fault Act the term motor vehicle included only vehicles which utilized more than two wheels." Consequently, coverage was denied and the summary judgment was affirmed. This same result was later reached in Bianchi (Item No. 1435). 

[Author's Note: **Item No. 1453 was inadvertently omitted from earlier summaries and is included here for completeness.]  

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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