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Inman v Hartford Insurance Group; (COA-PUB, 2/7/1984; RB #1230)


Michigan Court of Appeals; Docket No. 69322; Published  
Judges M. J. Kelley, Cynar, and Kingsley; Unanimous  
Official Michigan Reporter Citation:  132 Mich App 29 (1984); Link to Opinion alt    

Compulsory Insurance Requirements for Owners or Registrants of Motor Vehicles Required to Be Registered [§3101(1)]  
Scope of Mandated Coverages [§3131(1)]  
Liability Exclusions Prohibiting Stacking of Coverages [§3131]

Not Applicable   

In this unanimous Opinion by Judge Kelley, the Court of Appeals addressed a stacking issue where two vehicles involved in an illegal race collided and injured a passenger in one of those vehicles. Both vehicles were insured under the same automobile fleet insurance policy covering a number of vehicles owned and operated by a family. The original policy contained a schedule of vehicles with a specific premium listed for each covered vehicle. The two vehicles involved in the accident were later added by endorsements and specific premiums were paid for the additional vehicles.

The policy provided for a "per person" limit of $100,000 in liability coverage. The policy also contained language that regardless of the number of insureds, persons injured, claims made, or automobiles to which the policy applied, the company's limits per person were $100,000. Plaintiff claimed that the trial court erred in limiting the coverage to $100,000, and argued that since the policy covered two vehicles, since the drivers of those vehicles were both negligent, and since two separate premiums were charged for each vehicle, stacking should have been allowed to double the coverage to $200,000.

The Court of Appeals in affirming the trial court, noted that this was a case of first impression in Michigan where two vehicles covered under a single policy were both involved in the same accident. After construing the language of the policy, the court held that there was no ambiguity and that the inclusion of more than one vehicle under the policy did not affect the limits of the liability where the language was clear.

The court further held that the insurance policy clause limiting liability was not in violation of § 3101(1) and did not fail to provide the full measure of insurance coverage required by that statutory provision. The court held that the insurer did not claim that only one vehicle or one driver was covered by the policy, but rather, both vehicles were covered by one policy which limits the liability to $100,000 for any one occurrence. Therefore, the policy did not fail to meet the statutory requirement.

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