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Universal Underwriters Insurance Coy v Auto-Owners; (COA-UNP, 8/5/1988; RB #1158)


Michigan Court of Appeals; Docket No. 102801; Unpublished  
Judges MacKenzie, Beasley, and M.G. Harrison; Unanimous; Per Curiam  
Official Michigan Reporter Citation:  Not Applicable; Link to Opinion alt   

General Rule of Priority [§3125]  
Determination of Involved Vehicle [§3125]

Garage Keeper’s Liability Act (MCL 256.541, et seq.)   

In this unanimous per curiam Opinion, the Court of Appeals decided which of two insurance carriers owed benefits for property damage caused while an uninsured car was being driven into a dealership garage. During the process of driving the car into the garage, the brakes failed and the vehicle struck and damaged a diagnostic computer. The no-fault insurance carrier for the driver of the vehicle (an employee of the dealership) denied coverage under §3125 of the Act. The insurance carrier for the dealership paid the loss and sought reimbursement from the no-fault insurance company. The no-fault insurance company argued that an exclusionary clause provided that coverage would not apply to any occurrence arising out of the "operation of . . . a storage garage."

The trial court held that the language of the exclusion was valid and applicable. On appeal, the Court of Appeals held that the language of the exclusion was clear and unambiguous, and that under the facts of the case, the dealership was operating a storage garage within the meaning of the policy. Although the dealership did not run a storage garage per se, the services it provided included storing vehicles on the dealership premises overnight to accommodate local police and sheriff departments. The Court found this to fit the definition of the exclusion, and affirmed the trial court ruling that the insurer of the dealership, not the no-fault insurer, was responsible to pay for the damage to the computer.

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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