Johnson v. USA Underwriters

Full title: Niles JOHNSON, Plaintiff, v. USA UNDERWRITERS, Defendant/Cross-Defendant-Appellant, and Courtney Eisemann and Steven Vandeinse, Defendants, and Citizens Insurance Company of America, Defendant/Cross-Plaintiff/Appellee.

Court: Court of Appeals of Michigan.

Date published: May 14, 2019

Facts

In June 2015, defendant Steven Vandeinse purchased a 2011 Chevy Impala from a used-car dealership in Ypsilanti. Before the dealership would finalize the sale, Vandeinse was required to obtain automobile insurance. Vandeinse went to a nearby L.A. Insurance agency and asked the insurance agent, Jennifer Essak, for a policy to cover the Impala. According to Vandeinse, he asked her for a “full coverage policy.” Vandeinse left the agency with a USA insurance policy that provided collision and comprehensive insurance coverages only. The insurance agent, however,  stated in an affidavit she provided during discovery that she had “explained to [Vandeinse] the difference between no-fault coverage and collision and comprehensive coverage and offered to assist him with obtaining both.” Sometimes, “it was less expensive for the customer to obtain no-fault coverage from one carrier and then collision and comprehensive coverage through [USA].” She further asserted that Vandeinse “declined my offer to assist him with obtaining no-fault coverage, and asked only for collision and comprehensive coverage through [USA].”

Issue

Decision

The no-fault act in Michigan requires insurance companies to provide comprehensive coverage, not just optional coverages. Integral, a policy underwritten by USAU, does not comply with this requirement. The bobtail policy and Maersk’s policy from INA provided “full coverage” to the tractor but at different times. The court’s ruling affirms the trial court’s ruling that Integral is not about obtaining “full coverage” by combining policies that do not cover PIP benefits with those that do, but about achieving temporally “continuous insurance coverage” as required by the Financial Responsibility Act.

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