Motorcycle Insurer Priority in Accident Claims
When a Michigan motorcyclist is injured in a collision with a motor vehicle and is entitled to no-fault personal insurance protection (PIP) benefits, he or she must determine which insurer is obligated to pay those benefits. The Michigan no-fault code outlines the appropriate motorcycle insurer priority and defines a very specific order of obligation for paying these benefits. MCL 500.3114(5).
Motorcycle Insurer Priority Order
The law instructs that the injured motorcyclist must look to certain insurers in a specific order of priority. Benefits may not be collected from an insurer unless all of the previous options have been exhausted. The order of priority is:
- the insurer of the owner or registrant of the motor vehicle involved in the accident.
- the insurer of the operator of the motor vehicle, if that operator is someone other than the owner or registrant;
- the no-fault insurer of the injured motorcyclist, if that individual is insured under a no-fault policy on another vehicle;
- the no-fault insurer of the owner or registrant of the motorcycle, if such a policy exists.
If no coverage is available at any of these levels, such as instances of hit-and-run motorcycle accidents, an injured motorcyclist may have his or her claim assigned to the Michigan Assigned Claim Facility. This facility will assign his or her claim to a Michigan licensed and registered insurer, and the claim will be handled like any other PIP claim.
Injured Motorcycle Passengers
You should also understand that an individual injured while riding as a passenger on a motorcycle can seek the same coverage as the operator of the motorcycle, with the same priority system. However, there is one additional layer of coverage for passengers. Injured motorcycle passengers will seek coverage using the priority system listed above. However, if the injured passenger is unable to find coverage through any of those options, that passenger will then turn to his or her own insurer to seek coverage, before looking to the Assigned Claims Facility. MCL 500.3114(1).