Know the Law – Property protection insurance benefit

Under Michigan’s auto no-fault insurance system, motorists are entitled to property protection insurance (PPI) insurance coverage for damage that is caused to tangible property when they’re in a motor vehicle accident.

PPI coverage is in addition to the personal injury protection (PIP) benefits that motorists receive for their personal injuries in an auto accident. Similar to PIP benefits, it does not matter who was at fault for the property damage – that is, even if the person seeking PPI coverage caused the car accident, he or she can still collect PPI benefits.

PPI benefits cover the destruction and loss of tangible property. For example, if you’re in an accident and your vehicle strikes a bridge, causing damage to the structure, then PPI benefits would be available to cover the loss.

Two requirements must be met to receive PPI benefits. First, the damage must “arise out of the ownership, operation, maintenance, or use of a motor vehicle as a motor vehicle.” Second, the property damage must be accidental and not intentional.

PPI benefits cover three things: 1) damage to property, 2) destruction of property and 3) loss of use of the property. However, calculating the amount of PPI benefits can be tricky. Usually, it’s either the cost of repairing the damage or the cost of replacing the property minus depreciation, whichever is less.

Who is responsible for paying PPI benefits? Typically, the owner(s) of the vehicle(s) involved in the accident are liable.

It’s important to note there are certain circumstances where a person cannot collect PPI benefits. For example, if you mistakenly hit the gas pedal instead of the brake in your garage and knock down a wall, PPI will not cover that type of damage. Also, if an auto repair shop catches fire with a customer’s vehicle inside and the customer’s car is destroyed, the shop owner is not entitled to PPI benefits. The customer, however, may file a PPI claim.

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