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Auto Insurers Fed Up with Joy Riding

Many parents struggle with their teen drivers. One thing that often happens is that a teen will take the family car when they are told that they do not have permission to do so. As everyone knows, drivers who are under the age of 25 are more likely to be involved in automobile accidents. Now, in the state of Michigan two court cases are being brought in regards to this legal issue.

The Michigan Supreme Court will be hearing two cases about this issue. These court cases are called Spectrum Health Hospitals v. Farm Bureau and Progressive Marathon Insurance v. DeYoung. The Spectrum Health Hospitals court case is about a man who had a girlfriend and a teen son. The only person who was given permission to use the man’s vehicle was his girlfriend. The man’s soon was told that he was never allowed to drive the car. The teenager got permission from his father’s girlfriend to use the car even though he did not have a driver’s license.

The teen then drove drunk and was involved in an automobile accident. Michigan has a no fault act. This would mean that the drivers’ injuries would be covered by the insurance coverage that was on the vehicles that were being driven. The Progressive Marathon Insurance case is about a man who had always been convicted of four drunk driving offenses. His wife refused to cover him on her auto insurance policy and had told him that he was never allowed to use her vehicle. The man then took her car without her permission and was involved in an accident whee he was injured. The cases are going before the Supreme Court because the auto insurance companies feel that they should not have to pay out compensation to the victims for their medical bills and the repairs for their vehicles.

The insurance companies have said that the vehicles were taken without permission for the sole purpose of joy riding. The first driver was a teen without a valid driver’s license and he was not listed on his father’s insurance policy and was forbidden to drive the vehicle. The other driver was in almost the same situation. It seems to reason that the argument is that the people stole the vehicles in question and thus they should not cover the expenses.

The Michigan Supreme Court will have a very hard time deciding this case. The No Fault Act leaves very few loopholes in it. On one hand, the drivers had no permission to use the vehicle but on the other, the insurance coverage is in place in case an accident does occur. It seems as though these legal cases could set a precedent for other states with no fault laws such as New York. If joy riding can become an exclusion for benefits in insurance policies then this would definitely change insurance coverage for many drivers.

It is very important for drivers to never give anyone their car keys if they are forbidden to drive their vehicle. Always keep your car keys on you or in your purse where they cannot be stolen by someone. Drivers who end up in this situation often face huge consequences and soaring insurance premiums if a family member takes their car and gets involved in an accident.