AAA secures dismissal of Uninsured Motorist Claim based on policy language requiring "direct" contact
Michigan No Fault auto insurance policies are no longer required to include Uninsured Motorist (UM) Coverage. UM coverage requires the victim's insurer to stand in the shoes of any uninsured (or unidentified) at-fault driver. Because the coverage is not mandatory, the Engler Majority ruled that UM policies can include any language and any exclusions from payment the insurer chooses to include, whether the language is within the "reasonable expectation of insureds" or not.When Patrice Mason's daughter Sharl was injured in a motor vehicle incident involving an uninsured driver who left the scene, Patrice attempted collect UM benefits from AAA on her daughter's behalf. AAA refused any UM benefits arguing that the Mason vehicle was struck only by debris from the UM vehicle, while the UM coverage paid out only if there was "direct physical contact" between the occupied vehicle and the vehicle of the uninsured driver. Noting the Engler Majority-era decision of the Supreme Court allowing the insurer to dictate terms of its own choosing in optional coverages, the Court of Appeals concluded that AAA was within its rights in refusing to pay UM benefits to Mason's injured daughter.