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In The News

Thursday, October 14, 2021

From the Did You Know File: Register Your Car if You are an Out of State Resident

By Michael Nichols
Categories: Personal Injury

This seems to happen quite a bit in East Lansing and Ann Arbor, where out-of-state students often flock during the school year. If you are going to reside in the state of Michigan for more than 30 days, you must insure your out-of-state vehicle EVEN IF you do not intend to establish permanent residency, i.e. go home at the end of the school year and/or when you graduate.

The statute is MCL 500.3152. It states:

A nonresident owner or registrant of a motor vehicle or motorcycle not registered in this state shall not operate or permit the motor vehicle or motorcycle to be operated in this state for an aggregate of more than 30 days in any calendar year unless he or she continuously maintains security for the payment of benefits pursuant to this chapter.

MCLS § 500.3102

Failure to comply is not just a misdemeanor, but it is punishable by up to 1 year in jail and/or a fine of $200-$500. Moreover, it covers not just the owner of the vehicle in question, but anyone who operates the vehicle who knows it is not registered and security (insurance) is not purchased in the State of Michigan.

The legislature took that a step or two further - when the legislature revised the no fault act in 2019. Lawmakers gave the middle finger to out of state residents when it comes to personal injury protection benefits (also known as personal protection insurance benefits). MCL 500.3113 says:

"A person is not entitled to be paid personal protection insurance benefits for accidental bodily injury if at the time of the accident any of the following circumstances existed:" ...

"(c) The person was not a resident of this state, unless the person owned a motor vehicle that was registered and insured in this state."

So say you were hurt really badly in an auto accident that was not your fault at all - Michigan lawmakers created a loophole to protect insurance companies. In other words, you cannot claim important personal injury protection benefits unless you purchased and paid (expensive) insurance coverage within the state.

We think that this is another area of the no-fault reforms from SB 1 of 2018 that needs to be rolled back. This is going to really potentially impact families who send their kids to one of our great Michigan universities from one of the other 49 states and it creates another scenario where justice is disserved. If you are thinking about sending your child to MSU, U-M or one of the other universities in Michigan - remember to factor in the requirement to purchase auto insurance for your son or daughter and register his or her car in the Great Lakes State.

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Peer Recognition

Mike Nichols is a national leader in drunk driving defense. He is a member of the Forensic Committee and Michigan delegate to the National College for DUI Defense. He is also a Sustaining Member of the College. Nichols is also a founding member of the Michigan Association of OWI Attorneys; a member of the American Chemical Society; an associate member of he American Academy of Forensic Science, Adjunct Professor of Forensic Evidence in Criminal Law and OWI Law and Practice at Cooley Law School. He is also author of the West OWI Practice book and several chapters in other books on science and the law.

Mike Nichols is recognized by his peers in Michigan as a “SuperLawyer” in DUI/Criminal Defense. Nichols has also been asked to speak at conferences by groups such as the NCDD; Various Bar Associations in other states.