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  • Writer's pictureAmerican Benefits Agency

Michigan No-Fault Benefits

Updated: Mar 18, 2022

Michigan no - fault auto insurance

Michigan law requires all drivers in the state to have a license. Individuals who disobey this law and get involved in a motor vehicle accident while driving without a license may face serious penalties – including jail time. That said, can unlicensed drivers still get no-fault benefits if they are involved in a car crash? Does driving without a license automatically make someone liable for a crash?

If you drove without a license and caused an accident, you will have some legal penalties to deal with, but you may be eligible to receive no-fault benefits. If you have valid insurance, you will likely be covered for your medical costs, lost wages and other no-fault benefits under your own policy. If someone else owned the vehicle you were driving, you may be able to seek no-fault benefits through their insurer. However, be aware that if you were driving the vehicle without the owner’s permission, you will not qualify to receive no-fault benefits.

Here are some common situations which, if they apply, disqualify individuals, licensed or not, injured or not, from receiving Michigan no-fault benefits after a crash:

  • The vehicle was stolen or unlawfully taken – this could include unlicensed drivers who operate a rental vehicle

  • The driver was operating his or her vehicle and that vehicle was not insured

  • Out-of-state residents who neither own nor insure a Michigan-registered vehicle

Are Unlicensed Michigan Drivers Automatically Liable for a Crash?

Being unlicensed does not automatically make a driver liable for a car crash. Police and insurance adjusters will still need to investigate who caused the crash. It is, however, illegal.

Unlicensed Drivers Face Stiff Penalties

Drivers who get behind the wheel without a license face harsh penalties. Michigan has some of the toughest consequences in the country for drivers who are unlicensed. If you are a first offender, you may get off lightly. For example, if you drove not realizing that your license had recently lapsed. Even in that situation, you can still expect to get a ticket, a hefty fine and a mandatory court appearance. Repeat offenders, such as drivers whose licenses were previously suspended or revoked for various reasons, can expect stiffer penalties, such as those who:

  • Never had a license: First-time offenders can face up to 90 days of jail time, and a $50 to $100 fine. Repeat offenders will be fined and serve a minimum of two to 90 days jail time.

  • Have a license but were not carrying proof: This is still a misdemeanor. If convicted, it brings up to 90 days of jail time and a $100 fine. You may be able to get the charge dismissed after showing proof of your current license to law enforcement before your scheduled court appearance.

  • Had an accident while driving with a suspended or revoked license: Even first-time offenders face serious penalties, including a fine of up to $500, as well as up to 93 days of jail time. Second offenders can spend up to a year in jail and also be fined $1,000.

  • Had an accident that caused injury or death: The penalty is up to five years in prison for an injury – and a fine of up to $5,000. If a death occurs, the unlicensed driver can be sentenced to jail for up to 15 years and be fined up to a $10,000 fine.


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