Insurance Law Lesson 26: Bodily Injury

This coverage is frequently paired with property damage in CGL (see lesson 1), homeowners, auto, and other standard policies with liability coverage. (See lesson 8).

The ISO CGL form (see lesson 18) defines it as “bodily injury, sickness or disease

sustained by a person, including death resulting from any of these at any time.”

Under such definitions, Michigan courts require “actual physical harm or damage to a human body.” State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co. v. Descheemaeker, 178 Mich. App. 729, 732 (1989), see also State Farm Fire & Cas. Co. v. Basham, 206 Mich. App. 240, 243 (1994).

What about mental anguish? “Our courts have interpreted coverage for ‘bodily injury’ in insurance policies as not encompassing those for mental suffering unless there exists some physical manifestation of the mental suffering.” Hunter v. Sisco, 300 Mich. App. 229, 238 (2013).

There are policies that include mental anguish coverage, either in the main form or in an endorsement. Also, there might be mental anguish coverage in an umbrella that would kick in if the primary policy has only the standard BI coverage.


The next lesson will be about umbrella coverage.

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