The spring and summer months bring out the motorcycle enthusiasts “in earnest”. Riding a bike on the open road can be one of the most exhilarating experiences one can enjoy. As with any other type of activity, though, motorcycle riding is not without risk. In fact, according to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a motorcyclist’s risk of a serious accident involving injury or fatality is about 35 times that of a passenger car driver. Taking a motorcycle safety course, having the proper license and safety gear and driving defensively can all reduce these chances but, what other precautions should the biker take to protect themselves and their family. One thing that is a must is motorcycle accident insurance coverage. This post provides some of the basic terminology used by the insurance industry in describing the various types of bike coverage.
- Bodily Injury Liability: This insures you for personal injury caused by the motorcycle rider.
- Guest Passenger Liability: While some insurance carriers will include coverage for injury to passengers in the bodily injury (“BI”) coverage, some companies make this a separate type of coverage.
- Medical Payments: This will pay you if you are injured in a motorcycle accident up to the limit amount. Oftentimes, this is a fairly low limit like $5,000 to $10,000 and some carriers require reimbursement if you receive payments from “collateral sources” like health insurance or the at fault party’s auto policy.
- Uninsured/Underinsured Bodily Injury and/or Property Damage: This insures you for the cost of medical expenses or property repair ore replacement up to the limits amount in the event you are hit by an uninsured driver or a driver with low bodily injury or property damage limits.
- Comprehensive and Collision Coverage: Collision coverage pays for either the cost of repair or replacement of your motorcycle in the event of a crash. Comprehensive coverage may also cover damage resulting from non-collision incidents such as fire, theft or vandalism.
- Property Damage Liability: This covers you if you damage another persons vehicle or other property in an accident.
- Additional Coverages for Custom Bikes or Motorcycles With Custom Parts: If you have a custom bike or a motorcycle with custom parts, you may need to purchase additional coverage as some carriers only repair stock bikes or have low limits on total repair costs.
- Roadside Assistance / Trip Interruption: Some carriers offer roadside assistance, towing and even cost of lodging in the event of a breakdown on the road.
Attorney Suggestions For Motorcycle Accident Insurance:
As a lawyer that has represented a lot of bikers involved in motorcycle accidents over the past two decades, I can tell you that motorcycle accidents tend to result in much more serious injuries than passenger vehicle collisions. Let’s face it, if you get hit on a bike, there is nothing to protect you other than your helmet and other safety gear. Serious bodily harm like fractures, internal injuries, head trauma and spine injury are not uncommon. Sometimes this equates to a few hundred in bills in minor cases, but, significant injuries like traumatic brain injury or paralysis can and do occur with much more frequency in motorcycle collision claims. For this reason, I always suggest that every biker insure themselves for personal injury including uninsured motorist coverage, medical payments and comprehensive and collision coverage for the motorcycle. If you have a custom bike, make sure to disclose this at the time of purchase as failure to do so can result in a denial of repair costs. If guest passenger liability is an additional coverage not included in the bodily injury liability plan, you absolutely should purchase this if you ever intend to carry passengers on your bike. Passenger injuries can be just as severe and costly and, without this insurance, you could be stuck with thousands or even hundreds of thousands in liability. Medical payments or “med pay” is good to have for more minor accidents that cause medical bills that are high enough to meet health insurance annual deductible thresholds. Uninsured (“UM”) and Underinsured (“UIM”) coverage is a must have. There are literally thousands of people driving around with either no insurance or the state minimum required. Roadside assistance is a nice “add on” but, probably not necessary if you have coverage through AAA or through your motorcycle manufacturer.
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