These days, simply being careful while out and about with your bike and using safety gear is not the only protection you need! Motorcycles have a far higher rate of accidents per mile than cars. This is due to the exposed rider and the fact that many automobile drivers fail to see these smaller vehicles in the traffic stream. Making a smart insurance decision is crucial for your protection and protection of your motorcycle. However, choosing the right insurance policy for you is much more like choosing the right bike. You want it to fit your lifestyle, but at the same time you want it to fit your budget.
What Does Liability Insurance Cover?
In many countries, liability insurance is a mandatory form of insurance since you’re at risk of being sued by the injured party being involved in the accident. Most US states require motorcyclists to carry a minimum amount of liability in case of third-party injuries, however insurance experts recommend purchasing as much as three times the minimum in these times of expensive litigation. Liability insurance covers the following:
- Providers coverage for you if you (or another person driving your car with your permission) injure or kill someone or damage property.
- Liability insurance covers bodily injury and property damage that you may cause to other people involved in an accident, up to the limit of liability you select.
- It doesn’t cover you or your motorcycle. But it gives you a protection from a lawsuit.
Also, find out if your coverage includes Guest Passenger Liability, which provides protection in the event that a passenger is injured on the motorcycle. It depends on the laws of your state and the company issuing the policy.
What is Collision Coverage?
While the liability coverage is required by law, in many cases collision coverage is optional. Why, might you ask? Consider the following:
- Collision coverage is the one that pays for the damage to your motorcycle, not the other guys and it’s optional? We’ll let the lawmakers protect “the other guy” while you need a collision coverage to pay for the damage to your motorcycle when you collide with another vehicle or object.
- It covers the cost to repair or replace your motorcycle, regardless of who is at fault.
- You select a deductible, and once the deductible is met, the insurance company pays for the remaining damage.
- Collision insurance usually covers the book value of the motorcycle before the loss occurred – factory parts.
If you get fancy and add anything extra-like nifty chrome accessories, a custom paint job – additional coverage will be required for compensation.
Comprehensive coverage pays (less the deductible) for damages caused by circumstances other than accident, such as vandalism, fire, or theft. And again, it covers only the book value of the motorcycle.
What Happens if Someone is Uninsured and Hits My Bike?
If the person who hit your bike is uninsured, this insurance can cover damages you incur that the “at-fault” party is legally liable for, such as medical treatment and lost wages. Despite laws requiring insurance in practically every state, a lot of people are still driving without even basic liability coverage. The uninsured motorist section of your policy protects and covers the following:
- You if you or your passenger is hurt by “one of those” people.
- If your uninsured motorist coverage includes property damage, then your motorcycle would also be covered under the same circumstances – covering for damage to your motorcycle caused by someone who does not have insurance.
Check with your insurance to see if property damage is included or needs to be purchased separately.
What Happens if Someone is Underinsured and Hits My Bike?
Underinsured motorist coverage is similar to the uninsured motorist coverage based on the following:
- This coverage reimburses you if the person who hit you doesn’t have enough insurance to cover for all of your damages.
- If your injury expenses exceed the “at-fault” person’s liability limits, you can use Underinsured Motorists Coverage to pay for the amount not covered by the person’s insurance.
- Underinsured Motorists coverage is designed to cover the gap between the other person’s liability limits and the amount of your injury expenses.
The trick is that in order for this coverage to kick in, the other driver has to be declared at fault. In most states, when blame is in doubt or the amount payable is contested, you and your insurer have to submit your differences to arbitration.
Medical Payments Coverage
Medical Payments coverage pays the cost of necessary medical care you receive as a result of a motorcycle accident and can be used regardless of who is at fault. This coverage is often limited. Check with your insurance company for the specific dollar amount and the number of years that they may cover after the accident. In some states, medical payments coverage only applies after other medical insurance is exhausted.
Will My Custom Parts and Equipment Be Covered?
This coverage is an addition to your Comprehensive or Collision coverage. When you have custom parts and equipment on your motorcycle, you can purchase this additional coverage to cover equipment, up to a dollar amount defined by the insurance company. Ask your insurance for the specific custom parts and details that they are willing to cover. Recommendation: retain photos of the motorcycle and all the receipts for your custom parts and equipment.
How Can I Get Roadside Assistance?
Roadside Assistance coverage provides towing to the nearest qualified repair facility and necessary labor at the place of disablement when your motorcycle is disabled due to reasons defined by the insurance company. Roadside Assistance is sometimes included with your Comprehensive coverage at no charge. Ask your insurance agent. If not, in most cases the Roadside Assistance coverage can be purchased at a nominal fee.
Many factors can play a role in determining what your insurance costs will be, such as your age, your driving record, where you live and the type of motorcycle you own. Unless you’re high risk, there are ways to keep your costs down, so you won’t have to pay very high rates. Many companies offer discounts from 10%-15% on motorcycle insurance for graduates of training courses.
In many northern states, riders may save money by buying a “lay-up” policy. With a “lay-up” policy, all coverage except comprehensive is suspended during winter months. The key to finding which coverage is best for you involves learning about all of the available options. Although most U.S. states require you to carry a minimum amount of liability coverage, other types of coverage are usually optional. Always ask your insurance representative about which laws apply in your state or city.