Buying motorcycle insurance is complicated, and the rules are different from state to state. The critical elements of buying a policy vary widely, so rule number on is knowing what you’re buying.
With that in mind, here’s a short list of things you need to know about motorcycle insurance, and if the worst ever happens, you’ll be glad you read this article and followed our advice.
The Biggest Mistake You Can Make When Buying Motorcycle Insurance
The biggest mistake that you can make is not buying enough insurance, period. To imagine that you’re saving a few dollars on your policy can cost you big money and aggravation if you’re involved in an accident. The consequences of motorcycle accidents can be devastating. You’re traveling virtually unprotected at a high rate of speed and accidents can cause problems ranging from simple road rash and broken bones to spinal injury and serious head trauma. Any accident can leave you facing a long hospital stay, and with the average week in the hospital costing over $50,000 your insurance can run out long before you’re fully healed and ready to ride again.
Don’t make this most elemental of mistakes; we recommend that you purchase as much insurance as you can afford and disregard the minimum amounts that state laws require when you make your calculations of acceptable risk.
The Second Biggest Mistake You Can Make When Buying Motorcycle Insurance
The second biggest mistake that you can make is to purchase motorcycle insurance without understanding your policy and the laws of the state in which you live.
Here are some insurance terms you need to understand in order to make an informed decision.
Full Tort vs. Limited Tort
Full Tort coverage relates to your ability to receive compensation from someone who may be legally responsible for any injuries you might suffer in an accident. Some states, like Pennsylvania, don’t require you to pay extra for full tort motorcycle insurance. If you live in New Jersey, you’re required to select what’s called a No Limitation on Lawsuit option if you want to have any hope of being compensated for pain and suffering you might have caused by the negligence of other drivers.
The lesson here is clear, where you live is critical to your understanding of what you actually get when buying motorcycle insurance.
Bodily Injury Liability Coverage
Bodily Injury Liability coverage will give you payments to cover claims against your assets if you’re found legally responsible for causing an accident.
Pay for as much as you can reasonably afford, you won’t be sorry.
This is the most important coverage decision you’ll make, and it typically pays medical, hospital, lost-income and disability expenses on your behalf if you’re in an accident. Replacing your motorcycle is relatively cheap, but a hospital stay of any duration can ruin your financial future, so make this decision on your policy with great care.
UM/UIM Coverage Is A Must Have
Uninsured Motorist coverage protects you if you’re injured by a driver who carries no insurance, and in some metropolitan areas in the United State, nearly a third of all drivers are uninsured. Underinsured Motorist coverage protects you should you be injured by a driver who has inadequate insurance to pay claims you make make against them as a result of their negligence, and nearly all drivers are likely to be underinsured to some extent, so don’t skimp here wither.
Our Recommendations For How Much Coverage You Should Purchase
- Liability Coverage – We suggest that you purchase the maximum limit of 100/300.
- Medical Coverage – Don’t risk running out of coverage. Purchase as much Medical Expense Benefits Coverage as you are able to. Motorcycle accidents typically result in more than $34,000 in medical costs.
- Uninsured Motorist and Underinsured Motorist Coverage – If the “other guy” makes this mistake, you pay the price. Carry at least 100/300.
- Bodily Injury Liability Coverage – Purchase the maximum of 100/300.
- Medical Expense Benefits Coverage – Go big or go home here. Not carrying sufficient medical expense benefits means you risk running out of coverage, and you don’t want that.
If you thing we’re just being overly cautious, consider this example:
We know of a case where a woman who had an automobile policy in her name was injured while a passenger on her husband’s bike. He was fault and his insurance carrier covered only the $15,000 minimum liability limit. She wanted to use the coverage on her auto policy, but her carrier denied the coverage because “Underinsured Motorist coverage does not include a motorcycle owned by a resident relative.”