Understanding Motorcycle Insurance
If you don’t have proper motorcycle insurance coverage, you may risk leaving your bike and body unprotected. You should have enough motorcycle insurance so that if you are badly injured in an accident and the other driver does not have insurance, you will be sufficiently covered.
A lot of people believe that they have a full coverage policy and that this is sufficient to completely protect them. They are often mistaken. Full coverage merely means that they have coverage in all categories. It does not mean they have sufficient coverage in these categories.
To ensure you know the facts and have sufficient motorcycle insurance information, below are brief descriptions of the major categories of motorcycle insurance coverage:
BODILY INJURY LIABILITY COVERAGE - Pays for claims and lawsuits by people who are injured as a result of an accident you
cause. It compensates others for pain,suffering and economic damages, such as lost wages. Covers you if you are injured by another person who does not have insurance or has insufficient insurance to fully compensate you.
PROPERTY DAMAGE LIABILITY COVERAGE- for claims and lawsuits by people whose property is damaged as a result of an accident you cause.
COLLISION COVERAGE - Covers repairs to your motorcycle, whether you are at fault or not.
COMPREHENSIVE COVERAGE - Covers your motorcycle and its parts if damage is caused by theft, vandalism, flood, or fire.
UNINSURED MOTORIST COVERAGE - Pays you for property damage or bodily injury if you are in an auto accident caused by an uninsured motorist.
UNDERINSURED MOTORIST COVERAGE - THIS IS VITALLY IMPORTANT! Pays you for property damage or bodily injury if you are in an accident caused by a driver who is insured, but who has less coverage than your underinsured motorist coverage. (Covers you if you are injured by another person who has insufficient insurance to fully compensate you.)
Most people do not carry enough liability insurance on their vehicles. Adequate insurance is especially important for motorcycles where injuries from accidents are usually very serious, medical bills can be staggering, and lost wages may be high. To protect yourself against a negligent driver who does not have enough insurance to compensate you if you are injured, you must carry underinsured motorist coverage (UIM) to cover the gap. If a negligent operator does not have enough insurance to cover the losses of a person he has injured, the operator is considered to be underinsured. The purpose of carrying underinsured coverage for oneself is to provide you with coverage over and above the inadequate coverage the negligent driver carries. UIM coverage will provide you with compensation that the negligent driver’s policy does not. Unlike uninsured coverage (UM), underinsured (UIM) coverage is not required by law and is not automatically included in all vehicle insurance policies. You must ask your insurance agent for it and purchase it in addition to your liability and other coverages.We recommend that you carry uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage of at least $100,000/300,000. Please refer to the Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Benefits Legal Guide for more information.
The only way to be sure you and your loved ones are protected is to buy substantial UIM coverage on your vehicles. The good news is that compared to the cost of other coverages such as liability and collision, UIM is very inexpensive. As a guideline, you should purchase the highest limits you can afford. Here is one terrible real life example showing the need for adequate underinsured motorist coverage. A rider was severely injured in a head on collision. The defendant (negligent operator) had the minimum $15,000 liability insurance coverage allowed by law. He had no job and no assets. The injured had $500,000 of liability insurance to cover someone he might injure, he carried only $35,000 of uninsured (UM) and underinsured (UIM) coverage to cover damages by someone who might injure him and didn’t have enough insurance to cover the losses. As a result, he will only collect a total of $35,000.
Unlike the personal injury protection ("PIP") benefits contained in automobile insurance policies, motorcycle insurance policies do not provide for the payment of medical bills for the owner/operator and or passenger of the motorcycle involved in an accident. Such protection is provided to pedestrians who may be stuck by motorcycles. If you have been involved in such an accident, it is a good idea to consult with an experience motorcycle lawyer to pursue a claim against the reponsible party and to ensure your rights are well protected.
In many cases the only coverage for medical expenses will be your own health insurance and if you do not have any you are personally liable for all of your medical bills. Unless you are covered by New Jersey State Disability or a private disability plan, you may not have the income you require to pay your bills. It is important that you review these insurance coverages before riding a motorcycle. After you are in an accident it is simply too late. Your only recourse at that point will to include the claim for medical bills and lost income in the lawsuit for the physical injuries sustained in the accident. While you may eventually get these monies back, it will not help you in the short term when you need these monies to pay your bills.
Motorcycle insurance information is a lot more complex to digest than car insurance. Protect yourself with the proper insurance today. Don't assume that the other driver's insurance will cover the damages resulting from an accident. Need advice? Call us before it’s too late.
For more motorcycle insurance information call us at 732-244-0500.