by: Steve Dimeck
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 unit distance 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.
Also, as the law and lawsuit trials become more and more "complicated," you might even end up paying for the guy who was talking on his sell phone while driving, failed to see you and pushed you in the ditch. Of course, he had a good lawyer. And you, ... well, your brand new bike is bits and pieces, not to even mention being hurt from the fall.
So, you either cough up few thousand dollars for the medical bills and fixing your bike, or contact your insurance to take care of the bill. Your motorcycle is a major investment, one that is certainly worth protecting. 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.
And, better coverage does not necessarily mean paying more for your insurance. Based on your motorcycle, driving history, and location, instead of getting the best rate from one company, you'll need to contact more insurance companies and get their best rates for your coverage. And the key to finding which coverage is best for you involves learning about all of the available options.
Although most US 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.
Let's look at the different options.
- Liability coverage
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 coverage protects 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
- Collision coverage
While the liability coverage is required by law, in many cases
collision coverage is optional. Why, you might ask? Collision
coverage is the one that pays for the damage to your motorcycle,
not the other guy's, 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
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
- Uninsured motorist coverage
If the knucklehead who hit your bike is uninsured, this insurance
will 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 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.
- Underinsured motorist coverage
Underinsured motorist coverage is similar to the uninsured motorist
coverage. 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 often is
limited. Check with your insurance company for the specific
dollar amount and the number of years that they will cover after
the accident. In some states, medical payments coverage only
applies after other medical insurance is exhausted.
- Custom parts and equipment
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
- 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 to 15 percent 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.
Return to the Article Archive
*Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and are not necessarily the beliefs of MotorcycleGiftShop.com