July 16, 2012 by Rider Newsletter Staff
When is the last time you thought about your motorcycle insurance policy? It’s not really an exciting subject, until something happens and you need it. And you DO need it. Some level of insurance coverage is required in virtually every state, but the laws can vary a great deal. Be sure you have at least the minimum coverage required by your state. You can check the laws for your state at this handy Web site.
If you’re smart, you’ll go beyond the basics and get a policy that provides enough coverage to put you at ease when you’re on the road. Here are a few basics on motorcycle insurance:
Basic coverage usually means liability insurance. For the most part, this insurance is designed to protect other people from you. It usually includes coverage for property damage and injury. Your state will require a certain amount, but you should consider more. Remember, it you seriously injure someone; the financial burden could be far more than you can handle. Many people carry an umbrella policy that provides liability coverage for any situation that may occur, whether it’s on the bike or not. These policies are often fairly inexpensive and can save your financial life if something goes terribly wrong.
Uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage may also be required in your state. It’s something you’ll want to have anyway. As the name suggests, this type of insurance covers your costs if you are involved in an accident with someone who has no coverage, or whose policy limits are too low to pay your medical, motorcycle repair or other costs.
Medical insurance may be a part of your liability policy, but is probably something you’ll have to pay extra to get because most states do not require it. In some cases, this coverage will only come into effect after you have exhausted any health insurance coverage you may have.
When purchasing liability coverage, be sure you understand the amount of coverage you’re getting. For example, your state may require you to have a minimum of $50,000 coverage for each person, $100,000 coverage for each accident and $25,000 coverage for property damage. You can (and probably should) buy additional coverage, but you must carry your state’s minimum amount.
Liability and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage may be all your state requires. However, unless your bike is paid for, your loan company will almost certainly require you to carry additional insurance, such as comprehensive and collision coverage. Comprehensive insurance will provide coverage if your motorcycle is stolen or damaged by storms, fire or other events. Collision insurance covers your bike when it is involved in an accident, no matter who is at fault.
You can add other types of coverage to your motorcycle policy and you might be surprised how little it could cost. If you have customized parts on your bike, you’ll probably need special coverage to repair or replace them. You may also wish to get roadside assistance to get you out of trouble if you have a breakdown, run out of gas, get a flat or need to have your bike towed to a nearby repair facility. The additional coverage will add to the cost of your policy, but if things go awry, you’ll be glad you have it.
Another factor that can affect the cost of your insurance is the deductible. While it can be tempting to save money by getting a policy with a high deductible, you may regret that decision if you end up needing to use your policy. Be sure to get quotes at several deductible amounts and get the lowest you can afford.
Now would be a great time to dig your policy out of the drawer and check the amount of coverage you have. In particular, you might want to think about increasing your liability coverage. Lawsuits are a way of life these days and, as your parents probably told you many times, it’s better to be safe than sorry.