by Marc Babineau
I know, I know – thinking about motorcycle insurance is about as exciting as having a tooth pulled. (My apologies to any dentists out there.)
It’s that time of year when we start polishing our bikes and planning Spring and Summer rides. For those of you who don’t live in the insurance bubble, you probably renew your insurance policy year after year without a thought. Or maybe you just buy a new plate and policy every Spring.
What you may not realize is your policy is a legal contract between you and a large insurance corporation. Contrary to what these large corporations want you to believe, geckos can’t really talk and the lady in the white suit and red lipstick isn’t sitting around waiting to help you!
Let’s take a few minutes now to become acquainted with your policy and some of the peculiarities of Motorcycle Insurance. Then you can enjoy the riding season knowing you have the proper protection.
First, your policy has at least 12 Coverage Parts, the first 4 Parts are required to get or keep your license plate and the remaining Parts are not required by law, but are very important.
Let’s start with protecting your own skin. Even though you are required to carry Part 2, PERSONAL INJURY PROTECTION, that coverage does NOT apply to injuries you incur as a result of a motorcycle accident! So if you go down and you and/or your passenger are hurt, you will have to deal with your health insurance company for coverage. That means deductibles, copays and other possible limitations.
So what can you do? Well, for starters, purchase Part 6, Medical Payments Coverage so you can avoid some of the hassle. $5,000 is a good basic limit. Medical Payments also includes coverage for funeral services. That may be something you don’t want to think about, but your loved ones will have to think about it if someone takes you out.
You may be thinking – Hey, I have mad riding skills and if something bad does happen, I’ll just go after the nitwit who caused the accident. Guess what? Nitwits don’t care about you and they certainly don’t carry enough insurance!
Let’s face it, we all know someone who’s had to put their bike down because of some stupid driver. Now with the added distraction of cell phones, texting, etc., he roads are even more dangerous.
You can’t eliminate the problem, but you can carry at least $250,000 per person on both your Uninsured Motorist & Underinsured Motorist Coverage’s – That’s Part 3 & 12 on your policy. If you tangle with a nitwit, at least you will have up to $250,000 available to help pay for the bodily injury costs associated with the accident.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s talk about how we can protect your bike!
There are three coverage’s available that will pay to repair damaged bikes. The first is Collision (Part 7) which is pretty straight forward. This coverage pays for the “accidental upset of your motorcycle or any physical contact of your motorcycle with another object”. But did you know that collision with a bird or other animal is not a Collision loss? That type of collision is actually a Comprehensive loss and if you don’t carry Comprehensive coverage (Part 9) you are screwed. (That’s technical legal terminology used by big insurance corporations)
Comprehensive coverage is what most non-insurance folks call Fire & Theft. But in addition to that, you also have coverage for vandalism, wind, hail, flood, water, riot, falling objects and collisions with Bambi, etc.
If you think your bike is not really worth carrying full Collision and Comprehensive coverage, or you’re relying on your mad skills to keep you out of trouble – buy Limited Collision coverage. It’s dirt cheap and it will eliminate a lot of hassles if you’re involved in an accident that’s not your fault and you can identify the other guy. I won’t bore you with the details about comparative negligence laws unless you want to call or email me. But trust me; it’s easier to deal with your own insurance company than trying to chase down someone else’s.
Now that we have your body and bike covered, there are some optional coverage’s you should consider.
Do you have any accessories on your bike that were NOT installed at the factory? If so, some companies offer $3,000 of accessory coverage for free and you can buy up to $27,000 more to cover chrome, pipes, paint, trailers you tow and other mods you may have. Accessory coverage also applies to safety riding apparel, including helmets, damaged in a collision loss.
Roadside Assistance and Towing coverage may be available along with Trip Interruption Coverage. With Trip Interruption, if your bike is disabled more than 100 miles from home, you can recoup up to $100 per day for lodging, $50 per day for meals and $50 per day for alternate transportation.
As an Independent Insurance Agent we will work on your behalf to ensure you have the correct coverage for your family and your motorcycle. We ride, we support the local economy and we know how to deal with insurance companies. The direct to consumer insurance companies don’t know you and they don’t want to know you.
I can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or comments.