Published: October 2013
Purchasing a motorcycle can be a dream come true. You've covered all your bases, finding just the right bike with the perfect features, and your mind is filled with visions of cruising the open road. There's one more step to take before you enjoy your new wheels: making sure you have the right motorcycle insurance policy. But, what if you don't know much about motorcycle insurance?
Of course, you can always call your insurance agent, who can give you the information you need to know about buying your first motorcycle insurance policy. But, it's always a good idea to know the basics. And though your state likely has minimum requirements, you may want to consider whether buying the minimum or adding higher limits or additional coverages makes more sense for you.
So, here's a rundown of the types of coverage from which you can typically choose for motorcycle insurance:
- Bodily injury liability. If you're at fault for an accident in which someone in another vehicle or a pedestrian is hurt, this type of coverage will help pay for the associated medical expenses. In some states, this type of coverage automatically applies to any passengers on your bike, while in others you must pay an additional premium for the coverage to apply to your passenger.
- Property damage liability. If you cause an accident that damages another person's property, such as a vehicle or a building, this type of coverage helps pay for repairs or replacement.
- Medical payments. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, because motorcycle riders lack the protection of an enclosed vehicle, they have a greater chance of being injured. That's why this type of coverage, which helps pay for medical costs for you or your passenger due to an accident, are a vital part of your insurance coverage.
- Personal injury protection. Likewise, personal injury protection, which is only available in some states, can help pay for expenses related to an injury from an accident, regardless of fault. These costs may include, for example, lost income, medical bills, funeral costs and even child care expenses.
- Collision. In the event your bike is damaged due to a collision with another bike, a car, a fire hydrant or another object or structure, collision coverage helps pay for repairs, regardless of fault.
- Comprehensive. Collisions aren't the only way your bike can be damaged—and that's where comprehensive coverage comes in. For example, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, in 2011, a motorcycle was stolen every 11 minutes in our country. Theft, vandalism and hail can all get in the way of your enjoyment of your bike, and depending on the terms of your policy, comprehensive coverage may help pay to repair or replace your bike if it's damaged by these or other causes.
- Uninsured or underinsured motorist bodily injury. Despite the states' various legal requirements, not every driver on the road is adequately insured, or even insured at all. And in the event you or your passenger are injured in an accident caused by another driver, this type of coverage helps pay for the damages.
In addition, there are other optional coverages you may want to consider. For example, if you customize your bike by adding features and accessories, you may want to purchase additional coverage for your customization. Of, you may want to look into coverage to protect your motorcycle trailer, in case it's damaged.
Just like auto insurance, many of these coverages are subject to limits—the maximum amount your insurer will pay—and deductibles—the amount of money you must pay out of pocket in the event of a claim. Talk to your agent about the particulars of your situation as you set your limits and deductibles.