Motorcycle Insurance 101 | Street Savvy

Another riding season is right around the corner. Soon, thousands of motorcyclists will hit the road for Memorial Day weekend, followed by a summer of rallies, races, bike nights, group rides and tours. Before pulling out of your driveway, take a few minutes to review your insurance policy. Having adequate coverage will help protect your legal rights and the rights of your passenger if you’re ever involved in an accident.

Buying the right motorcycle insurance can be tricky. All types of insurance coverages aren’t available in all states, and state requirements vary. In many cases, motorcycles are covered under a separate policy from other vehicles. Also, you may not be able to select medical benefits on your policy. In that case, be sure you have other medical insurance. Otherwise, you could be left with many thousands of dollars in hospital bills after an accident.

Choosing the minimum amount of coverage your state requires can save you a few dollars every month, but it can’t protect your financial security in the long run. If the state minimum for Bodily Injury Liability is $15,000, you should have at least $100,000. If your state requires you to have Liability coverage of $30,000 per accident, have at least $300,000. If the state minimum for Property Damage Liability is $5000, have at least $50,000. To protect yourself against Uninsured/Underinsured Motorists, you should have a minimum of $100,000 coverage per person, and $300,000 per occurrence—even if your state doesn’t require it.

Find out which options you can choose, and think about the coverage options that will best protect you, your passengers and your family. You can make policy updates at any time. Just don’t wait until after you’ve been in an accident! Then, it's too late.

There are a couple types of coverage you may want to consider adding to your existing policy. The first is Bodily Injury Liability, which will cover any claims against you if you are found legally responsible for causing someone to be injured. The second is Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage, which will protect you if you’re involved in an accident with a financially irresponsible motorist.

Look into “stacking” your motorcycle insurance on existing coverage. If possible, you should have your motorcycle insurance with the same company and on the same policy as the other vehicles in your household; then you can request stacking. For example, if you have two vehicles on the same policy, each with Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage of $100,000/$300,000, you can stack them and have $200,000/$600,000 of available coverage.

When talking to an agent, ask questions: What are my coverage options? What are the stipulations and exceptions for each type of coverage? Can I include the vehicles in my household on the same policy as my motorcycle? Am I eligible for stacking? What are the benefits for choosing insurance through your agency? In what circumstances would my rates increase? How can I contact you? Does the agency have emergency numbers to use if I’m in an accident? Find someone who responds quickly to your questions and is up front about coverage options. Word-of-mouth is the best form of advertising, so get recommendations from friends and family.

It’s impossible to completely eliminate your chances of being in an accident. Many drivers don’t exercise as much caution around motorcyclists as they should. An animal could run out in front of you. A drunk driver could drift into your lane. But by having adequate motorcycle insurance coverage, you’ll know that you’re being proactive in protecting your legal rights and your financial security. MC

The only thing worse than seeing your pride and joy like this is seeing it without having sufficient insurance coverage to replace it. Or worse yet, none at all.