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There are a lot of joys associated with riding a motorcycle that can’t really compare to anything else. But if caught in the wrong situation, you’ll want to make sure you have the right coverage to ensure your physical and financial health.
It is common to misunderstand motorcycle insurance. It’s something that can be frustrating to deal with and many wonder if it’s even necessary to have in the first place.
Can I ride a bike without insurance? Most states in the U.S. prohibit motorcycle riders from riding without insurance. Most states know that motorcycle accidents can be expensive. Insurance is required to protect you financially in the unlikely event that a motorcyclist is injured.
Over twelve motorcycles have been insured in the last couple of years. I’ve also been in an auto accident. I have seen firsthand how motorcycle insurance works, why it’s required by law, and how it can protect you in the case of a crash. This article will explain everything I’ve learned about motorcycle insurance.
These are the laws of motorcycle insurance
Motorcycles aren’t dangerous. It’s how people ride them that makes them dangerous. Motorcyclists are more susceptible to injury than other vehicles due to their lack of protection like seat belts, air bags and rolls bars.
According to NHTSA, motorcyclists have a five-fold higher chance of being injured than passenger car occupants. While there are many factors that contribute to motorcycle accidents, the most important thing is that they are more likely than other vehicles to cause injuries.
Motorcyclists are prohibited from riding on the roads in many states of the United States if they don’t have motorcycle insurance. Only three states do not require motorcycle insurance: Washington, Montana, and Florida. But that doesn’t mean residents from these states shouldn’t buy insurance.
Like auto insurance, Motorcyclists need to have minimum liability insurance. This is the cheapest and most basic coverage that you can get on your motorcycle. Liability insurance means that if you cause an accident that injures someone else and/or their property, your insurance will kick in and pay for those damages so you don’t have to.
Personal injuries are not covered under the liability policyYou don’t need liability insurance to protect yourself if you cause damage to another party. You are less likely than others to sue you for liability insurance.
You’ll see figures like 25/65/15 when picking out and obtaining an insurance policy. This means that your policy will cover $25,000 in bodily injuries per person, $65,000 per accident, and $15,000 per accident.
Each state will have their own minimum requirements in terms of liability insurance. It is always a good idea to increase your liability coverage as accidents can quickly become very expensive.
But you don’t have to just stop with liability insurance. You can add options like PIP (personal injury protection), which covers your medical expenses regardless of whether you were the cause of the accident. There’s also comprehensive insurance which will cover the cost of fixing or replacing your motorcycle. Uninsured/underinsured is also important to have in case someone else causes you to get in an accident and they don’t have the insurance to cover the cost of your damages.
The Risks of Not Having Insurance
If you don’t have motorcycle insurance, there are many possible consequences. First, let’s discuss what happens if you’re caught not having insurance in a state that requires it.
A police officer can run your plates through their database. This will allow them to determine if your motorcycle is insured. So reckless driving isn’t what can get you caught. A policeman has a right to pull you over if their data base indicates you don’t have insurance.
There are many things that can happen after you have been pulled over. It all depends on the laws of the place you live and your previous violations.
Most people will be issued a ticket for riding without insurance. These tickets can cost between $100 and $5,000. That’s considered a hefty fine; you’d be paying less in insurance premiums in a year than you would paying one of those tickets.
A police officer can also suspend your motorcycle licence. Your state’s laws and the officer who issued your suspension will determine how long it takes to reinstate your license. You’ll likely need to pay some fees to get your license active again and some states may require you to take some sort of safety course to get it back.
It’s also a possibility for your motorcycle to get impounded and/or towed at your expense if you are caught without motorcycle insurance. Again, you’ll be faced with further fees of having to get a motorcycle back if you wish to ever see it again.
Taking your motorcycle away is the law’s defensive way of protecting other drivers around you. Though this isn’t as likely to happen, police officers have every jurisdiction to do so. Consider yourself very lucky if this doesn’t happen to you if you get pulled over without insurance.
Only those who live in states that require insurance for motorcycles are subject to these consequences. Now let’s talk about the financial consequences you could face not having motorcycle insurance on your motorcycle. These consequences can be faced by anyone who owns or rides a motorcycle regardless of whether insurance is required in their state.
The purpose for insurance is to help you out in case you’re in some sort of accident. There are many possible scenarios and types of motorcycle accidents. Insurance will help to save you time and money.
You are 100% responsible for any injuries you cause to others if you don’t have insuranceThis means that you will need to cover their medical bills and repair their cars out of your own pocket.
If you don’t have the funds to pay for their expenses, the other party has a right to sue you. They can place a lien upon your house, savings, or other large assets. You may end up going bankrupt.
That’s without mentioning any medical expenses you personally may have during an accident you caused. A lot of people don’t understand that if you are in some sort of vehicle accident, especially ones that you’ve caused, medical insurance sometimes won’t pay for your expenses.
This was something I had to learn the hard way when I was in an accident. So aside from other damages you have to pay for others, you have to pay for your own injuries (which you’ll likely have if you’re riding a motorcycle).
Let’s give you an example. A motorcyclist riding down a residential street at 30 MPH is an example. He didn’t notice a stop sign and ended up running it. Crossing traffic didn’t have a stop sign, so a car comes and smashes into the back of his motorcycle and the car ends up running into a power pole.
His motorcycle’s back is severely damaged. The motorcyclist suffered several cuts, bruises and a broken bone. The driver and another passenger were inside the car that hit him. Their car’s front bumper and hood are badly damaged by the power pole. The passenger suffered a broken wrist in the collision.
The car that hit the motorcyclist appears to be the one at fault. In reality, the motorcyclist is responsible for failing to obey the stop sign. The motorcyclist is liable for any damages caused by this accident. The car’s damages will cost about $10,000. Both the passengers and the medical bills will probably run around $30,000 each. Additionally, it will take at least $5,000 to replace the power pole.
That’s $45,000 for the other party’s injuries and damages that the motorcyclist will have to pay out of pocket because he didn’t have insurance. Additionally, he will have to pay for his own medical bills and the damage to his motorcycle. And that’s if the passengers in the car don’t claim pain and suffering (emotional distress, missed work, etc.) These could cost thousands more.
The minimum required coverage would have covered the majority, if not all of the motorcyclist’s damages. He would only have to worry about his own injuries. For this motorcyclist, not having motorcycle insurance has just become very expensive.
What Insurance Rates Are Available for Motorcycles
Now that we’ve covered the fact that in most places it is illegal to not have motorcycle insurance (and unwise), you’ll probably be asking how much motorcycle insurance is if you don’t have it already.
There are many factors that affect the cost of motorcycle insurance, including your motorcycle type, how much coverage you need, and your driving record.
Minimum liability coverage, for example, will be the cheapest option. If you are on a budget, this is the type of insurance you should get (and it’s required). My motorcycle liability insurance cost $300 per year, which I paid $25 per month. It was very reasonable.
In the United States, motorcycle insurance costs an average of about $70 $519 For the monthly premium, it is $43 or approximately $43 for a full year. See my article for more information about how factors impact the cost of motorcycle insurance.
How to lower insurance costs
While motorcycle insurance can be very beneficial, the monthly premium can prove to be costly. You have options to reduce the cost of your insurance, but you will still be covered and safe on the road.
Though this is an obvious suggestion, I can’t go without saying that A good driving record is a huge help in lowering your insurance rates. Getting several tickets, a DUI, or causing an accident of some sort will make your insurance rates go up significantly because you’ve shown insurance companies that you’re not a reliable rider and are a higher risk for them.
There are many ways to get rid of a ticket you received while riding.
It is a great way to lower your insurance costs by taking a motorcycle safety class. A motorcycle safety class is a course that lasts between 1-3 days. It teaches motorcyclists important safety principles. To get credit, you must pass both a written and riding exam. Many insurance companies prefer this. To find out if your insurance company offers this course, contact them.
Comprehensive insurance for motorcycles is often very expensive. Comprehensive insurance, which covers the victim and the at-fault party in an accident, is the most expensive type of vehicle insurance. Comprehensive insurance is more costly because motorcycles are more dangerous.
Though I would always recommend getting the most coverage you can possibly get on your motorcycle, sometimes that’s just not possible. If this is you, getting good liability as well as uninsured/underinsured should keep you well covered and is usually cheaper than comprehensive. Liability will cover damages to other parties and uninsured/underinsured with ensure you are covered if someone else causes your accident and they don’t have insurance.
Common Mistakes Motorcyclists Make
There are several common mistakes people make when riding a motorcycle or with the insurance that comes with it. The thought behind these scenarios often slip through the cracks but can have big consequences if they’re left ignored.
Too many people wait too long after buying a motorcycle to get insurance. Before you take your motorcycle out of the garage, insurance should be purchased immediately after purchase.. For all you know, you could get in an accident as you’re pulling out and have zero coverage. Get insurance immediately after you pay the money for the motorcycle.
Many people forget to get insurance while learning how they can ride a motorcycle. Not only is it dangerous to have a permit without insurance, it’s also illegal.
If you are selling your motorcycle, you’ll need to keep your insurance on it until it is officially sold. If you’re willing to let potential buyers test your bike before you actually sell it, this is particularly true.
Insurance goes with the vehicle and not the rider so you can’t assume the test rider’s insurance will cover damages they may cause while taking your motorcycle out for a spin. My other article contains more information about letting potential buyers take your motorcycle for a ride.