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Winter 2018  Volume 14, Number 4        

man riding motorcycle

Insuring Motorcycles…and their Drivers

As with cars, states require motorcycle owners to buy a minimum amount of liability coverage.

Insurance: Two Options

As with cars, states require motorcycle owners to buy a minimum amount of liability coverage. This pays for any bodily injury or property damage you cause while operating the bike. You should carry a copy of your insurance card and registration number with you when riding, along with your emergency contact information and any important medical information.

In addition to the minimum amount of liability coverage required by your state, you may wish to purchase other types of coverage. Ask your insurance professional which laws apply in your state and understand all the coverage options available to best fit your needs.

Although it's possible to get an endorsement extending your auto policy coverage to the motorcycle named in the policy declarations, it's usually better to buy standalone coverage. For one thing, the endorsement will not cover you when using a motorcycle you don't own — unless it's a "temporary substitute" of your owned motorcycle. Riding your friend's cycle does not qualify.

A standalone motorcycle policy will provide the following coverages:

Liability coverage: This pays for bodily injury or property damage that you or another insured rider cause to another party. Limits are usually expressed with three numbers, such as, 15/30/10. In this example, the policy would provide up to $15,000 of bodily injury coverage per person, up to $30,000 of bodily injury coverage per accident, and up to $10,000 of property damage coverage per accident. Guest Passenger Liability, which provides protection in the event that a passenger is injured on your motorcycle, may also be available to you, depending on state laws and the company issuing your policy.

Medical payments coverage: This section pays "reasonable" medical expenses, up to a certain limit, for you or another insured injured in an accident. Most policies cover only expenses incurred within three years after an accident. In some states, coverage only applies after your other medical coverage (your individual or group health plan) has run out.

Uninsured/underinsured motorists coverage: This coverage pays when you're injured or suffer property damage and another party is at fault but does not have enough insurance coverage to cover your losses.

Collision damage coverage: pays for damage to or loss of your motorcycle due to collision minus the deductible.

Comprehensive damage coverage: pays for damages caused by an event other than a collision, such as fire, theft or vandalism. Like collision coverage, your insurance company will pay for damages, minus your deductible, and will cover only the book value of the motorcycle.

Coverage for customized motorcycle parts: Most policies include $1,000 in custom parts and equipment (CPE) coverage to protect equipment and electronics added after manufacture. If you have customized your bike or have many add-ons, you might need extra CPE coverage. Document your costs by keeping receipts for any additional parts or customization, along with photos of your bike.


Motorcycle safety has become a big concern. Although motorcycles represent only about 2 percent of motor vehicles registered in the U.S., motorcyclists were about 32 times more likely to die in a crash and six times more likely to be injured per mile driven than automobile occupants.

To improve safety rates (and decrease their claim costs), many insurers offer discounts for motorcyclists who have taken safety courses. The Hurt report, an influential study from 1981, found that motorcycle rider training "reduces accident involvement and is related to reduced injuries in the event of accidents."

Additional discounts may be available for covering more than one motorcycle in the same policy, mature riders, membership in certain motorcycle clubs or related associations, and "lay-up" provisions, available mainly in northern U.S, states, which suspends collision coverage during winter months when the bike isn't being used.

Other factors that will affect your rates include the type/cost of your bike, your accident record and the garaged location. For more information on insuring your motorcycle, please call us.

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In this issue:

This Just In...

What Do You Mean That's Not Covered?

What Happens if I have a Homeowners Claim?

Insuring Motorcycles…and their Drivers

Alternatives to Insurance for Home Electrical and Mechanical Systems Losses



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