You may see car insurance companies on TV advertising something they call "Motorcycle Insurance." In reality, they're selling policies which are often stripped of the very coverage that can be most important to bikers.
The little lizard and the girl in the apron are your worst offenders, but LOTS of companies pepper prime time pitching "Motorcycle Insurance" with the not-so-subtle suggestion it is somehow cheaper than car insurance. Falling for that line is a HUGE mistake! Don't get taken for a ride by the insurance companies.
The Myth of "Motorcycle Insurance"
Right off the bat you are thinking that bikes weigh less than cars and are less likely to do major damage in an accident – and you are right! But thinking that fact somehow translates into lower insurance rates would be applying logic and common sense to the auto-insurance industry – and that would be an error.
The real reason these "Motorcycle Insurance" policies are cheaper is because they strip out coverage – coverage you will need - coverage that will save the insurance company money and cost you big time if you are hurt by an at-fault driver in a motorcycle accident.
For example, the little lizard pitches a "Motorcycle Policy" that often takes out the UIM coverage. This saves the biker a few bucks in premiums, but costs him huge money if he is hurt by an at-fault auto. The insurance company even has a special form for you to sign waiving the UIM. Don't sign it!
UIM (and its brother UM) could easily be the most important coverage on any biker's insurance policy!
UIM or Under-insured Motorist Coverage is triggered when an at-fault driver has insurance, but not enough to cover your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering. If you are seriously hurt by an at-fault auto carrying minimum limits, then when those funds are spent, the next place you turn will be to your own UIM coverage. You want to make sure there is plenty there. And it's not expensive. UIM coverage is one of your most reasonably priced policy additions. I recommend AT LEAST 100-thousand. If you can carry 1-million in UIM, you should.
UM or Uninsured Motorist Coverage is triggered when the at-fault driver has no insurance or when the at-fault flees the scene of the accident. In this all-too-common scenario, the UM may be all the coverage you have! If it is minimum limits coverage – 15 to 30-thousand depending on the state – then that is all you get. Unless you started riding yesterday, you know that any motorcycle accident will burn through that in a hurry. Again, carry at least 100K in coverage or more.
PIP or MedPay – These two policy additions are wonderful if you are hurt on your bike. These are no-fault provisions triggered by medical bills only. They pay out as soon as those bills are generated and submitted to the insurer, sometimes just days after an accident when the extra cash is critically important. Carry as much PIP and/or MedPay as you can.
Don't fall in the "Motorcycle Insurance" trap. Call a qualified insurance agent with a reputable company and get all the facts about insuring your bike and your safety. Or better yet, call an attorney who works with motorcyclists and get the inside scoop.David Johnston is a South Carolina accident attorney with George Sink P.A. Injury Lawyers in Charleston and an avid biker. Please feel free to call David anytime at 843-569-1700.