Motorcycle Safety & Insurance
Posted on May 10, 2023 at 08:38 PM
It’s motorcycle season: More focus needed on safety and insurance from all drivers
Spring marks the beginning of motorcycle season as bikers pull their motorcycles out of winter storage to cruise Northwest roads and highways. If you ride, it’s imperative to keep road safety top of mind to help prevent a tragic crash. And if you’re driving a four-wheeled (or more) vehicle, it’s time to sharpen your focus and share the road with motorcyclists. Making sure you have the right insurance coverage to help protect you financially is important as well.
May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month and helps bring safe riding, driving practices and cooperation from all road users to the forefront to help reduce the number of fatalities and injuries on U.S. highways.
Tragically, 5,579 motorcyclists were killed in traffic crashes in 2020, an 11 percent increase from 2019, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). An estimated 82,528 motorcyclists were injured.
It may be fun to talk about those we’re closest to as our ‘ride-or-die’ friends, but no one wants to take that literally on a motorcycle. Riders must use focus and skill at all times – and under recently-enacted laws, they must also carry liability insurance. Our message to riders is: ride safe, ride alert, and ride insured.
Motorcycle insurance is widely available, either as an endorsement to a personal automobile policy or as a stand-alone policy. To determine the best motorcycle coverage for you, it’s important to understand the available options:
- Liability Insurance – Currently, all but one state (New Hampshire) requires a minimum amount of liability insurance to cover bodily injury and property damage that you may cause to other people in an at-fault accident. If you’re riding in Washington, state law requires all motorcycle riders to carry liability insurance. In Oregon, state law requires all motorcycle riders to carry bodily injury and property damage liability insurance as well as personal injury protection and uninsured motorist coverage. Idaho state law also requires all motorcycle riders to carry liability insurance.
- Collision Coverage – Covers damage to your motorcycle from a collision, regardless of fault, and usually covers the resale value of the motorcycle before the loss occurred.
- Comprehensive or Other than Collision Coverage – Pays for damage caused by an event other than a collision. This includes fire, vandalism or theft. According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), 51,291 motorcycles were stolen in 2021.
- Additional or Optional Equipment Coverage - Is needed for accessories such as chrome parts, sidecars or custom paint jobs. Most comprehensive and collision coverage pays to replace only the factory standard parts on your motorcycle.
- Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage – Covers damage to you and your property caused by a driver or rider who does not have insurance or does not have enough insurance to cover your damages. This coverage typically pays for medical treatment, lost wages and damage to your motorcycle.
- Personal Injury Protection (PIP) - Covers accident-related medical expenses up to your policy limits for such things as doctor’s visits, dental care, hospital stays and lost wages, for example. The availability of PIP coverage for motorcyclists varies from state to state, however. Contact your insurance company or agent to find out if PIP coverage is available to you.
- Discounts - Keep in mind that many insurance companies offer discounts from 10 to 15 percent for graduates of training courses, such as the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) rider course.
Check with your insurance agent or company to learn more about motorcycle insurance options or to make sure you understand your current coverage.
For more information about Property & Casualty Insurance, visit us at www.nwinsurance.org.
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