What Does Motorcycle Insurance Cover?

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Standard motorcycle insurance policies cover bodily injury and property damage liability, which riders are required to have in most states. In addition to those, there is a long list of optional coverages that are either included in some motorcycle policies or available for riders to purchase.

Bodily Injury And Property Damage Liability

In most states, motorcycle riders are required by law to have bodily injury and property damage liability. Like the names suggest, these cover any bodily injury to others or property damage a motorcycle rider might cause while operating their vehicle. Bodily injury and property damage liability does not cover you (the rider) or the motorcycle itself. A third party will typically file a liability claim against your insurance company for whatever damges you're believed to be responsible for.

Every motorcycle insurance policy limits the amount of money it will pay out to others for bodily injury and property damage, respectively. The limits are frequently shown with slashes between them: $25,000/$50,000/$10,000. The first number is the claim limit, or maximum dollar amount, per injured person an insurance company will pay out after a crash. The second number is the claim limit per accident. The third number is the claim limit a policy will pay to another party for any property damaged by the policyholder, or rider.

For example, consider a motorcycle insurance policy that has bodily injury liability (often shortened to BI or BIL) coverage up to $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident. That means if a motorcyclist injures two people in an accident, they would each be covered up to $25,000 and the rider would still be under the limit of their policy. If a rider with the same limits injured three people, their policy would only pay up to $50,000 no matter the amount each invidivual injured person claimed.

A claim limit for personal property liability applies to each individual accident. For example, if a motorcyclist crashed into the side of a car and damaged it, this would cover the cost of those repairs up to whatever limit the rider chose. Property damage liability doesn’t just cover damage to other vehicles, either. If a motorcyclists drives into a fence that needed to be repaired or replaced, that would be covered, too. The claim limit for personal property is typically much less than the two limits for bodily injury claims. A policy with $25,000 in BI protection and $50,000 per accident might only have about a $10,000 limit for personal property coverage. 

Guest Passenger Liability Coverage

When it comes to bodily injury and property damage liability coverage, the only major difference between motorcycle and auto insurance is that some motorcycle policies include an additional coverage: guest passenger liability. Guest passenger liability provides protection for any passenger who is injured on your motorcycle.

Medical Payments (Optional)

Medical payments coverage takes care of medical bills for you (the rider) and any passenger in the event you’re injured on your motorcycle. It covers the rider, regardless of who is at fault for an accident. That means whether a rider crashes into a bush or is struck by another vehicle, their medical bills will be covered up to the limit of the policy. Medical payments coverage is optional and motorcyclists, like  can choose from a wide range of claim limits.

Personal Injury Protection

In some states, riders can purchase personal injury protection (PIP). It’s essentially another version of medical payments coverage. It covers the same things in addition to lost wages, funeral and child care expenses.

Uninsured/Underinsured Motorists (Optional)

Another optional coverage motorcyclists can add to their policy is uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (sometimes shortened to UM/UIM). It covers damages to you as a rider as well as your bike caused by another driver who is inadequately insured. Whether the driver doesn’t have any insurance (uninsured) or the cost of your damages was beyond a limit of their policy (underinsured), this picks up wherever their coverage leaves off. 

Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage usually pays for medical treatment, lost wages and other damages a policyholder might incur if the other party involved was not adequately insured. However, UM/UIM coverage offered by some insurance policies does not include personal property damage. 

Collision And Comprehensive (Optional)

In the event your motorcycle is involved in an accident – with another vehicle or an object – collision coverage pays for the cost to repair or replace your motorcycle, minus your deductible. It usually covers up to the Kelley Blue Book value of the motorcycle, which is an aggreagte price of the identical bike for sale across thousands of dealerships in the U.S., rather than a claim limit that is a specific dollar amount. Comprehensive coverage pays to repair or replace your motorcycle in the event anything other than a collision occurs. For example, if your bike was damaged in a fire or storm, vandalized or stolen, those things would fall under comprehensive coverage. 

Remember than collision and comprehensive coverages usually only pay for the cost of factory or standard parts. An additional parts, features, paint job, graphics or other additional equipment will probably not be covered by any motorcycle insurer. Coverage for those types of upgrades, if available, would require a special policy.

Additional Coverages Offered By Insurers

All of the above are basic coverages that almost all motorcycle insurance companies offer. To entice customers to choose their motorcycle policies, some carriers offer additional coverages.

For an additional cost added to a motorcyclist’s premium, most carriers offer roadside assistance, coverage for contents and personal belongings on a bike, better injury protection and coverage for bike accessories. 

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