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Biker bulletin: What to know about motorcycle insurance

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Motorcyclists must know the ins and outs of their motorcycle insurance policies. Learn whether you're adequately covered in case of an accident.

As humans, we tend drive by vehicle accidents and wonder what lapses in judgment or silly mistakes caused such a wreck, confirming silently that, because we are so good behind the wheel, nothing like that could ever happen to us.

Sadly, disasters and accidents do occur – even to the most skilled car or motorcycle drivers. Motorcycle accidents are some of the most common, with an increase in the number of collisions in 2015, the most recent year available, according to the South Carolina Department of Safety. There were more than 2,000 crashes and 141 people died, which is one of the main reasons why having insurance is of vital importance.

You may see car insurance companies advertising what they call "motorcycle insurance." In reality, they're often selling policies that have been stripped of the most important biker coverage. These companies pitch "motorcycle insurance" with the not-so-subtle suggestion that theirs is somehow both cheaper and better than car insurance. Falling for that line is a huge mistake!

The Myth of "Motorcycle Insurance"

If you’re one of the many who believe that since bikes weigh less than cars they’re less likely to do major damage in an accident, you are correct; however, thinking that this somehow translates to lower insurance rates would be wrong. Cheaper coverage is made so by stripping your plan of elements you will need if you are ever in an accident. By taking away this coverage, the insurance company saves money and you ultimately pay the cost.

Some companies pitch policies that often take out the uninsured motorist (UIM) coverage. This saves the biker a few bucks in premiums, but costs him big time if he is hurt by an uninsured motorist. The insurance company even has a special form for you to sign waiving the UIM. If you are ever presented with one of these, think carefully before agreeing to waive those benefits.

Underinsured motorist coverage is triggered when the driver at fault has some insurance, but not enough to cover your losses. UIM insurance will step in when the at-fault driver’s insurance runs out. Fortunately, UIM coverage is one of the most reasonably priced policy additions. Aim for at least a $100,000 policy, but shoot for $1 million in UIM if you can.

Similarly, uninsured motorist coverage, or UM, comes into play if you’re involved in an accident where the at-fault driver has no insurance, or in a hit and run (when the at-fault driver flees the scene). If this were to happen to you, then this is all the coverage you might have. If possible, carry at least $100,000 in UM coverage or more.

PIP or MedPay

These two policy additions are wonderful to have if you are hurt on your bike. Motorcyclists should carry as much personal injury protection or MedPay coverage as they can. These insurance policies are no-fault protections, simply triggered by medical bills. This coverage can help immensely if you are hurt on your bike, and some policies even cover a portion of your lost wages.

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.

George Sink P.A. Injury Lawyers in Charleston, SC helps those injured in most types of vehicle accidents, including motorcycle accidents. To learn more, visit sinklaw.com, or call 854-999-9999. If you want to speak with one of our biker attorneys, just ask and they’ll be happy to connect you at 854-999-9999.

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