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Motorcycles: properly insuring your bike

Jun 24 2016

Spring, summer and fall are motorcycle season. It’s common for cyclists to remove coverage in the winter and add it back in the spring when the weather gets good. Just remember you should never drive your bike even once without ensuring your coverage is up to date.  It’s also a good idea to take an in-depth look at your coverage periodically because you might change bikes, change riding habits or buy special equipment and all those things can impact your coverage needs.  Here are some areas to consider.

coverage for your bike and equipment

new motorcycle replacement

Unfortunately, new motorcycles tend to depreciate quickly, which can result in a coverage to value gap if you have a major accident in the first few years. Some but not all insurance companies offer a special replacement cost endorsement that will provide the full funds for a brand new motorcycle of the same type and features if you have a total vehicle loss within a specified timeframe or number of miles. If you are purchasing a new motorcycle, consider this option. Note that this is different from loan lease gap coverage endorsement, which only pays a lender should a gap in the insured value to loan amount occur.

custom bike equipment and accessories

Custom equipment isn’t cheap. If you customize your bike with after factory parts, saddle bags or other equipment that is permanently attached, you need to purchase coverage for those items. People often buy a bike and add custom equipment over time; however, unless you specifically add the value of these items to your policy, they may not be covered.  If you’ve added custom equipment to your motorcycle, be sure to speak with your insurance professional and provide receipts of the cost of these items to ensure that the investment in your bike is covered.

coverage for gear and personal belongings

Special protective gear that you wear while riding your bike or personal belongings you carry may or may not be covered by your motorcycle policy. Different insurance companies treat belongings differently and may provide some coverage directly or by endorsement. Having this coverage can save you money if personal property is damaged in an accident because it would fall under the vehicle deductible rather than having to go to your home/renters policy for coverage, which would have a separate deductible.

coverage for injuries

bodily injury to guests on your bike

If you carry any passengers on your bike….even only once in a while…you need to be sure that your “guests” are covered by your policy.  Some motorcycle policies may exclude guest coverage, so you want to be sure that your policy either includes it automatically or that it is added by endorsement.  You don’t want to have an accident and find out the person you were carrying isn’t covered.

bodily injury to others

It’s true bikers are more at risk of bodily injury than a person in an a vehicle; however, you could cause another vehicle to swerve and have a major accident. In that case, you’d be responsible. You should carry at least the same bodily injury to others limits that you carry on your other vehicles as the risks are the same. Another reason to have higher limits (suggested $250,000 per person/$500,000 per accident) on this part of your insurance is so that you can purchase additional protection for yourself in the event you’re injured by an underinsured or uninsured motorist.

bodily injury to you by an uninsured or underinsured motorist

If you’re knocked off your bike in an accident, and the person that hits you either doesn’t have insurance or has only minimal insurance, you can still have protection for yourself (and in some situations others) through your own motorcycle insurance policy if you purchase underinsured and uninsured motorist coverage. We recommend coverage of $250,000 per person/$500,000 per accident (or higher if available); however, you can only purchase coverage limits up to the same limits you purchase for “Bodily Injury to others” on your policy.

medical payments coverage

If you’re in an accident, there’s a good chance you may be injured.  With many health insurance plans having high deductibles, copayments or other limits on care, medical payments coverage can help you bear the financial costs of an accident so that you’re not suffering a financial crisis as well as medical challenges.

If you have questions, please contact a Murphy Insurance Associate to review coverage and options.

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