Do You Have All of the Motorcycle Insurance You Need?
Insurance decisions leave no room for the “ostrich syndrome”
A big reason why I advocate so strongly for safety and use of common sense when you’re on a bike or behind the wheel is this: the insurance world is complicated. The first time many learn this is after they’ve been injured, and for the first time need to file a claim. It’s tough enough dealing with doctors’ appointments, rehabbing injuries and wondering about your job/career. You don’t need a colossal run-around from your insurance company. That’s usually the point when I get the call for help.
If you aren’t already familiar with the current coverage for you and your vehicles, protect yourself. Read your policies’ fine print, ask your agent or seek legal advice. Most attorneys should provide free advice on insurance issues.
Motorcycle MedPay Coverage
Motorcycle insurance policies include Medical Payments (MedPay) coverage, which covers necessary medical care required following a motorcycle accident and can be used regardless of who is at fault. Your automobile No-Fault insurance (MN) won’t cover you for motorcycle-related injuries. MedPay often is limited to medical treatment received within the first year after an accident and is capped by a specific dollar amount. In some states, MedPay only applies after other medical insurance is exhausted. As new laws are enacted that reduce the minimum amount of insurance coverage required, it’s up to you to assess whether you have enough coverage. Your agent won’t. Whether you have health insurance or not, you should get all the MedPay coverage your motorcycle insurance company/agent will sell you. It’s inexpensive but necessary coverage. Personal bankruptcy due to medical expenses is most often the result of inadequate coverage.
If your employer provides your health insurance coverage, then you’re covered for claims stemming from a motorcycle accident. Individual policies written in Minnesota and Wisconsin will factor into your premium the risk associated with motorcycle riding. In some states, health insurance may deny coverage, if you didn’t disclose that you ride. They may exclude motorcycle-related injuries altogether. Health insurance today often carries high deductibles and annual or lifetime limits on claims. Even with layers of insurance, you may pay thousands of dollars in uncovered expenses. It’s important to know and understand this before you need it. Beware, in the event of a settlement with the at-fault driver’s insurance company, your insurance providers will seek re-payment for all medical bills paid.
Minnesota and Wisconsin law requires most employers to provide workers’ compensation insurance for employees. If you’re self-employed, you can and should have workers comp insurance. Workplace safety is important, but injuries happen. Minnesota law states that an employee injured in the line of work, is entitled to reasonable and necessary medical treatment and wage lost benefits. Riding a motorcycle while conducting work-related activities means you are covered under workers comp. Both states maintain user-friendly workers comp websites & toll free hotlines to call. However, laws are complicated and most often, only an attorney can help you.
It’s important to review your insurance policies and coverages yearly. Document your bike upgrades and accessories with your insurance agent. Should your bike get stolen, be prepared to answer a lot of questions about the circumstances and its condition. Having filed my own stolen bike claim with my long-trusted insurance agent, I was suspect #1 and was told this right from the beginning. Again, laws reducing minimum coverage (like Wisconsin’s) mean the insurance company pays out less. While liability insurance coverage is important, you need to protect yourself and your family with high limits of underinsured (UIM) and uninsured (UM) motorist coverage. Do not skimp on these coverages.
Wisdom from Rick
Don’t be an ostrich. All who ride (or drive) aren’t necessarily properly insured. In fact, most aren’t. Now’s the time to see if you and your family are.