What You Don’t Know About Motorcycle Insurance Can Make You an Uneasy Rider
By Diane Tait
Motorcycle owners in Florida are blessed since they can pretty much ride year around. That makes it easy to take your bike out for a road trip when most everyone else in the country is shoveling snow. But what makes many bikers uneasy is not knowing what is and isn’t covered on their motorcycle policies. So, I thought I’d take the time to answer some of the questions all you bike owners may have.
Who pays for your medical bills if you’re injured in a motorcycle crash in Florida? – Unlike other motor vehicles, motorcycles in Florida are not covered under the state’s Personal Injury Protection laws. Don’t make the mistake of thinking your collision or comprehensive coverage pays your medical bills if you are involved in a crash with your bike. It does not. You’ll need to add optional Medpay or PIP for motorcycles if you want to have any medical coverage on your bike since the coverage isn’t mandatory in Florida. Not all insurance companies offer medical payment coverage on motorcycle policies. Contact your insurance agent to find out who does if you want to add the coverage.
Does your policy cover a passenger? – If you have a passenger on your bike that falls off or is injured while riding with you, who pays the hospital bills and lost wages? If you’re involved in an accident while carrying a passenger and the passenger is injured or killed, what’s your liability? That depends on whether the insurance coverage you selected was liability-only or whether it includes passenger liability coverage Most insurers will allow you to add other riders to your policy. That’s the good news. The bad news is anyone who isn’t listed will in all likelihood be denied coverage should they be injured as a result of riding with you.
What happens if you lend your bike to a friend and they crash? – Some motorcycle policies limit coverage to the individuals listed on the policy. That means you could be held personally responsible for any damage or injuries caused to others even though you weren’t even on the bike. However, if the friend you loaned your bike to has motorcycle insurance, their insurance may be used to cover any damages or injuries caused by the crash. Your liability coverage won’t extend to your friend if he or she was at fault in the crash. Optional medical payment coverage may help cover your friend’s hospital bills if he or she is injured while riding your bike.
What happens if the damage caused in an accident exceeds your friend’s coverage? – If your friend has motorcycle insurance, it may be used to bridge the gap. But there’s no guarantee. To know that for a certainty, you would have to read your and your friend’s insurance policy. Better still would be to have your agent read it before you loan your bike to anyone.
Who pays for damage done to your bike if your friend wrecks it? - Even if your friend has a policy, it may not cover damage done to your bike. Not to mention the fact that any custom equipment installed on your bike isn’t usually covered either.
Bear in mind that in either of the above-mentioned situations, your policy has specific limits for covered claims. In addition, there is a deductible for collision coverage which you would be required to pay out of pocket.
Does your policy cover a custom bike? – If you have standard collision and comprehensive coverage on your bike, odds are it excludes coverage for such things as custom parts, accessories, and features. Some policies limit coverage for customized items to $1,000. So, if your bike is stolen, wrecked, or damaged by hail, you could find yourself out of luck when you file a claim. That doesn’t mean there isn’t optional coverage that can help you bridge the gap. Custom parts and equipment coverage helps cover the cost to repair or replace aftermarket items that are damaged or destroyed in a covered claim. Even better is the fact that this portion of the coverage has no deductible associated with it. However, you’ll still have to pay the collision or comprehensive deductible you selected when you bought your policy.
If you own a motor scooter, do you need insurance coverage? – That depends on the kind of motor scooter you own. In Florida, motorcycles are classified differently than mopeds, electric scooters, and motorized bicycles. If your bike has a motor rated at less than 50-cc and can’t exceed 30-MPH on level ground, you aren’t required to carry insurance. However, you still must be at least 16 years old and have at least a Class E or motorcycle-only license. All mopeds and scooters must carry a license plate and be registered with the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. With a moped, you’re not required to wear a helmet or safety goggles. However, if you have a passenger on your bike who is less than 16, they’re required to wear a helmet at all times. Mopeds aren’t street legal on highways or Interstates. You can be cited for driving a moped on the sidewalk if the engine is running and you can be cited for a DUI on any moped or scooter. Even though you aren’t required to carry insurance for a moped or a scooter, you can still be held liable for damages and injuries caused if you’re involved in a crash. If you have a scooter with an engine of 50-cc or more, it’s considered a motorcycle by the state of Florida even if it has three or four wheels.
Even if Diane Tait owns and operates A&B Insurance. To find out more about how you can save money on boat insurance, go to her site.