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Author Topic: Motorcycle Insurance Coverage You Should Have  (Read 6911 times)

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Offline TC

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Motorcycle Insurance Coverage You Should Have
« on: December 19, 2017, 04:01:40 PM »
Hi Everyone,

      With the nasty weather and poor riding conditions we are having I thought this might be a good time to pass along some information about two types of insurance coverage that are very beneficial for anyone riding a motorcycle to have.  First I would like to emphasize that I do not sell insurance so do not be concerned that I am trying to sell you anything.  This information is something that I have learned through the past 32 years of practicing law and representing clients involved in motorcycle accidents. Over the years, I have found that many riders are unsure of exactly how much and what type insurance coverage they have.  Unfortunately, the issue usually comes up when they have been injured in an accident, which was not their fault, and are looking for help in the payment of their medical expenses which were not covered by health insurance.  Many accident related expenses such as ambulance charges, x-rays, MRIs or other diagnostic tests, physical therapy, hospital charges and physician charges require co-pays or have deductibles that must be paid before your health insurance will pay their part and in some cases, that is only eighty percent of the allowable charges.  Most clients are also looking for reimbursement of their wages which were lost due to treatment of and recovery from their injuries and compensation for the many hours of pain and suffering that usually accompany an accident involving a car and a motorcycle.

    In Alabama the minimum liability insurance a driver is required to carry is $25,000.  Sadly, there are many drivers on the road who, if they have any insurance at all, it is only the minimum.  As I am sure you are aware, $25,000 will not go very far in paying for your treatment if you are injured in a motorcycle accident.  Fortunately, you can carry insurance yourself through your liability insurance company that will provide protection and compensation to you in the event you are unfortunate enough to be injured by that motorist who either has no insurance or insufficient insurance to fully compensate you for your damages.  It is call “Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Coverage” and is usually designated as “UM” or “UIM” coverage on the declarations page of an insurance policy.  Either designation or name provides coverage to you for personal injuries you sustained in an accident which was the fault of another driver with either no insurance or with insurance that lacks coverage limits to fully compensate you for your personal injuries and damages.  It does not provide coverage for property damage.  Alabama law requires every insurance company that provides liability coverage to also include UM/UIM coverage unless you sign a form specifically rejecting that coverage.  However, unless you specifically request that the amount of the UM/UIM coverage be as much as your liability coverage, some insurance companies only include UM/UIM coverage in the amount of $25,000.  Therefore, check the declarations page of your policy to verify the amount of your coverage.   I have had several occasions when clients believed they had UM/UIM coverage in the same amount as their liability coverage only to discover when they filed a claim that their insurance agent had only provided them with the minimum required $25,000 amount. 

   I highly recommend that you purchase UM/UIM coverage in the same amount as your liability coverage.  It is relatively inexpensive and can make a tremendous difference in the amount of money you are able to recover in the event you are seriously injured in an accident that is no fault of your own.  If your carrier will not sell you UM/UIM coverage in the same amount as your liability coverage, I would find a carrier who will.

   A provision which is unique to UM/UIM coverage is the ability to stack coverages.  Under Alabama law you are allowed to stack up to three coverages under the same policy and the only limitation as to the number of coverages you can stack if they are all under different policies is the amount of your damages.  What this means is that if you are seriously injured and have $100,000 in UM/UIM coverage on each vehicle and have three vehicles insured under the same policy, you would then be allowed to stack those three coverages and have a total of $300,000 in UM/UIM coverage from which to make a claim. Also, if you had other vehicles insured under different policies, you would be able to include those as well.  Of course your damages must still be sufficient to support a claim in that amount but if you are injured in a motorcycle accident, it is not unusual to have a large amount of medical expenses and lost wages. 

   An important point about this coverage is that you do not necessarily have to be riding your motorcycle to make a claim against the UM/UIM coverage on it.  If your bike has broken down and you are working on it on the side of the road and are struck and injured by an uninsured or underinsured driver, you can make a claim.  If you are injured in either your automobile or are a passenger in an automobile or on a motorcycle owned by someone else and are injured by an uninsured or underinsured driver, you can make a claim.  It is very versatile and beneficial coverage.

   Another coverage that can be very beneficial to have is what is known as “Medical Payments” coverage or Med Pay for short.  It can lower or prevent you from having out of pocket expenses from a motorcycle accident.  It is basically a no fault coverage that will pay for medical expenses that are not covered by your health insurance carrier.  In recent years many health insurance companies have raised their co-pays and deductibles resulting in large out of pocket expenses for their insureds.  You can offset these charges with Med Pay coverage which is usually sold in $1,000 increments with $5,000 being an amount that is seen quite often.  While UM/UIM coverage requires the other driver to be at fault to make a claim, Med Pay does not and will provide coverage for you even if you simply lose control of your bike and are injured.   In deciding how much Med Pay coverage is right for you, I recommend that you determine how much your health insurance would require you to pay out of pocket for co-pays and deductibles for treatment from a motorcycle accident and then buy that amount of Med Pay coverage.

   Not all insurance companies who write motorcycle coverage provide the option to include Med Pay coverage.  St Farm is one company that does not offer Med Pay in a motorcycle policy.  A policy that includes coverage for both automobiles and motorcycles could provide Med Pay for the automobiles but not the motorcycles so check your policy to verify the type coverage you have on each individual vehicle you have insured.  If Med Pay coverage is not listed on the declarations of coverage page included in your insurance policy, check with your agent and see if it is offered.  If not, I highly recommend that you find another insurance company who does offer that coverage.

    I realize this can be a confusing issue so should anyone have any questions, please feel free to send me a PM and I will get back in touch with you.  I will be happy to further discuss this matter with anyone, at no charge, as I believe it is vital to have this coverage to protect yourself.  As I am an attorney and not an insurance agent you do not have to be concerned that I will attempt to sell you insurance coverage if you contact me.

J. Thomas Crawford
Attorney at Law
1232 Blue Ridge Boulevard
Hoover, AL 35226
« Last Edit: December 19, 2017, 08:35:49 PM by TC »

Offline Chitza

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Re: Motorcycle Insurance Coverage You Should Have
« Reply #1 on: December 19, 2017, 04:35:11 PM »
Hey, Tom. I know you, but the other folks here don’t. Well, Rodney and Clark do. :)

I know you did a welcome thread, but tell folks a little more about you so they don’t think you’re here to sell something and they know it’s just info for their benefit.

You had experience with this “need to know”, didn’t you?
« Last Edit: December 19, 2017, 04:40:20 PM by Chitza »
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Offline LawnmowerRG

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Re: Motorcycle Insurance Coverage You Should Have
« Reply #2 on: December 19, 2017, 05:52:05 PM »
Hey Tommy
Thanks for putting this up.

I will vouch that he is not trying to sell anything.
Not even trying to tell you what you need to purchase.
Just inform everyone from personal experience on what they need to consider when purchasing Motorcycle insurance.

BTW I talked to him on the phone and told him to go ahead and post this.
It would be nice if you repost in this thread and tell people how you know these things.
Thanks again for taking the time to help other riders.
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Offline Nice Goat

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Re: Motorcycle Insurance Coverage You Should Have
« Reply #3 on: December 19, 2017, 06:10:25 PM »
I don't think that we have ever had somebody with only four posts write a thread that deserved instant sticky status.

Great job.
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Offline Brian A

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Re: Motorcycle Insurance Coverage You Should Have
« Reply #4 on: December 19, 2017, 06:19:24 PM »
Thanks for the info Tommy.

I have been with the same insurance provider for about 30 years. Good folks to work with. Always treat me right.
I recently went through a review and update of my policies and one of the Principals at the (Independent) agency told me pretty much exactly the same thing regard UM/UIM coverage.

I now have it on all my vehicles.

Sadly those of us who can ill afford to lose so much of what we have invested in (health/welfare/material possessions) must insure ourselves against losses caused by those who cannot afford to insure themselves against at-fault damage/injury to others.

Those who have, pay.
Those who don't have, don't pay.

Thanks again and welcome to the forum.
« Last Edit: December 19, 2017, 06:21:08 PM by Brian A »

Offline Fencejumper09

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Re: Motorcycle Insurance Coverage You Should Have
« Reply #5 on: December 20, 2017, 07:49:23 AM »
Great info! I was in a car accident with a man that had just paid the up front cost to get his insurance card then stopped paying. The cops didn't run the insurance info and just looked at the dates on his card. Needless to say I called State Farm after things calmed down and his coverage had lapsed!

I had a totaled car and no one to pay for it! I have UM/UIM coverage now!
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Offline KevinB

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Re: Motorcycle Insurance Coverage You Should Have
« Reply #6 on: December 20, 2017, 10:00:52 AM »
There's not an insurance database to "run" insurance cards that I know of. When I run an in -state tag,  it comes back with the registration and insurance info (when you buy your tag and give them your insurance card,  that's where the info comes from).

If the tag has expired or the insurance term has lapsed from that provided insurance card,  it will show "Unconfirmed" on the screen...at which point I'll ask for a copy of their proof of insurance. If it shows current,  that's really all I have to go on.

I had a crash where a driver called me after the fact to inform me that the other driver's insurance was in fact expired. I called both a local agent and the main company, and was given the run around as to whether the driver actually had current insurance.
« Last Edit: December 20, 2017, 10:01:54 AM by KevinB »

Offline Buzz

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Re: Motorcycle Insurance Coverage You Should Have
« Reply #7 on: December 20, 2017, 10:53:22 AM »
+1

Also know that the system that Leo uses has a significant update lag.

Offline TC

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Re: Motorcycle Insurance Coverage You Should Have
« Reply #8 on: December 21, 2017, 03:39:14 PM »
Great info! I was in a car accident with a man that had just paid the up front cost to get his insurance card then stopped paying. The cops didn't run the insurance info and just looked at the dates on his card. Needless to say I called State Farm after things calmed down and his coverage had lapsed!

I had a totaled car and no one to pay for it! I have UM/UIM coverage now!

An important point about UM/UIM coverage is that it does not pay for property damage, only damages resulting from personal injury or death.  A claim for damage to your vehicle which was caused by an uninsured driver would be made against the collision coverage on your insurance.  By state statute, UM/UIM coverage is only required to pay for personal injury damages or death resulting from an accident which was caused by an uninsured or underinsured driver.  If you only have liability and UM/UIM coverage, it will not pay for damage to your vehicle caused by an uninsured or underinsured driver.

Offline TC

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Re: Motorcycle Insurance Coverage You Should Have
« Reply #9 on: December 23, 2017, 06:47:43 AM »
Leeds motorcyclist continues to recover after Hit & Run

http://wiat.com/2017/12/22/leeds-motorcyclist-continues-to-recover-after-hit-run/

(Via CBS 42 News)

I saw this article this morning on the CBS 42 web site and it is a grim reminder of the importance of having UM/UIM coverage.  It is a realistic example of when having that coverage would make a huge difference in someone's life. While it can't change his physical condition, it could certainly reduce or eliminate his financial problems.