Motorcycle Insurance: Don’t Leave Home Without It

Posted by Scott A. Staples | Jan 12, 2015 | 0 Comments

How much insurance should you carry as a motorcycle rider?

My partner Bill Thayer recently wrote a post discussing rising motorcycle-related deaths amongst baby boomers.  As Bill noted, in our practice we often represent motorcycle riders who have been seriously injured in collisions.  Some collisions are fatal.  Motorcycle crashes usually have serious health consequences for the rider and any passengers, for obvious reasons- riders are simply not protected by a protective metal cage and a heavy vehicle surrounding them, as automobile drivers and passengers are.

Many drivers have minimal liability policies of $25,000 or $50,000.  Many have no insurance at all.”

This got me thinking about the issue of insurance for motorcycles, and the need for riders to protect themselves with their own coverage.  It's a simple fact that you can't rely on the driver of a vehicle that causes a collision to have enough liability insurance.  Many drivers have minimal liability policies of $25,000 or $50,000.  Many have no insurance at all.  And because the injuries in motorcycle crashes are usually serious, and sometimes catastrophic, even higher liability limits may not be enough to pay the bills and compensate for the damage done to a motorcycle rider involved in any sort of collision.

Many motorcycle riders may assume that they have adequate insurance coverage to protect themselves in the event of a crash because they have good PIP (personal injury protection, which pays medical bills) or underinsured (UIM) motorist coverage (that pays what the responsible driver should have if they'd had enough coverage) on the cars they drive.  This is a dangerous assumption.  Almost any auto insurance policy is going to exclude from coverage injuries sustained on a motorcycle.  So even if someone has big time coverage on their cars, they may be naked (coverage wise) on their motorcycle.  And chances are good they may not even realize it.

Our best advice: before getting on their bikes again, motorcycle riders should read their policies and check with the agents or insurers to confirm that they are covered by the highest PIP and UIM coverage limits they can afford, and that those coverages specifically are purchased for and apply to the use of motorcycles.  If they aren't covered, they should add the coverage to their policies asap.  Yes, there will be an additional cost on the annual insurance bill.  But it's coverage a rider cannot afford to be without.

About the Author

Scott A. Staples

Scott Staples came on board in 2006 as a clerk during law school, and joined the firm as an associate attorney in 2007. He was made a shareholder in the firm in 2010. Scott graduated, cum laude, from Washington State University Vancouver with a BA in English, and obtained his Juris Doctorate from Willamette University College of Law, with cum laude honors there as well. He has successfully represented clients in a variety of different types of injury cases, including auto collisions, premises liability, animal attacks, watercraft accidents, and construction site injuries. He has appeared, and won, before the Washington State Supreme Court (Weismann v. Safeco, 2012). Scott has volunteered time for the past several years at the Clark County Volunteer Lawyers Housing Justice Project. He has previously served on the new member and membership committees for the Washington State Association for Justice (WSAJ), and has acted as chair and co-chair of the WSAJ Clark County Roundtable. He is a member of the Washington and Oregon State Bar Associations, WSAJ and OTLA (state trial lawyer organizations), and is admitted to practice in all state and federal courts in Washington and Oregon. Scott was born and raised in Vancouver, attending Vancouver public schools and graduating from Hudson's Bay High School. He enjoys playing recreational basketball and softball, skiing, and spending time with his wife and three children.


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