Motorcycle Insurance Coverage: Things You Need to Know to Protect Yourself on the Road

Shannon C. Carey - SiebenCarey "Know Your Rights" AttorneyMay 01, 2013

It's that time of year again when the motorcycles come out of storage and the enthusiasts hit the road after a long winter. As you get your motorcycle ready for the spring and summer, it's also important to check your insurance coverage to make sure you have adequate protection on your bike. The following is motorcycle insurance information along with suggestions to protect you on the open road:

1) Minnesota law does not recognize motorcycles as a "motor vehicle". Therefore, Minnesota only requires liability coverage for motorcycles.

2) While Minnesota law requires underinsured motorist (UIM) and uninsured motorist (UM) coverage for motor vehicles, these coverages are optional for motorcycle owners. UIM coverage pays you for your injuries when the at-fault driver has insurance coverage, but his/her coverage is not enough to fully compensate you for the damages you suffered. UM coverage pays you for your injuries when the at-fault driver doesn't have any insurance.

3) Minnesota does not allow a motorcycle owner access to his/her UIM/UM coverage on a motor vehicle if the owner is injured by an underinsured or uninsured motorist while riding his/her bike. The only UIM/UM coverage available to the motorcycle owner is that which he/she purchases for the motorcycle.

4) To protect yourself against the approximately 15% of uninsured drivers and the countless underinsured drivers, it is important to purchase the optional UIM/UM coverage for your motorcycle. Don't just purchase the minimum UIM/UM coverage of $25,000. Spend a few extra dollars and purchase enough coverage so if you are injured by an uninsured or underinsured motorist you have enough money to pay for a majority, if not all, of your damages. Talk with your insurance agent to determine what is the best coverage for you.

I recently represented a client who, while riding his motorcycle, was injured by a motor vehicle who didn't see him and pulled out in front of him. My client had to put his bike down and suffered significant injuries. My client's injuries far exceeded the at-fault vehicle's insurance coverage, however my client had not purchased the optional UIM/UM coverage for his motorcycle so he was only able to recover the amount of insurance carried on the motor vehicle that struck him.

Motorcycle accidents happen when you least expect them and I would encourage you as you gear up for the riding season to double check the insurance coverage on your motorcycle and make sure you purchase adequate optional UIM/UM insurance to give you and your family peace of mind.

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