Though motorcyclists often suffer catastrophic or fatal injuries in motorcycle accidents, motorcycles may be specifically excluded from certain types of mandatory insurance coverage under many state statutes. Mandatory personal-injury protection (PIP) and auto medical payment (AMP) insurance, for example, is often unavailable to motorcyclists. Motorcyclists are generally free to purchase motorcycle insurance that provides the same benefits as mandatory PIP or AMP coverage, however, as well as additional items of coverage for themselves and others. In addition, bikers may already possess health insurance that may cover their own motorcycle-accident personal injury costs. A biker’s health insurance will not cover injuries to motorcycle passengers or others injured in an accident, however.

Motorcycle Insurance

While some states do not require any amount of insurance coverage by motorcyclists (Florida is an example), most states require motorcyclists to acquire motorcycle liability insurance in addition to car or other vehicle insurance. This insurance is generally mandated to include liability coverage for injuries and property damage caused to others in motorcycle accidents for which the motorcyclist is at fault. Some states may also require a specified amount of minimum insurance coverage for motorcyclists who ride without helmets.

motorcycle accident insurance coverageMotorcyclists can voluntarily purchase motorcycle insurance, however, even in states that do not require such insurance. Basic liability policies may cover liability for personal injuries and property damage caused to others. Comprehensive policies may be purchased to cover additional items, such as damage to motorcycles or motorcycle equipment and motorcyclists’ or motorcycle passengers’ personal injuries. These policies may also cover loss of a motorcycle by theft or damage to a bike caused by flooding and other such natural events. Coverage may also be purchased to included personal-injury protection (PIP) and/or medical coverage for motorcyclists and their passengers, and protection from uninsured and underinsured motorists.

Personal-injury Protection (PIP) Insurance

Personal-injury protection (PIP) insurance—also known as no-fault insurance—is a form of motor-vehicle insurance that pays benefits to certain individuals injured in motor-vehicle accidents regardless of who was at fault. If someone with PIP coverage is involved in a motor-vehicle accident, benefits may be payable under the policy not only to the policy holder but also to others injured in the accident, even if one or all of those people contributed in some way to the accident and resulting injuries. Thus, coverage can extend to the drivers of one or more cars as well as the passengers in those vehicles.

Another advantage of PIP coverage, in addition to the no-fault aspect, is that an insured person’s premiums are generally not increased after a PIP claim has been made.

PIP protection is mandated for all “motor-vehicle” drivers in some states. In those states, drivers who fail to obtain PIP insurance may be subject to criminal penalties, driver-license suspension, and/or the barring of certain economic and non-economic damages recoveries. PIP insurance is altogether unavailable in some states, while others may not make it mandatory but may still require insurance companies to offer it to drivers for voluntary purchase. In states mandating PIP insurance for drivers of motor vehicles, however, the required PIP coverage usually does not cover motorcycles. Most states accomplish this by defining motor vehicles as vehicles with 4 or more wheels or by specifically stating that motorcycles, mopeds, and motorbikes are not considered “motor vehicles” for purposes of mandated PIP insurance.

Motorcyclists to whom mandatory PIP coverage is unavailable may still be able to purchase PIP coverage under their own motorcycle insurance policies. In addition, if a motorcyclist who has not purchased motorcycle PIP coverage is injured in an accident with another vehicle, the motorcyclist may be entitled to PIP benefits under the other vehicle owner’s policy. In addition, if the motorcyclist has PIP coverage for a car or other motor vehicle (other than a motorcycle), the motorcyclist may be able to receive PIP benefits for injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident under that policy. The availability of any such coverage will depend upon the specific terms of the policies in question.

Items of loss covered by PIP insurance policies, as well as the limits of coverage, may vary from state to state. Specific damages items covered by motorcycle PIP insurance generally include medical bills of motorcycle operators and passengers and those of pedestrians who are injured in a motorcycle collision.

Medical Insurance Coverage

Some states require drivers to obtain medical insurance coverage (also known as auto medical payment or AMP coverage), regardless of whether PIP is also required. When mandatory AMP coverage is not extended to motorcyclists, medical insurance coverage may still be voluntarily purchased by motorcyclists, just as PIP insurance can. The limits of AMP coverage, as do the limits of PIP coverage, also vary from state to state.

Motorcyclists with no or limited health insurance coverage may opt to purchase motorcycle-accident medical payment coverage, which will apply even when the motorcyclist is at fault for the accident that caused the injuries. When motorcyclists have both health insurance and medical insurance coverage, medical insurance may be treated as secondary to the cyclist’s health insurance, requiring health insurance limits to be met before medical insurance can be used.

Uninsured Motorist (UM) and Underinsured Motorist (UIM) Coverage

Motorcyclists may also purchase insurance to cover personal injuries and property damage sustained by motorcyclists in accidents with vehicles driven by uninsured or underinsured motorists. UM/UIM insurance can cover your medical costs, lost wages, and motorcycle repair or replacement costs if the motorist at fault is not insured or if the motorist’s insurance is inadequate to cover your insurable losses.

No-fault (PIP), UM/UIM, and other insurance requirements vary considerably from state to state and can be extremely complex. If you have been injured in a motorcycle accident anywhere in the country, national motorcycle attorneys with a keen understanding of insurance laws—and experience dealing with insurance company defense lawyers—can provide you with the legal representation you need. Our nationally respected motorcycle-accident lawyers and paralegals have a wide-ranging knowledge of motorcycle-injury insurance law and understand what is required to see that clients receive the full measure of benefits to which they are entitled. The carefully selected team that will work on your case will include a motorcycle lawyer familiar with the insurance laws of your state. Regardless of the extent and nature of your coverage or that of others involved, we will provide you with the highest quality assistance in achieving the justice you deserve for your motorcycle-accident injuries or loved one’s death.