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Motorcycle Insurance Coverage

Motorcycle Insurance Coverage

You're riding your motorcycle down the road. It's a beautiful summer day in Pittsburgh, with warm air and the breeze in your hair. The light turns green, you enter the intersection, and then suddenly everything goes dark. You wake up later in the hospital and find out that you were hit by a "cager" (a person driving a car). This has the potential to be a very expensive collision for you because you, like many people, only hold the minimum coverage for motorcyclists, which leaves a lot to be desired. You end up out of work for a month, with several expensive surgeries, and with no medical insurance you are paying back medical bills for a long time after your stitches are removed.

This, unfortunately, is a far too common story for many motorcyclists. Like automobiles, a certain level of insurance coverage is required for anyone operating a motorcycle. However, it is far too low to adequately compensate you for any serious injury. We spoke to Frank Blum, a State Farm insurance provider in Jefferson Hills, PA, about the level of insurance coverage that motorcyclists should have in order to be protected in the case that the unthinkable happens.

1. Minimum coverage is not sufficient. Under Pennsylvania law, motorcyclists are only required to carry liability coverage (noted as "A" on your policy). The policy will pay for "bodily injury and property damage that you may cause." Injury or damage for the person you hit will be covered, but if you are injured, or suffer any damage to your bike, then you get nothing. Additionally, basic policies usually have low limits and high deductibles, meaning that you will end up having to pay for a large portion of the damage and injury that you cause. It is recommended that you purchase collision coverage ("G") which will protect your motorcycle in the case that you collide with something and suffer physical damage and/or comprehensive coverage ("C"), which protects your motorcycle in the case of theft, fire, scratching, or any other non-collision related damage. Personal injury protection (PIP) coverage to cover any personal injury to you in an accident, which is available for cars, is generally not available for motorcycles.

2. Underinsured and Uninsured Motorist Coverage can make the difference in a collision. Underinsured motorist coverage ("W") and uninsured motorist coverage ("U") provide money for medical treatment in the case that you are run off the road. Pennsylvania does not require medical coverage for motorcycles, so many policies do not provide it. Underinsured and Uninsured motorist coverage provides money for that treatment in the case that you are a victim of a hit-and-run, or the driver does stop but only has the minimum level of liability coverage which is not sufficient to cover your damages and injuries. Remember that if you reject U and W coverage on your motorcycle policy, then you are foreclosed from using the coverage from your automobile policy.

3. Stacking is critical. "Stacking" is the term for multiplying your uninsured and underinsured motorcyclist coverage. It only applies to uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. It does not cost much, but provides substantial benefits. If your policy is stacked, that means that your coverage limit (and therefore the benefits that you can receive) is multiplied by the number of vehicles that are covered, which means that you are better protected in the case of serious injury and property damage. If your motorcycle is on the same policy as your automobiles, the coverage is stacked across all vehicles. Pay a little money now to save a lot of money in the event of an accident.

4. Expand your coverage. A health insurance policy is always a good idea for any motorcyclist, because most policies do not provide expansive first-person motorcycle medical coverage, particularly if an uninsured or underinsured motorist is not involved. Further, a motorcyclist should consider purchasing life and disability insurance policies to cover the costs associated with being disabled and unable to work, or to protect your family in the case that you are involved in a fatal accident.

The right level of motorcycle insurance coverage is critical to being safe out on the roads. Don't wait until you're in an ambulance to think about what your insurance provides. Contact an insurance agent to talk about expanding your coverage on your bike beyond the minimum to be sure that you are safe when cycling.

In sum, here are two points to consider when purchasing insurance:

•· Don't go with the cheapest policy; go with the best! Although you may pay a little bit more now, if the worst should happen, you will have the coverage that you need, particularly if you choose a stacking option.

•· If you own property in multiple states, such as a home in Pennsylvania with two cars, and a home in Florida with a car and a motorcycle, talk to your insurance company about the possibility of expanding coverage from the same policy across vehicles in both states. That way, you can take advantage of higher levels of stacking.

The phrase Biker Chick Lawyer and its accompanying logo are Registered Trademarks of Lisa Marie Vari d/b/a Lisa Marie Vari & Associates.

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Phone: 412-281-9906
Fax: 412-281-9908

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Phone: 305-222-7351
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Fax: 305-329-2563

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