Motorcycle Law and Insurance

Jun. 14th, 2011   /   , , , ,

Motorcycle Law and Insurance

Motorcyle riding, for many, is an adventure, a thrill, and an incredible way to release your thoughts and just go. Actually, it’s downright American. However, the dangers associated with riding without a helmet and not being properly insured are too important to be ignored.

Some states require that motorcycle riders wear a helmet while riding. Florida law, however, does not.  The law is in Florida is as follows:

A person over 21 years of age may operate or ride upon a motorcycle without wearing protective headgear securely fastened upon his or her head.

Obviously, riding without a helmet leaves motorcycle owners at a much higher risk for a severe accident. You need to protect yourself with insurance if an accident were to occur. 286 fatalities were reported in the first nine months of 2010 related to motorcycle accidents. The National Highway Traffic Administration estimates that helmets saved 1,829 motorcyclists’ lives in 2008 and that an additional 823 could have been saved if all motorcyclists had worn helmets.

Most motorcycle owners believe that they will be covered by their automobile insurance or by the adverse driver’s insurance if they are involved in a crash. However, they are sorely mistaken. In Florida, insurance is not required for motorcycles. Additionally, the PIP coverage of your auto insurance will NOT cover the owner if injured on a motorcycle. PIP benefits, or Personal Injury Protection, gives an individual reimbursement of 80% of medical bills and 60% of lost wages as the result of an accident up to $10,000.

Motorcycle PIP is not required by Florida law, but is essential for you to have in the event of an accident. As a motorcycle rider, you do not want to be left with thousands of dollars in medical bills because you were not fully educated on the benefits of your insurance. PIP coverage should be carried by everyone who owns and operates a motorcycle.

Additionally, property damage liability coverage protects you if you damage someone else’s property with your motorcycle by driving negligently. It does not protect you for any bodily injury the other person sustains due to your negligence.

Lastly, and just as important is uninsured motorist coverage, or UM. In an accident, the other person’s BI, or bodily injury protection, will normally cover your medical expenses and lost wages expenses. What if the person doesn’t have BI coverage? What if their coverage doesn’t cover the amount of your expenses? You need to protect yourself with UM. So, if you are a car or a motorcycle owner, you should obtain UM coverage.

As we’ve previously discussed, understanding your auto insurance is vital to making educated decisions on what type of insurance to obtain. Motorcycle operators need to know that they are not covered for PIP or UM under their auto insurance plan, and need to separately obtain coverage on their motorcycle. Therefore, it is with good reason that EVERYONE who rides a motorcycle should make sure that they have separate UM coverage and separate PIP for their bikes.

If you have any questions or comments, please call our office at 561-266-9191 or email us at daronberg@aronberglaw.com.

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