1. Do I have full coverage?
Probably not. Most people who own motorcycles assume they have full coverage just because they have collision coverage in case their motorcycle is damaged. The most important coverage provided in your motorcycle policy is your Uninsured/Underinsured (UM/UIM) coverage. This is the coverage that pays you when you are injured in a motorcycle accident as a result of the other driver’s fault and he or she having minimum or no insurance coverage to pay for your injuries.
2. How much motorcycle insurance coverage should I maintain?
The maximum that is provided under the law by your insurance company. The minimum allowed under the law is $15,000.00. Nearly every motorcycle insurance company is now offering up to $250,000.00 of coverage for both liability (when you are at fault) and UM/UIM (when you are injured and not at fault).
3. What does UM/UIM mean?
If you are hurt by someone who has either no insurance or less than your own coverage, you are allowed to make up the difference under your own policy provided that the other driver was at fault. For example, if the other driver that hurt you has a $15,000.00 policy and you suffer major injuries, you are entitled to an additional $235,000.00 worth of coverage under your UIM (underinsurance) endorsement provided you had a $250,000.00 policy. If the other driver has no insurance (15% of the New Jersey public drives without insurance), you are entitled to make a UM (uninsured) claim for $250,000.00.
4. What if I cannot afford the maximum insurance policy?
If you cannot afford the maximum amount, then you surely should consider not riding a motorcycle in New Jersey. The difference between a $15,000.00 policy and a $250,000.00 policy is less than $200.00 a year. For an additional $200.00 or possibly much less you are able to provide yourself $250,000.00 worth of protection for motorcycle related injuries that are not your fault.
5. Is $250,000.00 worth of coverage the most I can get?
As far as I know, at the present time, nearly every motorcycle insurance company will provide only up to $250,000.00 of UM/UIM coverage. However, recently I have been informed that Progressive Insurance Company is now offering $500,000.00 policy. Again, the cost for this $500,000.00 policy as compared to the $250,000.00 policy is less than $200.00 a year. I am not a Progressive Insurance agent. I am a personal injury attorney. However, I would urge you to purchase the Progressive Insurance motorcycle policy.
6. What is your recommendation as to the best motorcycle insurance policy to obtain?
I would purchase the $500,000.00 policy now being offered by Progressive Insurance Company. To my knowledge, they are the only motorcycle insurance company offering up to $500,000.00. Do not walk, but run to your computer or to your telephone to purchase this motorcycle insurance policy. I do not know how long it will last or whether or not the other motorcycle insurance companies will follow suit and begin to offer this additional amount of coverage. As a motorcyclist, you would be crazy not to purchase this type of coverage. Sadly, we all know that you are subject to greater injuries on your motorcycle than you will ever be in your automobile. This $500,000.00 policy should be purchased by every motorcyclist in the State of New Jersey.
7. Please explain to me UM/UIM.
In New Jersey, 15 percent of the people drive without insurance. 25% of the people drive with coverage of $15,000.00. When you are injured in a motorcycle accident, the chances are 40% that the person that injured you only has $15,000.00 or less to pay you. Where are you going to get the money to pay for your injuries, loss of work, pain and suffering for the rest of your life?
UM is for “uninsured” motorist coverage which covers all accidents whereby you are injured by someone who has no insurance. UIM is for “underinsurance” coverage and provides you coverage for all those injuries that you sustained by someone who maintained insurance less than yours. Under UIM you can make up the difference between the responsible party’s coverage and your coverage.
8. Is a $100,000.00 policy good coverage?
Not really. 40% of the public drives with $15,000.00 or less. $100,000.00 is not a lot of money any more in consideration of the astronomical costs associated with a hospitalization, surgeries and recovery. If you add to the fact that you are out of work, you quickly can understand that you need to have as much protection as possible if you are going to operate a motorcycle in the State of New Jersey.
I would urge you to look at your motorcycle coverage and if it is less than $250,000.00, immediately increase it to that number. If you do not have Progressive Insurance, you should consider going to Progressive Insurance and purchasing the $500,000.00 policy.
9. Who is going to pay my medical bills if I am injured in a motorcycle accident?
The person who hurts you in your accident, even if it is their fault, is not responsible to pay for your medical bills initially. The responsibility for paying your medical bills rests with you. You live in a “no-fault” state. That is what “no-fault” means. Everyone is responsible for their own medical bills even if the other person was a drunk driver or rear-ended you or clearly admits to causing the accident. Initially, all medical bills are your own responsibility. There is no medical coverage under your motorcycle. Recently, some motorcycle insurance carriers have been adding to their policies a med-pay provision up to $25,000.00 to cover bills. If you do not have some type of private medical insurance, you should consider looking into purchasing med-pay on your motorcycle policy to provide you some payment for your medical bills. If you do not have good private medical insurance, this is something to strongly consider.
10. Will my private medical insurance cover my motorcycle accident?
Not always. Although you think that your private medical insurance will clearly cover you for any injuries you sustain, some private medical insurance has exclusions for operating a motorcycle. Please review your private medical insurance coverage to make certain that there is no exclusion for operating a motorcycle if you sustain injuries.
11. Where do I go to get answers to my questions about motorcycle insurance?
Selfishly I would call a personal injury attorney like myself. I deal every single day with these questions that you have concerning motorcycle insurance. There is never a charge for a legal consultation. I am going to provide you the best information possible for you to purchase the best motorcycle insurance coverage on the market. Buying motorcycle insurance should not be controlled by how much you can afford. The additional cost to have the maximum amount of coverage is not that much more money as compared to what you are purchasing currently to protect you and your family from your injuries.
If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me to schedule a free consultation. If you would like additional information, please call Andrew S. Prince, Esq. at (800) TEAM-LAW or (800) 832-6529 for help.