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UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020
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When you own both a car and a motorcycle, it may seem tempting to believe that your car insurance will cover you if you have a wreck on your motorcycle. After all, your car insurance covers you when you drive a rental car or someone else’s car, so why wouldn’t it cover your motorcycle usage? This is a dangerous belief, however, because not only can you have problems with coverage by adopting this attitude, but you may not have the right type of coverage for a motorcycle accident.
Your car insurance will NOT cover you if you have an accident on your motorcycle!
You need a separate policy for your motorcycle, one that lists it and any riders who might use it. This is of paramount importance—not only are you not covered for injuries and damages to your bike with your car insurance, but you have no liability coverage, either, and if you cause an accident, you could be solely responsible for all damages.
Motorcycle insurance covers different things than car insurance
Incredibly, motorcycle insurance is not even required in some states, but that does not mean you do not need it. Statistics show that, in an accident between a car and motorcycle, the motorcycle rider is almost sure to take the brunt of the damage, so you want a policy which covers your medical expenses and the repairs to your bike, with additions for lost time at work if possible.
Some companies do offer “motorcycle endorsements” to your regular car insurance policy, which can be purchased separately. However, beware – these endorsements are usually very limited, and do not give you anywhere close to the amount of coverage a standalone motorcycle policy offers.
Having established that you need a separate motorcycle policy, what are the signs of a “good” one? Because many states do not regulate motorcycle coverage as they do car insurance policies, you can easily be taken in by a company which advertises “cheap” motorcycle policies, but simply does not provide the coverage you need. At a minimum, you should look for the following:
1) Liability coverage. While at least two-thirds of all motorcycle accidents are the fault of another driver, it is imperative that you have good liability coverage. Your liability limits with a motorcycle may be a bit lower, as motorcycles do not often do the damage to others that cars can do, but what if you hit a pedestrian or a bicyclist? You need minimum liability coverage in amounts similar to that of your car insurance in order to protect your assets.
2) Collision coverage. If you have an accident on your motorcycle, whether you hit another vehicle or simply “wipe out” on a slick road, damage is likely to be done to your bike. You want a good collision policy which will repair the damage to your motorcycle.
3) Comprehensive coverage. This is important coverage to have if your bike is stolen, damaged by water, or consumed in a fire. Your liability and collision will not cover these events, so it is best to have comprehensive coverage, as well.
4) Medical payments. Unfortunately, it is an all-too-real fact that many motorcycle drivers suffer personal injury in an accident. Unless your health insurance will pay all of your medical bills—and it may not—you need a medical payment policy to be sure you get the treatment you need after a motorcycle accident.
You may also choose add-ons to your motorcycle policy just like those for your car. Towing and roadside service, gap coverage, and replacement of personal property can all be added to a motorcycle policy. Many insurance companies also offer similar discounts to car insurance on motorcycle insurance policies such safety equipment, training classes and good driving discounts, Talk to your agent to be sure you are taking advantage of all available discounts.