Do I need uninsured motorist coverage for my motorcycle?
Uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage is mandatory in some states and optional in others. But even where it's not required, UM/UIM is a common coverage that can act as a safeguard against motorists without enough insurance. No matter how careful you are while riding, you can't control the actions of other drivers. UM/UIM coverage can cover injuries to you and damages to your bike if you're hit by a driver with no insurance or not enough coverage for the injuries and damages they cause.
What does uninsured motorist coverage protect?
There are three types of drivers you might have a collision with while riding your bike:
- Drivers with enough liability coverage to pay for injuries they cause to you and damages they cause to your motorcycle
- Drivers with some liability coverage but not enough to cover all the damages and injuries they cause
- Drivers who don't have any insurance coverage
Uninsured/underinsured motorist motorcycle coverage can cover you in the latter two instances — when an at-fault driver has insufficient or no liability coverage to pay out for the damages and injuries they cause. The coverage could include medical bills, repairs to your motorcycle, and wages you lose while recuperating from an injury.
UMBI & UMPD
In many states, UM/UIM coverage covers only bodily injuries; this is referred to as UMBI coverage. Some states also allow UM/UIM coverage for property damage as well, known as UMPD.
Is uninsured motorist coverage for my motorcycle worth it?
Most states require drivers to carry at least a minimum amount of liability coverage, but that doesn't mean every driver on the road is insured. In fact, according to a 2021 study by the Insurance Research Council, about one in eight drivers were uninsured.
Suppose an uninsured driver causes an accident with you. Your motorcycle insurance policy's personal injury protection or medical payments coverage can cover medical bills and lost earnings to a limit, but injury costs beyond that would need to be paid out of your pocket or through your health insurance if you don't carry UM/UIM coverage.
Is uninsured motorist property damage worth it if I have collision coverage for my motorcycle?
If your state allows it, it can be worth carrying both uninsured motorist property damage (UMPD) coverage and collision coverage. Collision can cover damage to your motorcycle when it's involved in an accident, regardless of fault. However, your UMPD coverage may not have a deductible; and even when there is a deductible, it's often lower than your collision deductible. Therefore, UMPD can cover damage to your bike caused by uninsured drivers at a potentially lower out-of-pocket cost than collision would.
Example:You have UM/UIM coverage that includes UMBI and UMPD, and you have collision coverage. An uninsured driver causes an accident that totals your motorcycle. Your policy's collision coverage could pay for a new bike, minus your $1,000 collision deductible. However, you file the claim under your policy's UMPD coverage, which has no deductible.
Can someone else ride my motorcycle?
If you give the borrower permission, someone can borrow your bike and generally be covered as you would be by your policy (as long as there's no exclusion). Note that uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage doesn't cover damages and injuries to others caused by someone who borrows your bike. Rather, it's intended to cover the borrower's injuries and damages to your bike if the borrower's collision was caused by another driver with inadequate coverage.
Do I need motorcycle insurance to test ride a motorcycle?
Even when test riding a bike you don't yet own, it's best to have your own insurance. If you're shopping with a dealer, you may be asked to show proof of insurance before you're allowed to test ride. Dealers often carry physical damage insurance, but they may not carry liability insurance, meaning you'd be responsible for any damages or injuries caused to others when test driving.
If you're purchasing from an individual, the same guidelines for borrowing a bike may apply. That said, it's still best to carry your own insurance so you can be sure of an active policy with coverages and limits you've selected, and so you have liability coverage in case you cause an accident during the test ride.