Motorcycle Insurance 101: Floridians Require Coverage Before Cruising
Those who love motorcycles and the feel of the open road are already familiar with the insurance coverage necessary to take a long weekend ride safely. For new riders, it’s never too late to do the research! For those riders that aren’t as familiar with everything that comes along with that shiny new Triumph, it’s important to fully comprehend the rules of the road and the consequences of ignoring them. One of the most important aspects of becoming a safe and fully licensed motorcycle rider is selecting an insurance policy that fits a rider’s specific needs. A rider’s safety and education doesn’t stop after Florida’s required courses are taken and passed.
In fact, before ever revving the engine a rider must familiarize him or herself with insurance coverage, accident prevention methods, and appropriate safety measures. For those in a hurry to hit the road, this may seem boring; but it’s a necessity that must not be skipped. As much as a rider may want to speed off for the first time and hit the road after their big purchase, they must remember to slow down; a motorcycle can be dangerous when driven a rider that lacks proper handling technique and the experience to prevent an accident. Not only are rushed riders putting their own safety at-risk, but the safety of those them as well.
Due to the rise in motorcycle accident claims our South Florida Personal Injury lawyers have litigated in recent months, most recently the case of a shattered wrist in which Sagi Shaked and Nick DeCapua of the Shaked Law Firm obtained a $600,000 settlement on behalf of a client, we have provided readers with this informational article to help those who love to ride and who are considering riding for the first better educate themselves on what goes into owning a motorcycle. Taking the time to read through this helpful article can potentially prevent future accidents and provide peace of mind needed should an accident occur.
Florida’s roads are too dangerous for standard coverage
Standard coverage is exactly what it sounds like–standard; the most basic coverage. However, it cannot protect the rider or any victims who sustain bodily in an accident from everything. For those who require the most peace of mind, the smart choice is to add further coverage to any basic motorcycle insurance policy. Let’s look at the policies available for those who wish to fully protect themselves in the event of an accident.
Bodily Injury and Property Damage Liability: this type of policy will pay out for damages caused to other vehicles and for personal property damaged in an accident. It’s important to note that this coverage applies to bodily injuries sustained by other drivers in the event of an accident, as well as any passengers in their own vehicles (or on their own motorcycles). This insurance policy can potentially cover legal expenses, if the other party chooses to pursue litigation. Overall, this policy can get a new rider started if he or she is on a budget and wants to get out on the road quickly, but it’s not recommended that a rider makes this their only policy. it still lacks the necessities required in a policy to fully protect from everything that could potentially occur on the road.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM coverage): If a rider becomes injured in an accident such as a hit-and-run, or if the other party involved in the accident is at-fault and does not have proper insurance coverage, this is the policy a driver or motorcycle rider MUST employ to keep themselves safe. It’s considered “standard”, only because it’s absolutely necessary to have it, despite the fact that most South Florida drivers are woefully underinsured or completely uninsured. UM/UIM protects motorcycle riders from having to pay for someone else’s recklessness on the road. It can also potentially cover medical expenses, should a rider sustain catastrophic injuries in an accident. This is not a policy anyone wants to be without.
Comprehensive/collision coverage: This policy is also one you don’t want to be without, if it can be helped. This type of coverage will pay to repair or even replace your motorcycle should it become the victim of theft or become damaged by no fault of your own. We’ve all seen the commercials boasting “total car replacement”, and it’s not something to be ignored. This coverage offers what’s called a “deductible”; that means you pay up to a certain amount, and your insurance policy pays the rest. Deductibles vary so we can’t provide exact estimates here on the blog. The best thing to do is check with your insurance company as to what the specifics on your deductible are.
There are specialty policies provided above and beyond “standard” coverage that can be added on to any policy you select, depending on your insurance carrier. These policies can include things such as medical expenses. An example of this policy is coverage that will pay your medical expenses, as well as those of any passengers, in the event of an accident regardless of who was at-fault. These policies can be costly, but medical expenses can cause families great financial burden. The best protection is to invest in your safety. It’s better to have the policy and not need it, than to find yourself the victim of an unforeseen accident and not have enough coverage.
Endless insurance options for Florida’s motorcycle riding population
There’s a wide variety of options available to motorists when it comes to selecting the insurance policy that fits their budget and needs. Insurance carriers like Progressive tend to offer the more expanded insurance coverage packages, should the motorist decide they feel safer with more coverage. These packages can foot the bill (after the specified deductible is met per the policy) for everything from a totaled motorcycle to the expenses incurred after a Traumatic Brain Injury (these injuries can be some of the costliest, from a legal standpoint). Some insurance carriers like Geico also offer coverage in the event you are at-fault. This is an option that’s important to consider, because accidents can happen to the best of us no matter how much emphasis we place on safety. While we all may do our best to maintain a safe driving record, we can’t see what the future holds.
Now, we can briefly look at some expanded packages that insurance carriers offer above and beyond their standard coverage.
Full Replacement Cost: It’s a detrimental expense to repair a damaged motorcycle to the condition it was in prior to an accident (or worse, having to replace a totaled motorcycle without adequate insurance). That’s why insurance policies that include Full Replacement Cost is what many consider to be the gold star of insurance policies for cars and bikes alike. When it comes to motorcycles, they are often totaled or severely damaged beyond repair after an accident, due to their size. Having insurance coverage that helps repair, or in some cases replace a prized possession is something those who can afford it should opt for upon purchase of a motorcycle.
Large Accident Forgiveness: this type of insurance is an add-on for some carriers. It offers coverage above and beyond the standard Accident Forgiveness policy. Under certain conditions, and after a number of years without accident or incident, this type of policy pays for an accident of any size. This type of coverage is excellent to have as a safety net, but read the fine print: it may or may not have a stipulation as to a deductible needing to be met in its terms and conditions.
Small Accident Forgiveness: With this type of coverage, an insurance carrier won’t raise rates for a single, small accident if the accident ends up costing them under a certain dollar amount. In the case of a Small Accident Forgiveness policy, a deductible may still apply (each policy is different; always refer to the specific policy you signed for exact figures). In many cases, it’s quite possible that any insurance coverage purchased regardless of what’s offered will have a deductible the rider will be responsible for in the event of an accident.
A deductible is simply the amount that must be paid before the insurance policy “kicks in” and pays their share.
Accident lawyers maintain their stance on safety
New or inexperienced riders who cannot properly handle a bike pose a serious and life-threatening risk not only to themselves, but to others with whom they share the road. A rider that lacks adequate insurance, experience, or both and then proceeds to cause a serious accident resulting in bodily injuries would find themselves liable for those medical expenses, as well as any damages to other vehicles.
Aside from the all-important insurance coverage stressed on The Law Resource Blog frequently, Florida accident lawyers also stress that spending the time and investing the money in proper motorcycle riding classes should never be neglected. Accident lawyers see too many catastrophic injuries caused as a result of improper motorcycle handling, and it’s devastating. It’s important to remain fully licensed, properly insured, diligent and when necessary, practice in areas that are well lit.
Shaked Law Firm warns anyone considering a motorcycle to never practice riding a bike, or ride a friend’s bike without proper training, insurance, and licensure!