There is a common misconception among motorcycle riders that if they are injured in a motorcycle accident, their car insurance or the insurance of the car that is responsible for the accident will be responsible to pay their medical bills. That is not the case. In New Jersey, as in many other states, car insurance companies are required by law to include minimum coverage for medical expenses associated with an auto accident in every policy they sell (this insurance is known as Personal Injury Protection or PIP). Insurance companies are not required to provide the same coverage for medical expenses on motorcycle policies.
What does that mean? If you are injured as a passenger or driver of a motorcycle and you have standard motorcycle insurance, you will have no medical coverage unless your private health insurance carrier pays your bills.
It may not make sense that medical expenses associated with a motorcycle accident are not covered by motorcycle insurance, since injuries suffered in motorcycle accidents are often much greater than those suffered in auto accidents. However, riding a motorcycle is considered a “voluntary risk”. Therefore, even though medical bills can be catastrophic, laws are not written to protect riders the same way they are written to protect drivers or passengers in cars. Riders choose to accept the risk of injury for the love of riding. However, that choice is often based on the general misconception that motorcycle coverage is similar to automobile coverage and as long as insurance is in place, injury to the rider is “covered”.
Most riders are not aware that most motorcycle policies expose riders to various risks over and above the risk of injury. An injured rider who paid for motorcycle insurance can end up without appropriate medical care and with enormous debt. In addition, medical bills from a motorcycle collision often eat into and can easily exceed the other driver’s insurance limits, leaving minimal or no compensation for a rider even for injuries caused by someone else’s wrong doing.
Some insurance companies offer optional Medical Payments Coverage for motorcycle policies, which is additional coverage that provides some minimal medical coverage to injured riders. Riders should also check the amount of coverage available to them for collisions involving drivers without insurance or without enough insurance (known as Under Insured Motorist/ Uninsured Motorist or UIM/UM coverage). In some instances, UIM/UM coverage can mean the difference between an accident and a tragedy.
Without the right protection, on top of physical impairment a motorcycle accident could result in enormous financial hardship. Riders should manage that risk, by protecting themselves and making informed choices about insurance, before an injury occurs. Feel free to call for a free insurance review now, before you need it.
Don’t let someone else’s mistake become your nightmare.