There are some major differences on how we handle motorcycles and cars, and not just for the riders. Driver licenses, regulations, even the motor oil is different. One other major differences is how insurance is handled for a motorcycle, particularly in a no-fault state like Massachusetts. If you’re interested in getting a motorcycle, you should know about the differences between their insurances coverage, and not only the cost.
Reasons Behind the Differences
Insurance is about risk and cost. What does the insured subject cost, and what is the risk that it will get damaged (or damage other things)? From these two concepts are the major differences between auto and motorcycle insurance. Motorcycles themselves generally cost less than their equivalent car, however the risk of an accident causing significant damage to the motorcycle and the rider is generally higher. Because of this a normal insurance policy of a motorcycle looks different than that of an auto, especially depending on the state’s policy.
Personal Injury Protection
Massachusetts is a no-fault state, which means your car insurance must cover your damages and injuries in an accident, regardless of who is at fault. This policy includes personal injury protection policy (PIP), which covers personal injury to the driver, passengers, and pedestrians included in the accident. However, motorcycles are exempt from this no-fault insurance. Therefore, a standard policy for motorcycle insurance does not provide injury coverage to the driver or passenger, though it normally does cover pedestrians.
What This Means for Motorcycle Riders
While a car driver can be compensated for injury regardless of who is at fault, a motorcycle driver and passenger aren’t so lucky. Any injuries sustained cannot be compensated by the standard insurance policies of either side in the accident, unless the other party can be proven to be at-fault, a process that can take a long time and may require legal intervention. This also means that a driver of a motorcycle should think twice before offering rides: passengers may hold the operator personally liable for injuries sustained in an accident.
Buying Additional Motorcycle Insurance
Because of these gaps in a general motorcycle insurance policy, it’s wise to look at insurance that provides more coverage, either upgrading to a more comprehensive policy, or additional policies or policy riders that can improve your coverage:
- Guest Passenger Liability: Provides coverage to any passenger in the event they are injured during an accident.
- Comprehensive Coverage: Covers damage to the motorcycle not caused by a collision, such as a fire, vandalism, or theft.
- “Lay Up” Policies: Some policies can have their costs reduced by having all insurances suspended (besides comprehensive) during long times of disuse, such as in winter.
Want to learn more about how motorcycles are treated both on the road and in insurance? Want to learn more about the different insurances that can cover your motorcycles? Contact us at the TJ Woods Insurance Agency and we’ll help you get your motorcycle insured just the way you want it.