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All revved-up: Insuring your spring ride

Spring ride

It’s spring time, and with sunnier, warmer, dryer roads on tap, a road warrior’s attention turns to motorcycles, and an easy ride into a breezy sunset.

What’s not to like?

Just know before you go that motorcycle insurance isn’t a luxury on your roadway wanderlust — it’s a necessity.

No question, good bike insurance is nothing less than great protection for your two-wheel (OK, three-wheel, in some cases) investment.

Motorcycle insurance: What's required

The Insurance Information Institute has the goods on motorcycle insurance, which, like cars, trucks and SUV’s, largely depends on which state you reside.

“Auto insurers often offer motorcycle insurance coverage as either a stand-alone policy or an endorsement to a personal automobile policy,” says Michael Barry, vice president, media relations, at the institute.

Policy-wise, here’s the skinny from the III, on obligations versus options when you purchase motorcycle insurance:

“Most states require motorcyclists to carry a minimum amount of liability insurance, to cover bodily injury and property damage costs caused to other people involved in an accident. In addition, uninsured/underinsured (UI/UIM) motorist coverage is recommended, or even required, in many states as part of a motorcyclist’s policy to cover expenses for damage were caused by another driver who either does not have insurance, or whose insurance is inadequate.”

“The mandatory minimum limits for these coverages in states where they are required for motorcyclists are generally similar to those required for automobiles,” the III adds. (Find a more detailed explanation of motorcycle insurance from the III here.)

Going the distance: Be thorough

The key to a stable, secure policy? Experts say it’s best to be thorough, and make sure your bike insurance is superior, even, to your four-wheel insurance policy.

“It’s critical that riders treat their bike the same as their primary car or truck for insurance purposes,” says Paul Hoefle, an attorney who specializes in personal injury cases. “Each of the limits of their insurance policy should be at least as good, if not better than their primary vehicle.”

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Motorcycle owners should talk with their insurance agent about having not only good liability insurance, but underinsured (UIM) and uninsured (UM) coverage also, Hoefle adds. “In addition, if they own umbrella coverage, the agent should make sure they are covered for all three of these limits, liability, UIM and UM by their umbrella coverage.”

Hoefle says many people do not realize that UIM and UM coverage is critically important to protect their family members who may be riding bikes, too. “If an uninsured or underinsured driver causes an incident and they are on their bike, the UIM or UM limits oftentimes are simply not enough to cover the injuries,” he says. “People then look to their umbrella and don’t realize until it’s too late the umbrella has an exclusion for UIM and UM coverage.”

“But most insurance companies will provide umbrella coverage over and above the stated UIM and UM limits as long as they are advised and additional modest premium is paid,” Hoefle adds.

Motorcycle insurance costs: Not that expensive

Other insurance industry specialists echo those sentiments, but add that costs aren’t as big an obstacle as motorcycle consumers might think. “It’s essential that every biker purchase motorcycle insurance with both uninsured motorists benefits and underinsured motorists benefits,” says Lawrence J. Buckfire, founder of Buckfire & Buckfire, P.C., a law firm represents bikers in accident cases based in Southfield, Michigan.

“This is the best way to protect yourself in the event a negligent driver without insurance, or with low policy limits, causes serious injuries to a biker in an accident. The coverage is inexpensive and necessary because so many motorists are uninsured or underinsured.”

Count on spending several hundred dollars per year on motorcycle insurance coverage, depending on which state you reside in, and your perceived level of risk, depending on age, driving record, and the type of bike you ride.

Motorcycle insurance needn’t be complicated, but it very much is a fact of life for serious riders. Talk to an insurance agent today, and protect yourself, and your two-wheel investment, with a solid motorcycle insurance policy.

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