August 27th, 2014
Just as driving a motorcycle is different than driving a car, the same can be said for insurance. Having auto insurance does not mean you are also covered when driving a motorcycle, and vice -versa.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are an average of 33,783 motor vehicle deaths each year. Of those, roughly 4,000 are a result of motorcycle accidents. With these numbers in mind, it is imperative that drivers treat insurance with the attention it deserves.
Because of the differences between the two kinds of vehicle, insurance also differs greatly. Here are a few things to know before taking your ride out for a spin:
Two wheels vs. Four wheels
This might seem obvious, but there are distinct standards when it comes to operating two separate vehicles. You cannot mix and match your coverage hoping that you will be legally allowed to operate either vehicle. The insurance you purchase will specify the size of the vehicle and the amount of wheels.
Because all cars contain at least two seats, most four, insurance companies assume that you will carry passengers in your vehicle. Because of this, auto insurance takes this into consideration and includes passengers in a general policy. However, insurance companies do not consider a motorcycle to be a means of transportation for more than one person, meaning you will have to purchase additional insurance to cover anyone who rides with you.
You can adjust your insurance to reflect the amount of time you actually spend using your vehicle. It is understood that cars are generally used all year round by drivers, but motorcyclists typically ride less often in the winter, and for some, only on weekends. Insurers will allow you to buy a cheaper plan if your riding habits are only seasonal, whereas standard auto insurance is the same monthly amount throughout the whole year.
A helmet and protective clothing are standard wear for bikers and are insured as accessories. For the most part, auto insurance covers the vehicle itself, and the passengers inside. It will not cover any additional accessories you may add on. This is because a helmet is considered a necessary protective measure and most states require all bikers to wear one at all times.
Motorcyclists are more likely to take out a personal injury policy because a motorcycle provides less physical protection compared to a car. A motorcycle crash will almost always involve bodily harm, whereas people walk away from car wrecks with just a few scratches all the time.
Despite their differences, some companies will provide you with a deal to cover both vehicles. As long as coverage is applicable to each one, this might be your best bet in order to save money. Also, it is the law to have insurance at all times. Regardless of distance traveled, expertise or time of use, you must have at least liability insurance to be allowed to ride.