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What’s the law in the U.S. regarding motorcycle insurance?

Liability insurance is a valuable asset to drivers of any type of vehicle — it protects you from damages in the event that you are at fault for an accident. And, as a motorcyclist, you generally don’t have a choice in the matter: nearly every state (with the exception of Florida, Montana, and Washington) requires motorcyclists to have a minimum level of liability insurance, such as property damage and bodily injury liability.

Both property and bodily injury coverage assist with third-party damages and are often paired together in an insurance policy, but they protect against different things. Property damage insurance covers claims against damage to others’ property resulting from an accident. “Property” can include vehicles, storefronts, residential buildings, pets, garages, and fences. Bodily injury insurance would cover any medical expenses of a passenger or other driver resulting from a crash, as well as any lingering damages, such as lost wages, pain, and suffering. In most states, guest passengers are automatically covered under bodily injury. Where it’s not, you either would have to pay an additional premium for it or get separate passenger liability coverage.

The minimum amount of liability insurance coverage you need will vary state-by-state. This minimum usually is the same for both cars and motorcycles, though we recommend referring to your local department motor of vehicles or your insurance agent to find out what the minimums are for motorcyclists in your state. Because the minimum generally does not completely cover damages resulting from an accident, you most likely will wind up purchasing more than the minimum required by your state if you’re involved in a collision.

As far as coverage for the policyholder’s own damages in the event of a crash, most states do not regulate medical expense coverage, such as any medical, hospital, lost wages, or disability expenses resulting from a crash. This coverage would be negotiated between the insurance company and policyholder.