A spike in motorcycle fatalities in Illinois has provided a rather gritty reminder of the need to improve road safety to prevent motorcycle accidents.
In 2009, 130 riders were killed in Illinois, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation. This number represented 14 percent of all motor vehicle fatalities. Over a ten-year period the number of motorcycle registrations has increased over 76 percent. Motorcycles account for three percent of all vehicles registered. What does that add up to? It means motorcycle riders are overrepresented in the number of annual fatalities.
Causes of Motorcycle Accidents
European safety researchers published comprehensive results from investigations of hundreds of motorcycle accidents. Based on comprehensive investigations into 921 motorcycle accidents, 103 of which were fatal, the study was called the Motorcycle Accidents In Depth Study (MAIDS).
One of the key findings in the study was that motorcycles most often collide with passenger cars, and in many of these accidents, the driver of the other vehicle failed to see the motorcycle entirely.
The second most common cause of an accident is rider loss of control and crashes onto the roadway itself. Injuries to the lower body, spine and head can be sustained from hitting from curbs and road-side barriers. In September, a 27-year-old man was killed when his motorcycle veered off the road and hit a curb.
Speed does not necessarily lead to accidents and most accidents occur at fairly low speeds and while at a complete stop. In fact, over half of the accidents in the European study occurred in intersections.
As a motorcyclist, don’t leave your protective gear at home. Helmets and protective clothing do an excellent job of preventing common injuries. In Illinois wearing a helmet is not required, but safety advocates strongly recommend wearing them. More than 8 out of 10 (82 percent) of motorcycle riders killed in 2009 were not wearing a helmet, and that should tell you all you need to know about what wearing a helmet can do to protect you.
Buying motorcycle insurance is complicated, and the rules are different from state to state. The critical elements of buying a policy vary widely, so rule number on is knowing what you’re buying.
With that in mind, here’s a short list of things you need to know about motorcycle insurance, and if the worst ever happens, you’ll be glad you read this article and followed our advice.
The Biggest Mistake You Can Make When Buying Motorcycle Insurance
The biggest mistake that you can make?
Not buying enough insurance.
To imagine that you’re saving a few bucks on your policy can cost you big money and aggravation if you’re involved in an accident. The consequences of motorcycle accidents can be devastating. You’re traveling almost entirely unprotected at a high rate of speed and an accident can result in a range of injuries from simple road rash and broken bones to something much worse like spinal injury or serious head trauma.
Any accident – even a relatively low speed accident - can leave you faced with a long hospital stay. The average week in the hospital costs more than $50,000, and if your insurance coverage runs out before you’re fully healed, you’ve got a problem which could cost you all your assets.
Don’t make this most critical of mistakes. We recommend that you purchase as much insurance as you can afford and ignore the minimum amounts that state laws require when you make your calculations of acceptable risk.
The Second Biggest Mistake You Can Make When Buying Motorcycle Insurance
The second biggest mistake that you can make is to purchase motorcycle insurance without a clear understanding your policy’s limitations and the laws of the state in which you live.
Here are some insurance terms you need to understand in order to make an informed decision.
Full Tort vs. Limited Tort
Full Tort coverage refers to your ability to receive compensation from a motorist who may be legally responsible for any injuries you suffer in an accident. States like Pennsylvania don’t require you to pay extra for full tort motorcycle insurance. On the other hand, if you live in New Jersey, you’re required to select what’s called a No Limitation on Lawsuit option if you want to have any hope of being compensated for pain and suffering you might be caused by the negligence of other motorists.
It comes down to this; the state you live in is an essential component of understanding of what you actually get when you’re buying your motorcycle insurance.
Bodily Injury Liability Coverage
Bodily Injury Liability coverage will provide you payments to cover claims against your assets if you’re found legally responsible for being at fault in an accident.
Buy as much of this type of coverage as you can afford. You won’t be sorry if you ever need it.
This may well be the most important insurance coverage decision you’ll make, and it typically pays medical, hospital, lost-income and disability expenses to you if you’re injured in an accident. Replacing your motorcycle is relatively cheap, but a hospital stay can ruin your financial future, so pay particular attention to this decision when you buy your policy.
UM/UIM Coverage – You Can’t Do Without It
Uninsured Motorist coverage protects you if you’re injured by a driver who carries no insurance. In some metropolitan areas in the United State, nearly a third of all drivers are uninsured, and underinsured motorist coverage protects you in the event you’re injured by a driver who has inadequate insurance to pay claims you make make against them as a result of their negligence.
Keep this in mind, nearly all drivers are likely to be underinsured to some extent, so don’t forget to specify this coverage when you talk to your insurer.
Our Recommendations For How Much Coverage You Should Purchase
- Liability Coverage – We suggest that you purchase the maximum limit of 100/300.
- Medical Coverage – Don’t risk running out of coverage. Purchase as much Medical Expense Benefits Coverage as you are able to. Motorcycle accidents typically result in more than $34,000 in medical costs.
- Uninsured Motorist and Underinsured Motorist Coverage – If the “other guy” makes this mistake, you pay the price. Carry at least 100/300.
- Bodily Injury Liability Coverage – Purchase the maximum of 100/300.
- Medical Expense Benefits Coverage - Go big or go home here. Not carrying sufficient medical expense benefits means you risk running out of coverage, and you don’t want that.
Whether you ride a sport bike or an American cruiser, your insurance needs can get complicated.
We’re here to help you find the right motorcycle insurance, whatever you ride…
Tips for buying your motorcycle insurance, coverage you need:
- Comprehensive to cover such things as fire, hail, wind, vandalism, hitting an animal, etc.
- Towing / Pickup
- Collision to pay for damage caused to your vehicle in an accident with another vehicle or any stationary object.
- Medical payment or personal injury protection to cover the medical bills resulting from an accident.
- Uninsured or underinsured motorist to protect us when the other driver is at-fault and does not have coverage or assets out of which your bills can be paid.