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Motorcycle Accidents Supplement
A Word About Uninsured/Under Insured "UM/UIM" Insurance Coverage
All too often bikers tell me that they carry liability coverage only, or that they waived the UM/UIM coverage on their motorcycle policy, or that they have the UM/UIM coverage, but they carry only a minimum limits (20/40/15) policy.
If you are reading this article (and you have not yet had the misfortune of being the victim in a motorcycle accident), please consider increasing the coverage limits on your motorcycle policy. The coverage most pertinent to this discussion is the uninsured motorist / under insured motorist "UM/UIM" coverage. This is the coverage which allows you to receive compensation from your own policy in the event you suffer personal injuries and property damage due to the negligence of an uninsured or under insured motorist.
When I discuss this topic with bikers, they usually tell me something along the lines of "I do not want to spend my money to pay for insurance that protects a negligent uninsured / under insured driver." Well, that is a very short sighted way to look at this situation. What you should consider is that you are paying for insurance to protect yourself from the negligence of the uninsured / under insured driver. After all, if you are injured by a negligent uninsured / under insured driver, you get the benefit of the coverage. How is that protecting the negligent driver? If you think you would rather just sue the uninsured / under insured driver, think again, most uninsured / under insured drivers do not have enough money to pay for their own automobile insurance, much less compensate someone for serious (or even minor) injuries.
Other bikers tell me that they do not need the higher limit UM/UIM coverage, because their personal injury protection "PIP," or medical payment "MedPay" coverage will adequately protect them. Definitely, PIP or MedPay will help you in the event of an injury, but usually those coverages have only a $2,500.00 to $5,000.00 limit. That is not nearly enough to pay the medical bills and lost wages of someone seriously injured. If you are fortunate enough to be covered by a group health insurance plan at work, it will most probably pay the majority of the covered medical expenses (after you have met your deductibles). If you are very fortunate, and have coverage under short and long term disability plans, they will probably help you by replacing some percentage of your wage loss. If you have coverage under all of the foregoing, you will certainly be better prepared to financially cope with a serious injury. However, most people do not have all of the foregoing coverage, and, even if you do, it will not adequately compensate you for all of your damages from a serious, life altering injury.
If you are now considering increasing your UM/UIM limits, please be aware that most policies will not allow you to merely increase the UM/UIM coverage. Rather, you must also increase the liability limits specified in the bodily injury and property damage policy provisions in order to obtain an increase in the UM/UIM coverage.
Having a higher limit (i.e. 100/300/100, or more) on your motorcycle policy will allow you to obtain the same limit on your UM/UIM coverage. That higher limit could make an enormous difference in helping your cope with the consequences of being seriously injured by the negligence of an uninsured or under insured motorist. For example, if a covered person with a 100/300/100 policy (that has not waived the UM/UIM coverage), is seriously injured due to the negligence of an uninsured or under insured motorist, that covered person should be able to recover $100,000.00 from their own UM/UIM coverage as compensation for their personal injuries.
In the unfortunate event that you are injured due to the negligence of an uninsured or under insured motorist, you will at least be happy that you increased your UM/UIM coverage. If you do not increase your coverage, at least do not waive the UM/UIM coverage on the policy you have. However, if you cannot afford to pay for higher limit UM/UIM coverage, health insurance and disability insurance, and you must pick between them, the health insurance and disability insurance coverages are the most important. Lastly, please consult with a competent insurance agent to fully discuss the various coverages available, as well as your individual situation in order to make knowledgeable coverage decisions that are right for you and your family.