Cruising down the highway on a motorcycle is a favorite hobby for many Floridians. Riding a bike on a perfectly clear day can help ease stress and promote a sense of freedom. The rush of wind and the warm sun beating down on you can easily make anyone’s day (plus, many find a thrill in riding a motorcycle).
However, this incredible feeling can quickly be taken away from you if you happen to get into an accident. Unfortunately, motorcycle accidents are not uncommon and can result in debilitating injuries and even death. Let’s take a closer look at the numbers behind motorcycle accidents.
Motorcycles pose a relatively higher risk of injury than other types of automobiles. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), approximately 5014 motorcyclists died in motor vehicle accidents in 2019. As a result of this statistic and other studies, motorcycle fatality rates are 25.96 for every 100 million miles. For reference, the fatality rate for other automobiles is 1.42 for every 100 million miles.
This statistic is terrifying to hear, but unfortunately, it is the reality of riding on a motorcycle. One of the best ways to ensure your survival during a motorcycle accident is to wear a helmet. Although Florida law does not require helmets for anyone over 21, they can be the difference between life and death.
As with car accidents, following a motorcycle accident will leave you with a hefty bill to pay. Suppose your negligence caused the accident, or you are found at fault. In that case, you will be responsible for paying your and the other party’s medical bills for the damage to your bike and any other property. This can quickly add up and leave a massive financial strain on your shoulders, so getting a motorcycle insurance policy in South Florida is imperative.
The risk versus the cost is one of the most prominent differences between a standard motorcycle insurance policy and an auto insurance policy. Personal injury coverage is often included by default in car insurance policies. Due to the high risk of injury on a motorcycle, many insurance companies won’t automatically include PIP in your policy. Therefore, checking your policy closely and adding additional coverage as needed is sensible.
Motorcycle insurance is also likely to charge more if you want to cover a passenger. Again, this is because motorcycles can be highly susceptible to accidents. When an accident occurs, most insurance companies will charge you more to cover passenger injuries and potential lawsuits
Another difference between auto and motorcycle insurance is that you can choose to have seasonal coverage. It is a lay-up insurance policy that only applies when you use your bike. So, for example, you can choose to be covered during the spring, summer, and early fall but drop the policy in the winter.
Only four states currently do not require insurance for motorcycles; these include Florida, New Hampshire, Washington, and Montana. However, this does not mean uninsured drivers will not still face legal penalties when driving through neighboring states without insurance if caught.
So, why is motorcycle insurance not required in the state of Florida? Well, due to Florida’s no-fault law, motorcycles are not recognized as motor vehicles, so motorcycle insurance is not mandatory. However, to own a motorcycle, you must provide proof of financial responsibility. Meaning you must be able to pay for the damages that come with any potential accidents.
Regardless of where you live, getting a motorist’s policy is extremely wise, even though Florida law does not require it. It is still your responsibility if you become involved in an accident and damage occurs. Motorcycle accidents can result in damages of hundreds of thousands of dollars. However, you can prove your financial responsibility after an accident and receive compensation if you have insurance.
A “No Fault” state is a state that has an insurance system in place that ensures your insurance company will pay out regardless of whose fault the accident was. This system removes the ability to sue, lowering auto insurance costs.
If anyone is injured in an accident, their own insurance company compensates them for small injuries, regardless of who is at fault. Unless their injuries are serious and meet a certain threshold, neither driver can sue the other.
Every driver in a no-fault state must carry a Personal Injury Protection (PIP) policy. Depending on the state, PIP coverage varies, but it should cover medical expenses, lost wages, funeral costs, and other out-of-pocket expenses. The main difference is the dollar limits on the different coverages.
While operating a motorcycle in Florida, anyone over 21 is not required to wear a helmet. However, it is highly recommended that everyone wears one. Without a helmet, the chances of brain damage or death are much higher if you are in an accident. In addition, those riding motorcycles without helmets must carry at least $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) for motorcycle insurance in Florida. Therefore, even if you already have PIP insurance for your car, you must also get a PIP motorcycle insurance policy.
No matter who caused the accident, personal injury protection (PIP) can cover your injuries and those of your passengers. No matter who caused the accident, PIP is designed to protect you and your passengers. As part of their “no-fault” auto insurance laws, many states require PIP, so your ability to sue for injuries in a car crash is limited.
Personal injury coverage from your health insurance can count as your required coverage if it offers a minimum of $10,000. However, in some cases, motorcycle-related injuries are not covered by healthcare insurance because of how high-risk the accidents are. So, it is advisable to talk to your insurance provider and get the full scope of when and how much you are covered.
There are several types of motorcycle insurance, including collision coverage, comprehensive coverage, liability coverage, and even full coverage.
In the event of a totaled bike, collision coverage will cover all repairs that must be paid for. In addition, a collision insurance policy can provide you with a value-matching check that you can use to purchase a new bike if it is totaled in an accident. Without collision coverage, you will be responsible for paying the full amount to fix it up to new.
A comprehensive policy covers damages resulting from events other than accidents, such as theft, vandalism, natural disasters, fallen trees, broken mirrors, etc.
Liability insurance covers some of the costs associated with an accident, just as auto insurance does. Damages incurred by another person or their property resulting from your negligence or fault will be covered by liability insurance. In addition, you will usually receive coverage for damage repair and medical expenses as part of liability coverage. The amount of coverage you receive depends on the specific policy you choose.
In addition to collision and comprehensive coverage, full coverage also covers liability. In almost any situation, you can be assured that your insurance will cover you. To prevent unwanted debt, it is recommended that auto and motorcycle owners purchase a complete and full coverage policy.
The Florida Motorcyclists’ Safety Association shares with all of its riders that:
A combination of high-risk behaviors among motorcyclists and motorists causes most motorcycle crashes. Unfortunately, there are times when these factors combine to cause a crash, including riding a motorcycle without a valid license or endorsement, driving under the influence of alcohol, not wearing a helmet, or speeding.
When riding a motorcycle, there are inherent risks, and motorcyclists accept these risks. A motorcyclist who manages risk well has the knowledge, skills, attitude, values, and habits necessary to be a responsible rider and the willingness to exercise good judgment.
You should still get a motorcycle insurance policy to cover potential accidents, even though the law may not require it. Bike riders experience much greater injuries and accidents than car drivers; these injuries can often be fatal.
Suppose you are fortunate enough to survive an accident. In that case, insurance can protect you from a tremendous financial burden that far outweighs the cost of your monthly policy payments.
So, Stay safe and get insured!
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