Understanding Motorcycle Insurance

insuranceIn Ohio, it is illegal to operate a motor vehicle without insurance or other proof of financial responsibility. That includes motorcycles.  However, motorcycle owners sometimes make the common mistake of believing their standard auto insurance will suffice.  While standard auto insurance is necessary for cars, motorcyclists are required to carry specific motorcycle coverage.  Before you decide on a particular motorcycle insurance plan, you should educate yourself about your options.  And once you decide on a plan, you will want to make sure you understand what it in it.

Motorcycle Insurance Options

The minimum amount of liability insurance a motorcycle owner must carry to meet Ohio’s financial responsibility laws is:

  • $25,000 bodily injury coverage for one person in an accident,
  • $50,000 bodily injury coverage for an accident involving two or more persons, and
  • $25,000 property damage coverage.

If the motorcyclist is at fault for the collision, liability coverage pays on their behalf for another’s injuries and property damage (up to the available limits of coverage).

While an Ohio motorcycle owner is required to at least carry liability insurance, there are additional insurance coverage options to consider as well, such as collision and comprehensive coverage.  Note, many lenders require a motorcyclist to carry certain types of coverage before loaning the person money to buy a bike.

Here are additional coverage options you may want to consider:

  • “Collision coverage” pays to repair or replace your motorcycle after a collision, regardless of who is at fault.
  • “Comprehensive coverage” pays for damage to your motorcycle from something other than a collision, such as fire or theft.
  • Medical Payments (MedPay) coverage provides benefits to cover medical expenses for your or your passenger’s injuries.
    • This type of coverage applies no matter who is at fault and may be available if you—and sometimes even if a family member—are a passenger on someone else’s motorcycle.
    • MedPay coverage is limited to a specific dollar amount.
    • Many policies limit coverage to medical treatment received within the first three years after a crash.
    • MedPay sometimes applies only after other medical insurance has reached its limit.
    • It does not require the holder of the coverage to pay a deductible or to pay co-payments.
  • Uninsured/Underinsured (UM/UIM) coverage protects you if the at-fault driver does not carry liability insurance or enough liability insurance to fully compensate you (up to the limits of your UM/UIM coverage).

Other Financial Options in Ohio

If you do not have liability insurance, you must be “financially responsible.”  You are required to demonstrate to the State that you can handle the minimum monetary requirements for driving a vehicle.  You are considered “financially responsible” under the law if you carry:

  • A $30,000 bond issued by a surety company,
  • A certificate of proof of financial responsibility,
  • A Bureau of Motor Vehicle (BMV) certificate showing you have at least $30,000 in cash or government bonds deposited with the State Treasurer,
  • A BMV-issued bond secured by real estate with an equity of at least $60,000, or
  • A BMV-issued certificate of self-insurance (only available to those with at least 26 motor vehicles registered in their name or a company’s name).

Understanding Your Insurance Policy

The first step to getting the most from your policy is to read and understand it.  Here are some questions you should be able to answer about your policy:

  • What types of coverage do you carry?
  • What are your insurance limits? Do they adequately protect you and your assets if you are found liable for a crash?
  • How much are you being charged for different types of coverage?
  • Would a discount be available if you took a safety course or joined a motorcycle association such as the American Motorcycle Association?
  • Does your policy cover you when you are riding someone else’s motorcycle?
  • Will a friend be covered while riding your motorcycle?
  • Does your policy require you to wear a helmet?
    • While you may not be required to wear a helmet under Ohio law, your insurance policy may require you to do so in order for your coverage to be available.

Our team at Slater & Zurz recommends that you read and understand your insurance policy before an accident occurs. However, if you’ve been in an accident and don’t know where to turn, please give us a call at 1-888-534-4850. We are here to help.

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