When purchasing insurance for your motorcycle, keep in mind that NY State Insurance Laws specifically exclude motorcycles from certain benefits. One of those benefits is No Fault. No Fault benefits normally pay for things like medical bills, lost wages, and transportation costs. But Bikers can't get No Fault benefits, and so all the damages from a motorcycle accident that was caused by someone else must be covered by the at-fault vehicle's insurance. Those damages include lost wages, medical expenses and money for pain and suffering. Since the minimum insurance in NY State is only $25,000, very often the other vehicle does not have enough to cover the damage it causes.
Even if you have other insurance to help you, like health insurance and disability insurance, those insurance contracts almost always require the injured party to pay the funds back to the insurance company if the injured party gets money from the person at fault from the accident.
What does this all mean? It means that if you get into a motorcycle accident, and it is completely someone else's fault, you still may not be able to get full compensation. This is because New York only requires drivers to carry $25,000 of insurance to pay to other people (bikers included) who get hurt. If you are biker, and are seriously hurt, your medical, wage and other losses could easily be greater than $25,000. Even if you have health insurance, your health insurance company can ask you for that $25,000 to repay them for what they covered, leaving you nothing!
What is the answer? You need to make sure you have insurance to cover yourself so that you are not relying on the other person's insurance, because it might not be enough. Ask your insurance agent for Supplemental Under-insured Motorist (SUM) coverage. If you agent doesn't agree that you need it, go somewhere else!
- Bikers United
- Abate of NY
- Make sure you have a way for rescue personnel to contact your family In Case of an Emergency (ICE). For more information, go here: ICE4SAFETY
- Recent case decision describing when the police can call a canine unit to sniff a car that has been pulled over