All drivers (be them of bikes, motorcycles, cars, trucks, snow machines, jet skis what have you) have equal right to be on roads or posted recreational areas as other motorists. Unfortunately, typical motorcycle collisions happen when motorcyclists are not seen (dark clothes, no lights, roadway visual sight obstructions, etc.) by a driver of a car or truck. Motorcycles by nature are less stable than cars and trucks. This results in a higher likeliness of accidents.
Motorcyclists understand this danger when they make the decision to get their license, but unfortunately, many of these decision makers end up in the hospital, or worse—a casket. Many riders choose this form of transportation because of the freeing feeling that occurs when they ride, but this feeling often comes at a price. With proper enclosure, the feeling of the wind on the their face and the open air would not occur; but it is this lack of enclosure that makes these vehicles so dangerous and deadly.
According to a study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 4,381 motorcyclists died in crashes in 2013. Motorcyclist deaths accounted for 13 percent of all motor vehicle deaths that year. While 13 percent does not seem like a very high number, when you think of the proportion of cars and trucks to motorcyclists on the road, you can understand the increased dangers for this form of transportation. According to the same study, 56 percent of motorcyclist deaths that year occurred on major roads rather than interstates and freeways. These deaths were more likely to occur in urban areas. With the nature of the state of Alaska and how it draws many motorcyclists, the topic of motorcycle accidents is common when residents talk about driving complications.
With how high of numbers these accidents and fatalities make up, it is surprising to outsiders that people still choose to ride these bikes. But, no matter the statistics, there will always be those who choose to take the risk. For these people, it is important that they prepare themselves for the worst, even before they sit on their bike for the first time. The more responsible a rider is from the start, the less hardship they will face in the future. Of course, accidents are called accidents for a reason, so many of them are unpreventable. However, with the use of different forms of motorcycle insurance, riders can feel more secure and protected for whatever may come their way.
Some forms of motorcycle insurance are required, just as basic car insurance is required for all drivers. However, with motorcycles, there are many other options as well. The two most common types of required insurance include bodily injury liability insurance and property damage liability insurance.
Bodily Injury vs. Property Damage Liability
With bodily injury liability insurance, the coverage helps pay for the injuries suffered by others. This coverage is only used in the event that the motorcyclist was the one that caused the accident. If this is the case and someone else is hurt and needs to pay medical bills, the rider’s insurance company will cover the costs.
Property damage liability insurance also comes into play when the accident was at the fault of the rider. However, for this coverage, there must be damage to the other drivers’ car. Property damage liability means that the insurance company will pay for whatever damages are done to this vehicle.
Comprehensive vs. Collision Insurance
These types of insurance cover damage to the rider’s property, not the property of other drivers involved. Motorcyclists spend a lot of money on their bikes, so it is very important that they are prepared for if something happens to it, otherwise they may find themselves with a big hole in their pocket and no way to ride to the bank.
Collision insurance is exactly what it sounds like—insurance on your bike after you have been in a collision. Although every insurance company is different, more often than not this insurance is utilized no matter who is at fault for the accident. This usually covers any type of damage that is done by the collision itself.
Comprehensive insurance, however, has nothing to do with collisions or accidents. Comprehensive coverage comes into play when your bike has been damaged, but not as a result of an accident. Some occurrences that happen often include vandalism, theft, and natural disasters such as flooding. Just as we cannot always predict traffic accidents, we cannot predict these types of incidents either.
Other Types of Motorcycle Insurance
Medical payments: Having medical payment insurance can be a big help if you have been hurt in a crash. Just as bodily injury liability insurance covers the medical expenses of other drivers, medical payment insurance can help cover the expenses of your medical treatment.
Uninsured Motorist: Although most states require every driver to be insured, this does not mean that uninsured drivers do not illegally drive. This type of coverage helps you out if you have been in an accident at the fault of an uninsured driver.
Underinsured Motorist: Much like uninsured motorist insurance, underinsured motorist insurance helps to cover costs when another driver’s insurance plan does not cover all of the expenses.
Accessory Coverage: This can also be referred to as Custom Parts & Equipment (CPE) Coverage. This covers any money that you have put into certain accessories on your bike. This can range from anything like sidecars to custom paint and plating.
It is important to understand that just as every rider is different, every insurance company is different. Some companies may offer all of the coverage stated above, and many may only offer a few or only the required ones. As well, these are not the only types of insurance that riders have available. To find out more about your options, you can call your personal insurance company to find out their different offerings.
Preparing for an accident is something that every rider should do before they even sit on their bike for the first time, but it is not by any means a way to avoid accident. Too many people are injured and die a year from motorcycle related accidents. If you understand these statistics and still decide to take the risk, make sure that you are properly prepared for the event of an accident.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a motorcycle accident in the Anchorage, Alaska, area, do not hesitate to contact an attorney at Kelley & Canterbury LLC today.