Nobody wants to take time to dig through insurance policy language and clarify meanings when they are anxious to hit the road with their new motorcycle.
Unfortunately too many of my clients are rushing through this important step and choosing only minimum liability limits when they purchase their motorcycle insurance.
They are complying with Pennsylvania law, however, rather than agreeing to the same $15,000 in Underinsured / Uninsured (UM/UIM) coverage, they are waiving this coverage!
In doing so they are putting themselves in a position of relying upon the defendant’s liability coverage to compensate them for their losses when they get into an accident.
How This Can Affect Your Claim
I recently ran into this issue with a new client in Harrisburg who had selected $100,000 in liability coverage, which all of my regular readers know I recommend. But then he waived all of the UM/UIM coverage.
This left us at the mercy of the other insurance company to determine both the liability and damages aspect of the case.
What You Should Do to Protect Yourself
If you are looking to save money, then lower the limits of your liability coverage and buy the same amount of UM/UIM coverage.
For example, this client in no way needed $100,000 in liability coverage.
So, the better choice would have been to lower his liability coverage to $50,000, or even $25,000, and to have also bought the same amount of UM/UIM coverage.
That way we would have been able to insure a recovery for his injuries should the other party not have been insured, or underinsured.
Now instead, we are limited to going after only the amount of coverage purchased by the defendant.
Motorcycle UM / UIM Coverage
Just so there is no confusion, with regard to uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage, these coverages, once you purchase them, are available to you to compensate for any injuries you may sustain caused by an uninsured or underinsured motorist in a motorcycle crash.
Underinsured protection means someone purchased the legal minimum coverage of $15,000 in liability benefits, and it is insufficient to cover your damages.
Right now I urge you to pull out your motorcycle accident policy and make sure it says uninsured and underinsured motorist coverages and the amounts listed are the same as the amount of your liability coverages.
If they are not, you should immediately call your insurance agent and advise them that you want your limits of uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage raised to the level of your liability coverage.
If you are not sure of the coverages you have, feel free to contact Pennsylvania motorcycle accident attorney Lee Gaber at 888-292-5352 and I will be happy to review your coverages with you.
Can You Afford to Replace Your Cycle?
Another trend I see is that many of our younger clients not purchasing collision coverage on their bikes; leaving us to negotiate with the other party’s insurance carrier in order to get their bike repaired or replaced.
As I stated in the beginning of this column many people are buying less and less insurance coverage.
Sadly, this limits our ability as Pennsylvania motorcycle accident attorneys to get satisfactory results for our clients; and leaves us explaining to them why we are limited in the amount of money we can recover for them.
Ultimately it is much better to pay a few extra dollars for insurance you may never need, than to not have enough insurance when you need it. The increased premium is to protect yourself! Aren’t you worth it?
Fully Insured or Fully Covered for a Motorcycle Accident?
When a potential client first contacts me to represent them in motorcycle accident cases as their Pennsylvania motorcycle accident lawyer, after they describe how their motorcycle accident occurred, I ask them about their insurance policy.
The typical response I get is… “I have full coverage”!, confident that this means that they are fully covered for any loss suffered.
Unfortunately, when I follow up with these questions, their confidence fades:
• How much liability coverage do you have?
• Do you have Comprehensive and Collision coverage?
• Do you have medical coverage on your motorcycle policy? and most importantly;
• Do you have uninsured/underinsured coverage on your policy and if so, in what amounts?
Most clients are unable to answer these questions and often are extremely disappointed to learn that although they thought they had full protection, what they have is State minimum coverage in motorcycle personal injury insurance, which provides little or no protection to them, contrary to what they may have been led to believe.
What most believe is “full coverage” and the reality of being fully covered, are worlds apart.
Being “fully insured” means your insurance policy should provide not only liability coverage, but also collision, comprehensive, uninsured and underinsured benefits and in some cases, medical coverage for your New Jersey or Pennsylvania motorcycle accident.
I urge everyone to stop relying upon bad advice of insurance companies, or your own misunderstanding that your coverage is sufficient, and take five minutes to examine your policy to make certain that you are truly “fully insured”.
Don’t hesitate to call me at 888-292-5352 and I will be happy to review your coverages.
Have a safe and enjoyable Autumn!