What You Should Know About Motorcycle Insurance,
especially in Florida

By Tom Gallo

From: Tom Gallo <tmgs@alltel.net>
Date: 11/13/2004 4:23 AM

What you should know about Florida motorcycle Insurance, before it's too late.
It can also help in other states as well.


First off, I'm not a Lawyer!

This is intended to protect yourself. I have not mentioned anything about covering the "other" person if the accident is your fault! (I'll touch that for a quick second.) In Florida, you are not required to have motorcycle insurance. Well some folks don't realize if you are in a wreck and it's your fault and you have no liability, you will be charged with failure of Florida's financial responsibility law, and they can take your driving privilege away. I know it sounds stupid where it's not required by law to have it on a motorcycle but it's true. Take a look at Chapter 324, Florida Statutes.

No folks, all Lawyers are not just out to take your money; they can in fact save you from insurance companies. My lawyer has become a friend. (Of course, he rides a Panhead.) I have asked advice from him about insurance, only after it being too late. One thing to remember - do not believe everything your insurance rep. tells you. They represent the insurance company not you. They are there to make the insurance companies and themselves a profit, period! (A quick note:) Use a reputable (major name) insurance company.

Remember there are many motorists on the highways with very little or no insurance.

First ask yourself what coverage you have. I hear a lot of people say "I have full coverage on my bike, I know I'm covered." Well not always true.

You do not have PIP (Personal Injury Protection) on yourself. In Florida it is not available for any vehicle under four wheels. You probably do not have Medical Payment coverage on your motorcycle. I actually had a argument with a friend of mine who thought he had it. We had the same insurance carrier, so I knew it was not available for motorcycles. You may not have UM on your motorcycle either (UM - Un-Insured or Under-Insured motorists protection). Make sure your UM policy covers un-insured and UNDER insured motorists. Some policies are different.

Most people think UM (under- or un-insured motorists coverage) is the answer to all their problems. (Well it may be when the accident is NOT your fault).

It covers you when the other party's coverage is too low or non-existent. A very wise choice is to get UM stacked on all your vehicles at the minimum totaling probably 200k (200k is a low ball figure). The more the better, however anything is better than nothing so at least get some type of UM. UM will not cover you if the accident is your fault. UM will not cover the other person if it's your fault. It does not cover your vehicle, their vehicle, or any property.

Remember your insurance companies have the right to regain all their losses off the top of any law suit. My health insurance has a lien against our law suit; if we win it they get paid first! (Sometimes your lawyer may be able to negotiate this a bit lower.)

So make sure your insurance coverage is HIGH so you may be actually able to get some cash in your pocket for sitting in bed losing wages for a year (or longer as in my case.) (See disability policy note below.)

Many of you think you have Medical Payment coverage on yourself, well maybe you do. But I bet it's not on your motorcycle policy. Please check it out, your automobile (four wheel) policy will not cover you on your motorcycle. (Yes I found this out the Hard way.) In some cases maybe your UM will. ASK a lawyer.

If you have Health insurance it may or may not cover you, ASK a Lawyer to be sure! Show them your binder. Many health insurance companies have disclaimers exempting hazardous sports. Again get your binder out and read every word. When you start getting bills in excess of 6 digits you start getting very sick.

Get a disability policy. Make sure it's at least 70% (just my opinion) of your current pay (you can always trim down some but not a lot). Make sure you have short term and long term disability insurance. Do not rely on S.S.. It takes years to collect from them and only if you are completely disabled. MAKE sure your disability policy will cover you on your motorcycle. If you have any doubt ask a lawyer for advice after showing him your binder. I'm sure you know one or know of one that will take a few moments to help out. If not, make an appointment with one. It will be the best lawyer fee you ever paid. It's too late for me to get Disability insurance now, but my SO (who also rides) has it. We lost the larger of our two incomes. (Thank god my wife worked.) But still believe me it did not take but a short couple of months to be broke, creditors calling constantly.

Please, for your own good, make sure you get a disability policy. It Can happen to YOU! Believe me when I say it hurts when you tell your kids they can't go somewhere with the school or friends because you couldn't afford it. If I had known what I do today we would not have had all those problems. Did you know Bad credit goes against you when trying to buy AUTO and Home Owners insurance? Well it does. And yes even if you have been hurt in a accident and can't pay your bills, filing bankruptcy may be a option for you, I should have done that myself.

So folks, Go Check your policies. Ask advice from a personal injury lawyer in your area (state) anyway. Tell your insurance agent what you want after speaking to a lawyer, do not let him tell you what you "need". I had a hard time getting him to file my Stacked UM policy. Make sure your deductibles are fairly low. At the very least, judge your insurance needs by your income status and your worth. I don't care how much you make, you need good coverage.

I know I rambled here but I feel very strongly about this. Check into your policies before it's too late. Again I say ask advice from a reputable personal injury lawyer in your area, I have learned the hard way.

Call your State Rep's, MRO's and ABATE, ask them to push for our state to have insurance companies provide Personal Injury Protection coverage for us on our Motorcycles.

Disclaimer: (I hate these things) but I've had some comments here so ..... here it is. I am not a lawyer or a insurance salesman, nor do I know all the laws.
Ask a Lawyer for professional advice! Check for your state's Insurance laws. Make sure you know the difference between auto and motorcycle insurance laws, they vary a lot!

Never completely rely on your insurance agent. When getting Insurance at least be educated in what you are buying; a little research could save you in the end! There are some really good insurance salesmen out there that want you to have proper coverage. Many folks get tons of liability and never cover themself. PLEASE get good advice in your state about Motorcycle insurance and Disability payment coverage.

Do not distribute without MY express written permission and proper credit given to the author.
(c) Tom Gallo tmgs @ bikershut.net

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Last Update: Wednesday, November 24, 2004