Uninsured & Underinsured Drivers
No Recovery – No Fee
Motorcycle Insurance Coverage
Advice from a San Diego motorcycle accident attorney
According to a 2017 study, the Insurance Research Council calculated about 1 out of every 8 drivers in the United States is currently uninsured. Even if the other driver is insured in California, the law only requires liability policy limits of $15,000 per person and $30,000 per incident. This minimum insurance WILL NOT BE ENOUGH to cover a motorcyclist's injuries in an Auto vs. Motorcycle accident.
In my conversations with motorcyclists over the years, this is a common question and answer information that I wish motorcycle riders discussed before they ever need it. Of course I wish that no one ever needs this coverage, but the reality is that with a small increase in your monthly insurance premium, you can give yourself and your loved ones a great deal of protection. Please contact me if you have questions.
1. Should I decline Uninsured Motorist Coverage (UM) or Underinsured Motorist (UIM) on my motorcycle or car?
ABSOLUTELY NOT. Many accidents are caused by uninsured motorists or motorists with the minimum insurance coverage of $15,000 per person. If you get in a motorcycle/auto accident, you will probably have more than $15,000 in initial medical bills. The only way you are going to be compensated, if the auto/truck driver is uninsured or underinsured, is if you have UM/UIM coverage.
ALSO MAKE SURE YOU HAVE AT LEAST $100,000 in UM/UIM coverage. You should get $300,000 or more in UM coverage, if your company will sell it to you. Insurance Companies don't want you to have this coverage because they know as a motorcycle rider you will probably use it and they don't want to pay claims. Insurance companies will try to talk you out of getting UM coverage but don't let that happen. It is not expensive when you consider the total cost of insurance or your risk factors.
2. Should I waive the Uninsured Motorist Coverage on my motorcycle insurance policy?
No. The biggest mistake motorcycle riders make in buying insurance is waiving the uninsured motorist coverage. Every motorcyclist should have insurance on his bike. He or she should NEVER waive the Uninsured Motorist Coverage (UM) which is offered to them. In California it must be specifically waived in writing or every vehicle has Uninsured Motorist Coverage. DON'T EVER WAIVE THIS COVERAGE. Many accidents in California are caused by uninsured drivers and the UM coverage would cover you if the other driver doesn't have insurance. The UM coverage would provide some money for you if you are injured in an accident and the guy who caused the accident is uninsured or under insured.
3. How much insurance coverage should I have on my motorcycle?
As much as you can afford, but the personal liability limits should be at least $100,000 per person and the UM coverage should be as much as your liability limits. If possible get $300,000 limits. If you own a home and assets of $1,000,000 or more you need limits of at least $1,000,000 and you should also get an umbrella policy of at least $2,000,000. Umbrella policies usually run around $200 to $500 per year.
4. How can I keep my motorcycle insurance rates low?
Pay your premiums on an annual or semi-annual basis. Shop before you buy. Contact an independent insurance broker and get quotes from at least 5 independent companies before buying. Independent companies usually have lower rates. Some other companies who usually have good rates are: USAA, 21st Century, Wawanesa, and Auto Club. Don't buy from a company who specializes in motorcycle insurance because they usually have higher rates.
5. What special advice does Dean have for service men who have been injured while driving their motorcycles to and from work.
It can be dangerous driving a motorcycle any time but even more so at commuting rush hours. Frequently, these brave patriotic young men do not have UM (uninsured motorist coverage) or UIM (underinsured motorist coverage) and they end up with no recovery at all or a very small recovery BECAUSE the other driver has no insurance or very low liability coverage limits and they have waived UM coverage. In these cases Dean works very hard getting the Tri-Care lien reduced as much as possible so the injured soldier can at least keep most of what is recovered. In almost all of these cases, Dean is almost always able to get the policy limits even when the police opine that the soldier caused the accident. Attorney Goetz knows how to mazimize the net recovery for the soldiers he represents.
ATTENTION SOLDIERS All soldiers should make certain that they have UM and UIM coverage and that their policy limits are at least $300,000. The extra cost is affordable and ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY for every soldier and his or her family. If a soldier riding a motorcycle is injured in a motorcycle vs. car/truck accident, the soldier will be injured and his full recovery will likely cost between $100,000 - $500,000, if the injured soldier has UM/UIM limits of $500,000 on his motorcycle, then even if the accident was caused by an uninsured driver, the soldier and family will be in a much better situation.