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Understanding What Mandatory Motorcycle Insurance Means


Bikers often opt for the mandatory motorcycle insurance coverage required by their respective states of residence. Unfortunately, this is often due to a poor understanding of what mandatory motorcycle insurance is and what different types of insurance for bikers actually provide. To put it simply, if you own a bike, you should be fully aware of what your state requires, but in most cases you should buy more than the bare minimums. In order to understand why, it's necessary to understand a bit more about mandatory motorcycle insurance and why it's in place.

Mandatory bike insurance was first required in the early 1980's, and the general purpose of it is to ensure that all motorists are protected in an accident in which they are not at fault. Most states operate on a traditional tort system, in which the biker or driver who is at fault pays for the costs of the accident (although there is an exception; more on this in a moment). In order to ensure that this system works properly, tort states require bikers to carry liability coverage, which will handle some of the costs of an accident in which the policy holder is at fault. Different states have different limits for liability coverage, and you'll have to check with your DMV to find out exactly what these limits are.

The aforementioned exception is the insurance system of a no fault state. In no fault states, drivers and bike owners are liable for their own costs in an accident. However, they are still required to carry insurance--usually personal injury protection (PIP). This coverage pays for medical bills for the policy holder and his or her passengers. It's a common type of insurance for bikers, as medical costs can be substantial after even a relatively minor accident compared to the potential medical costs of a car or truck driver. Many tort states still require some form of liability coverage, as well.

You are legally required to carry the mandatory motorcycle insurance limits of your state in order to operate a bike. However, these limits are usually insufficient to cover all of the costs of an accident. Frequent bikers should look into collision coverage (which covers costs to your bike in an at-fault accident), comprehensive coverage (which covers other damages to your bike in non-accident situations such as theft), personal injury protection and even special insurance add-ons depending on their habits. Think carefully about what you could afford, and avoid buying the mandatory minimum insurance for bikers. This is the best way to keep yourself and other drivers safe when you're on the road.

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