After a Motorcycle Accident: Insurance Q & A

Jul 13, 2012 View Comments by

Motorcycle accidents are dangerous, scary, and confusing. Knowing how to deal with insurance companies will help you protect your rights, your financial security, and save you from additional stress in the process.

Here are answers to some of the most common questions bikers have after an accident:

Q: I’ve been in a motorcycle accident. What should I know about insurance companies?

A: Be aware that insurance companies will likely try to offer you a settlement that is lower than you deserve. The Consumer Federation of America recently published an article explaining that insurance companies regularly use computer programs and tactics to produce “low-ball payouts.”  Without the advice of a qualified injury attorney, you will have no way of evaluating whether the offer from the insurance company is fair or unreasonable. If you left out an important claim or didn’t know the full extent of your injuries, you won’t be able to recover for those items.  Always be cautious of what you say and sign. Never give a recorded statement to the other person’s insurance company, and don’t give one to your own unless you’ve consulted with an attorney.

Q: Who pays for my motorcycle repairs?

A: Insurance laws vary from state to state, so be sure to ask your insurance agent – before you’re ever in an accident. Typically, you can fix your bike by going through your own insurance company or through the at-fault party’s insurance carrier. The fastest and easiest way is through your own insurance company, if you’ve purchased coverage that enables you to do so. You should still be able to recover your deductible from the at-fault party later.

Or, you may be able to go through the other person’s insurance company, if they’re at fault for the accident. Be aware though, you may face delays.

Q: I am missing a lot of work because of my injuries. What should I do?

A: Refer to your motorcycle insurance policy to see if you have Income Loss coverage. Also, you may want to look into employee disability benefits at work, if available. Or, you may have insurance that covers your car loan, mortgage, or other credit arrangements.

Q: How do I pay for my medical bills?

A: Again, refer to your insurance policy. Your state may require by law medical benefits coverage to be available to you under your motorcycle insurance. If so, you can use that coverage up to the maximum amount you selected to pay your medical bills. Otherwise, you’ll have to use other health insurance, Medicaid, or Medicare. While the at-fault party may, in theory, be liable for your medical expenses, they rarely pay them unless you file a legal claim.

More insurance questions? Contact Your Agent

If you have other questions about your insurance coverage, contact your agent. It’s best to ask questions before you’re in an accident. Visit this link for state-by-state motorcycle laws.

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About the author

Attorney Michael H. Rosenzweig has over 20 years of experience helping bikers injured in motorcycle accidents. He is a partner and litigation manager at Edgar Snyder & Associates. The Edgar Snyder & Associates Harley-Davidson makes appearances at bike nights and rallies throughout the riding season.