Essential Legal Guide to Motorcycle Insurance in New York
Do you drive (or are you considering driving) a motorcycle in New York? Let the motorcycle attorneys at Monaco Cooper Lamme & Carr, PLLC help you understand:
- What motorcycle insurance is required by law.
- What motorcycle insurance you should actually have.
- Why the difference between what is required and what you should have is so important.
Insurance policies can be difficult to understand especially when you don’t grasp the different types of available coverage and what each coverage actually provides after an accident.
After an accident, many motorcycle accident victims end up in disastrous financial positions because they simply did not understand the motorcycle insurance they purchased.
Our motorcycle attorneys have seen many scenarios involving coverage issues after motorcycle accidents, and they usually fall into one or more of these three categories:
- You believed you had full insurance coverage and you do not.
- You did not understand the differences in coverages available, so you took the basic policy.
- You needed affordable coverage and now you are uninsured or underinsured.
Perhaps one of the most important things to understand as a motorcyclist:
The New York no-fault law provides motor vehicle drivers $50,000 in medical and lost wage coverage – this does not include motorcycle drivers. And because motorcycles are exempt from the no-fault law, a motorcycle driver is not provided any coverage for medical costs and lost wages after an accident.
We understand that motorcycles offer you adventure and a sense of freedom, but they also provide you and your passengers less protection – physically and financially – than motor vehicles. For that reason, motorcycle accidents often result in catastrophic personal injuries: traumatic brain injury, neck and back injury, amputation, and wrongful death.
If you cause an accident and someone is injured, liability coverage helps pay for the injured person’s medical bills and lost income.
If you cause an accident and there is damage to another’s person’s vehicle or property, property damage liability helps pay for those damages.
Bodily injury and property damage liability coverage do not cover your injuries or damage to your motorcycle.
Bodily injury liability also does not normally cover your passenger’s medical costs either. You should consider a Guest Passenger Liability rider which covers your passenger’s medical costs in the event of an accident. Otherwise, your passenger’s medical bills will need to be paid by their personal health insurance policy.
- Required: New York requires minimum liability coverage of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident and increases to $50,000 per person and $100,000 per accident if you kill someone, as well as minimum $10,000 for property damage.
- Should Have: Motorcycle operators should consider substantially increasing your liability coverage over the basic mandatory coverage.
- Important Consideration: If you seriously injury or kill someone and their injuries exceed your liability coverage, your personal income, home, and assets are at stake. Additionally, you cannot purchase more uninsured or underinsured coverage if you only have the minimum insurance coverage. Further, your basis liability coverage may not cover bodily injuries suffered by a passenger on your bike if you get in an accident.
Personal Injury Protection Coverage (PIP)/No-Fault
You may be confused when you look at your policy and you see “Personal Injury Protection/No-Fault” coverage after we just told you that a motorcycle operator does not have no-fault coverage. That is true – you and your passengers do not have no-fault coverage.
The no-fault coverage listed on your policy only covers the medical expenses and lost wages of a pedestrian if they are injured in an accident involving your motorcycle, regardless of who is at fault.
Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage is required by New York State.
Collision insurance provides coverage for damage to your motorcycle if you are in an accident. You choose your deductible, which is the amount of money you will pay out-of-pocket before the insurance company pays for any damage to your motorcycle.
It is common for collision insurance to only cover the book value of your motorcycle before the loss occurred.
If you financed your motorcycle, the finance company will likely require you to carry collision coverage.
If you do not have collision coverage and you can prove that someone else is negligent for causing the damage to your motorcycle, you can file a claim against that person and/or their insurance company.
- Required: New York does not require collision coverage.
- Should Have: Unless you can afford to pay out-of-pocket for the damages to your motorcycle, you should consider collision coverage.
- Important Consideration: Again, this is optional. If you can afford out-of-pocket repairs after an accident, then collision coverage is not necessary. However, if you want your insurance company to pay for some or all of the damages, you should take the coverage with a reasonable deductible.
Comprehensive insurance coverage pays for damage to your motorcycle not caused by a collision, but an event such as vandalism, theft, weather and storm events, or another reason that doesn’t involve an accident with another vehicle or person.
Similar to collision coverage, your insurance company will likely only pay for actual damages and the book value of your motorcycle, minus your deductible.
If you financed your motorcycle, the finance company will likely require you to carry comprehensive coverage.
- Required: New York does not require comprehensive coverage.
- Should Have: Unless you can afford to pay out-of-pocket for the damage or replacement of your motorcycle, you should consider comprehensive coverage.
- Important Consideration: Again, this is optional. If you can afford out-of-pocket repairs or replacement, then comprehensive coverage is not necessary. However, if you want your insurance company to pay something or everything, you should consider comprehensive coverage.
Most collision and comprehensive insurance only covers factory standard parts on your bike. So, if you add additional accessories to your motorcycle (custom paint, chrome wheels, etc.) damage to the specialized accessories is not covered under your collision or comprehensive coverage unless you purchase additional equipment coverage. Equipment coverage is not required in New York.
Uninsured Motorist Coverage (UM)
Uninsured motorist coverage (UM) is designed to protect you and your passengers for bodily injuries if your motorcycle is struck by an uninsured driver.
UM coverage includes medical expenses, lost wages, and funeral expenses. Believe it or not, one in eight drivers in the United States is uninsured.
Your uninsured motorist coverage can also include property damage coverage. If it does, then the damage to your motorcycle by an uninsured driver is covered. This is sometimes included in basic uninsured motorist coverage, but sometimes a rider is necessary, so be sure to double-check with your insurance agent.
- Required: New York requires minimum uninsured motorist coverage.
- Should Have: Yes.
- Important Consideration: This coverage is important for a motorcyclist because it pays you when you are injured by a negligent person who has no insurance, if you are injured in a hit-and-run accident, or if the negligent person’s insurance carrier disclaims coverage.
Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UIM) / Supplementary Underinsured Motorist Coverage (SUM)
Underinsured motorist coverage (UIM) is similar to uninsured motorist coverage except it is designed to bridge the gap when a negligent party has a small insurance policy that does not cover your losses. Many drivers take minimum liability coverage required by law and that is simply not enough to cover most injuries sustained in a motorcycle accident. Without UIM insurance, an injured motorcyclist is left to cover any and all medical and lost wage expenses above $25,000.
- Required: New York does not require Underinsured motorist coverage (UIM)
- Should Have: Yes.
- Important Consideration: This is important coverage for a motorcyclist because it pays you when you are injured by a negligent person who has too little insurance.
Medical Payments Coverage (MedPay)
MedPay is optional coverage that is inexpensive and usually offered at a $5,000 maximum. The coverage is meant to be used to pay your out-of-pocket expenses related to a personal injury, like deductibles and co-payments. It’s so cheap, why not buy it?
Insurance Coverage to Consider Other Than Your Motorcycle Policy
- Health Insurance
- Disability and Supplemental Disability Insurance
- Long-Term Disability Insurance
Choose the Right Insurance Company
The lawyers at Monaco Cooper Lamme & Carr, PLLC have decades of experience handling motorcycle personal injury claims. However, we are not insurance agents, and this information is provided as a guide only and not legal advice. We highly recommend that you discuss your insurance needs with your insurance company or agent before locking in a policy, or if you have a current policy, to review your policy with them to ensure you have all the coverage you need.
Free Motorcycle Accident Injury Consultation
When you’ve been injured, the physical, emotional, and financial toll can be devastating. The pain and trauma can be immense. The Albany New York motorcycle accidents lawyers at Monaco Cooper Lamme & Carr, PLLC will help you understand your rights and legal options. We will fully explain your motorcycle insurance policy as well as the policies of other negligence parties. Our attorneys will ensure all negligent parties involved in your accident are held accountable for your personal injuries and losses – past, present, and future.
To discuss your case, call at (518) 855-3535 or use our Contact page to send us a secure message.
This Guide is provided as a courtesy. It provides general information and is not intended as legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship between MCLC and the reader. Should the reader desire additional information about the content of this Guide and/or its application, please contact us at MCLC at (518) 855-3535 or firstname.lastname@example.org. 2023© Copyright Monaco Cooper Lamme & Carr, PLLC