How Property Damage Coverage Works
After looking at the Bodily Injury component of Liability Coverage in a previous post, we promised to explore Property (or Physical) Damage coverage. Here goes.
On a $25k/$50k/$25k minimum liability coverage plan (Rates are different state-by-state), the last set of numbers represent Property Damage coverage. But what does that really mean?
In the most basic terms, Property Damage is anything that is not human but gets damaged or broken in an accident. So, if you happen to take your R1 and launch it into a nice $74,000 S Class luxury German automobile, what are the odds that the $25,000 is fixing that car? You guessed it. Pretty slim. Starting to understand? This goes for telephone poles, road signs, guardrails and any other DOT, city or state owned fixed objects you may hit, as well as personal property like lawns, trees, garages and such. They will certainly charge you for replacement. This is why we are big believers in not settling for minimum liability coverage.
And don’t think that a cheap bike is a reason to buy low liability limits. You should be buying appropriate coverage based on your total assets. Otherwise, you could be in jeopardy of losing your house or anything else you own to cover any damage beyond your minimum coverage.
What is Medical Payments coverage?
This is a line item that is optional on all types of vehicle policies. For motorcyclists, with the exception of a few insurers, the majority of Med Pay ends at $5000 or under in payment services. So once again, ask your local insurance agent or broker.
Let’s say you purchased the max Med Pay of $5,000. You have a passenger and unfortunately so does the car you just hit. That $5,000 benefit will pay medical payments (emergency room is what you should be thinking) per every person involved. If three people are hurt, three people have access to the limit of $5,000 each. Got it? Is it necessary? Depends on how you look at it.
That $5000 could assist you in paying for your medical bills.
First, you are paying for passenger liability because we discussed how dumb it would be to exclude it in the last installment. Second, you are paying for the higher liability limits of $100k/$300k on your liability because you wanted to protect your assets. Those two things afford you certain amount of flexibility, but you have to remember that liability covers everyone but you.
So, that’s the hitch in the giddy up. That $5000 could assist you in paying for your medical bills. Will your own healthcare coverage do the same as medical payments coverage? Indirectly, yes. But hospital billing will always request payment from the vehicle insurance first. Is your HMO or PPO allowed to decline medical payments for your motorcycle injuries? They are not supposed to be able to do that, but it doesn’t mean they won’t try. In most cases, the insured (you) will decline the coverage because the cost is pretty steep. Will it help to have it? If you are self-employed and do not have healthcare coverage at all, then it’s certainly better than no coverage.
We hope you’re learning and asking your insurance agent, insurance broker or online insurer questions. Don’t go through life not understanding what’s at stake. People hate to deal with it. Until they need it. Then, I am suddenly the coolest person you know.
Kirk Harrington is a longtime rider and avid motorcycle enthusiast, and he’s one of the nation’s only specialized motorcycle insurance agents, operating from his location north of Atlanta, Georgia.
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