In a perfect world every motorist would have full coverage to cover any damage they cause in an accident. Unfortunately, this just is not the case. This is where Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage comes in.
If an uninsured or underinsured driver hits you, this is the part of the policy that takes care of your injuries when you are not at-fault. While bodily injury coverage protects your assets in case of an at-fault accident, uninsured motorist places the value on you.
The Good Hands people sell higher limits using the analogy of “Why would you protect your assets but not consider yourself your greatest asset?” It’s a good selling technique. In the auto world of insurance, the cost of the UM (uninsured motorist) coverage is not usually that high. It’s the exact opposite in the motorcycle world. The odds are simply not with riders, and the underwriters know it. That’s why uninsured motorist coverage has become one of the highest costs within the components of the policy. So, cost is absolutely a factor when dealing with UM coverage.
Would we suggest the highest coverage possible like the attorney from the other article suggests? Yes! Hospitals are expensive, the ambulance is expensive, and rehab is expensive.
Imagine this unfortunate but plausible scenario: You are forcibly removed from your ride. You know that the minimum liability will barely pay for the ambulance and the Emergency Room triage. You purchased the additional UM coverage to match your liability limits, but it’s not your fault. The at-fault party has only the minimum liability limit (say $25,000) and you have just figured out that the broken bones in your leg need surgery.
The at-fault party will need to be sued because someone has to pay the bills and it’s not going to be you. You’ve hired an attorney. Good. You probably need it. But here’s where it gets tricky. Lawsuits take time and bills are due. Your Personal Injury attorney will ask you or your agent for a copy of your declarations page. Why? To file a claim. Will you need it? Maybe. Is it your right to utilize it? Certainly. The company that underwrites your policy will probably subrogate (collect from the at-fault party at a later date), but the claim is filed and paid. Does it affect you?
Would we suggest the highest coverage possible like the attorney from the other article suggests? Yes!
There’s a little company out there that collects all claims and payment information on every consumer insurance policy in existence. The information is processed at the point of sale. That means that with every new or renewed policy, the underwriter is using information gathered from this service to determine your rates. That broken leg that you are not supposed to be paying for, you will pay for in the future.
What’s the point? Any good independent agent will do their best to show you a direction that best helps you. They may not be allowed to fully help you legally since their job is sales and service, but they aren’t leaving you hanging out to dry. If they can walk you patiently through the process of recovery, it will lead to referrals of future customers as a thank you.
So, do your homework if you need a personal injury attorney. They say that the insurance companies aren’t there for you. I say that insurance is like Vegas without showgirls. You can come out a winner or a loser depending on how you play the game. Patience is your friend in the insurance world. Insurers want fast and painless acceptance of payment. You stand tough and things will usually work out.
We didn’t really cover the property damage of the UM coverage, but in most cases the deductible is $250 and it will cover the damage that Grandma Bluehair caused when she backed into your bike at the local Chinese buffet. Just make sure you take pics of the bike on its side and definitely get a police report.
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.