Motorcycle Insurance: Casualty Liability

Beware of minimum liability coverage


Ever watch mold grow on bread? Insurance is that boring. That’s where I come in. For 11 years I have made my living as a professional motorcycle insurance agent. I take the mundane and make it easy for anyone to understand. What I hope to explain over the next several installments will have underwriters spinning on their technical heads.

Please understand that due to the nature of the subject and the fact that every state has slightly different liability insurance laws, you must afford me a certain amount of flexibility in my explanations. For specifics as they apply to you, consult with your local agents, brokers or direct insurer.

Liability coverage is for the benefit of others. No matter if you’re riding a sportbike, vintage motorcycle, constructed motorcycle (assembled by hand), dual-sport or full dresser, if you are the at-fault party, liability insurance covers everyone involved except you!

Motorcycle Insurance Casual Liability

There is some protection that is afforded to you through the purchase of the coverage, but we will explore those options in future installments. For now, we will address what your motorcycle liability coverage does. Since your state’s minimum liability policies are unique, I want you to make sure you ask your insurance professional what that minimum is. Most agents, brokers and underwriters prefer you keep your limits at the minimum. It may seem like it’s smart to do because “It’s just a bike. How much damage can it do?” Wrong!
 
In Georgia, my home, those minimum liability limits are $25,000BI/$50,000BI/$25,000PD. The BI is Bodily Injury and the PD is Property or Physical Damage. Those first two numbers are critical to understand. The $25,000 covers any single injured individual. The $50,000 covers all of the injured (and no, it’s not an equal division). We’ll address property damage in the next installment. 

To put these terms in a real-world scenario, my favorite scenario is this: You are rolling down the road on your FJR, and suddenly you manage to slam head-long into a bus full of nuns. Who gets help after you come to rest from your aerial ballet? The nuns get some help and the bus gets some help, but you’re S.O.L. if you have only liability insurance.

Let’s say four of 10 nuns have managed to break bones and two need corrective surgery. Is there enough money of that $50,000 to pay all the medical bills? No way! Your decision to save a few bucks or your agent’s lack of understanding just managed to get you sued.

The difference in what I do compared to my counterparts is simple: I want continuity in all of your vehicle coverage. If you own a house worth $100k-plus or a car worth more than $20k and you are not buying $100,000/$300,000/$50,000 policies for your vehicles, you’re set up for a lawsuit. You have assets to protect, and your desire to save a few bucks by purchasing cheap motorcycle insurance will throw you under the nuns’ bus if there’s a bodily injury claim.

Motorcycle Insurance Casual Liability

Is that really what you want? Think about this: Your liability limits are only a small portion of the premium total if you buy comprehensive and collision coverage. To go from the lowest limits to the highest in casualty liability coverage will usually cost less than $70 for a policy term. Is not being sued worth $70 over six months to a year? If your agent talked you into the minimum limits, ask him or her why, especially if you have auto policies that are at high casualty limits.

Another thing to address is Passenger Liability for your bike. In some states this coverage is optional, which is madness! Why would you exclude your passengers from liability coverage? Do you not love your family or friends? If you ride a bike and exclude passengers yet you travel with passengers, you are just like the squids that most of us make fun of. It’s just that simple.

In the next installment we will cover property damage, medical payments and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage to help you select the best motorcycle insurance for your needs. Remember that cheap insurance is quite different than the best rates. Motorcycle insurance is a specialized service. Find an agent, broker or insurer that understands your needs.


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.

Related Reading
Motorcycle Insurance Buyer’s Guide
Motorcycle Insurance: Property or Physical Damage
Motorcycle Insurance: Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage
Motorcycle Insurance: Comprehensive Collission Coverage
Insurance Basics

Motorcycle Insurance Providers

Motorcycle Insurance is an important decision for riders to make. Below you will find a selection of motorcycle insurance providers that can provide you with an insurance quote for your riding needs. Please take some time to review our articles, and determine the appropriate insurance protection that you require.

Progressive Insurance

Protect your motorcycle with Progressive. We offer high quality coverage at very low rates. So you can get the protection you need and still have money left over to spend on important stuff. Like pipes. Now that's Progressive. Get your free quote today.
 

Allstate Motorcycle Insurance

Ask how an Allstate Agent can help you get covered for when you hit the open road. Coverage options like Allstate’s exclusive Rider Protection Package offer protection for your bike's most important part: you. Plus, with Allstate we have discounts that could save you up to 50%. Call an agent for a fast, free quote today.
 

Dairyland Cycle Insurance

Whether you ride a Yamaha or Harley Davidson; a Suzuki or a Honda, Dairyland Cycle has the motorcycle insurance coverage options and deductibles that can meet your needs and the payment options that fit your budget.
 

GEICO Motorcycle Insurance

Rev up your savings with motorcycle insurance from GEICO. No matter what you own – a sport bike, cruiser, standard, touring bike, or a sweet custom ride, you can turn to us for great rates and great coverage. Enjoy the freedom of the open road knowing that the Gecko's got your back!
 

Rider Insurance

Ride with Rider. Rider offers motorcycle insurance for DE, IN, NJ, OH, PA, MD and WV. We're committed to providing "no hassle" service at the lowest rates possible! Call 1.800.595.6393 or go to www.Rider.com to get an instant price quote or purchase a policy.
 

Leslie Kays Insurance

We combine our passion as insurance professionals and motorcyclists to provide coverage that meets your specific needs. We work longer, harder, faster and smarter for you through your adventures and misadventures 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
 

Harley-Davidson Insurance

Protection designed exclusively for Harley riders. Harley-Davidson Insurance offers great coverage at a competitive rate along with customer and claims service from representatives who really know Harley-Davidson(r) motorcycles. Get a free quote today!
 
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