Is Collision Coverage Worth Buying for a Motorcycle?

Answering the question is collision coverage worth buying depends on whether you cannot afford or do not want to afford to replace your motorcycle with your own money after an accident.

Note: Motorcycles are almost always totaled in an accident.

Collision damage coverage insures your motorcycle for the cost to repair your vehicle or replace it if it is totaled.

When you have collision coverage your own insurance company will pay for repairs to your motorcycle or car, less a deductible, regardless of who is at fault for the accident.

When the other driver is at fault, your insurance company will go after the other driver’s insurance company to get them to reimburse you for your deductible.

Tip to get your deductible back: When making a collision claim, request your insurance company to get your deductible from the other driver’s insurance company. Your insurance company will usually try but they don’t always, so make sure to ask your claim rep, preferably in writing, to get your deductible reimbursed by the other driver’s insurance company.

How to Decide is Collision Coverage Worth Buying or to Save the Cost

People who don’t have collision coverage are usually seeking to save the cost of the premium because their vehicle is not valuable enough to insure or because they don’t think they will be at fault for causing an accident and the other car’s insurance will pay.

It could make sense to eliminate collision coverage and “self-insure” yourself if the following applies to you:

  1. The cost of collision coverage for three years is more than the value of your motorcycle or car and it would be cheaper to buy another motorcycle or car.
  2. You have more than one motorcycle or car and can do without it for a long time while fighting with the other driver’s insurance company.
  3. You can financially afford the loss in the event another driver is not at fault for causing the accident or the other driver’s insurance won’t pay you.

I had a friend who didn’t buy collision coverage. He called me to help him because one of his cars was parked and was hit by a car causing $80,000 of damage. The other car’s insurance only offered him $18,000. I charged him $2,500 to get the other car’s insurance to pay the claim.

I asked him why he didn’t buy collision coverage and he said because he had 10 expensive cars, could only drive one at a time, and already saved $250,000 in collision coverage over the last 10 years without a loss. When he called me to help him, it gave me the idea to drop my collision coverage.

I was self-insured for collision damage for years by not buying collision coverage on my cars, although I have since gone back to buying collision coverage.

My reasons for not buying collision coverage were as follows:

  1. I had five cars and could only drive one at a time. The insurance company doesn’t offer a discount because I could only drive one at a time so the cost-saving was substantial and the risk/cost ratio was substantially reduced.
  2. To keep my premium from being increased, I wouldn’t file a collision damage claim unless the damage was more than $3,000 or another person was injured, so for me, collision coverage was really catastrophic collision coverage. Never assume another person wasn’t injured unless no other car was involved. I’m a personal injury lawyer, so I can get a properly written release signed by the car’s occupants if they want to sign it.
  3. If one of my cars was totaled, I could financially afford the loss.
  4. If one of my cars was in an accident, I had other cars I could use. I also didn’t pay for rental coverage.
  5. Since I am a personal injury lawyer, I could easily file a claim against the other car’s insurance or file a lawsuit if necessary to recover the money for the damage if the accident was the other driver’s fault. I had to file a claim against the other driver’s insurance in one accident. Interestingly, that driver was the partner of one of the largest corporate law firms in the world.

What is the Difference Between Collision Coverage vs Comprehensive Coverage

If purchase collision coverage, you may also buy comprehensive coverage. Comprehensive coverage will pay you in the event your motorcycle is stolen or damaged in a fire.

Is Comprehensive Coverage Worth Buying?

Yes. If you can’t afford to replace your motorcycle or scooter with your own money, comprehensive coverage is really necessary because motorcycles and scooters frequently get stolen.

Can You Buy Comprehensive Coverage Without Collision Coverage?

No. Comprehensive coverage is an optional coverage only when you buy collision coverage.

What Will Happen After an Accident When I Don’t Have Collision Coverage?

The problem is that an insurance company only has an obligation or responsibility to its own customer. When you don’t have collision coverage, you’re not the customer. That means the other driver’s insurance company has no obligation or responsibility to you.

Consequently, you will likely find that the other driver’s insurance company will claim the accident was your fault. The other driver’s insurance company will offer you little to nothing thus leaving you with a damaged, unusable or worthless motorcycle or car. This often happens even when it’s obviously 100% the fault of the other driver!

What Happened After an Accident When Our Client Didn’t Have Collision Coverage

Our client’s custom motorcycle was totaled when a car changed lanes and sideswiped the motorcycle. The motorcycle should have had collision coverage for a custom motorcycle which would have paid the entire amount that the owner wanted so it could be rebuilt or replaced. But he didn’t have collision coverage on his custom motorcycle.

See our Ultimate Motorcycle Insurance Guide to find out what kind of collision coverage you need for a custom motorcycle.

The driver’s car insurance offered only $8,000. But our client wanted at least $12,000.

This is how we got $28,000 for our client’s motorcycle.

We called a Harley Davidson dealer and asked if they would be willing and how much it would cost to write a detailed estimate for the dealer to build a duplicate custom motorcycle of our client’s custom motorcycle. We then had a flatbed truck bring his motorcycle to a Harley Davidson dealer and we paid the dealer to write the estimate.

Then we sent the estimate to the other driver’s insurance company. We were successful in obtaining $28,000 for our client.

We didn’t charge our client a legal fee to obtain the money for his motorcycle so we sent him a check for $28,000!

Only the best motorcycle accident lawyers in New York don’t charge a legal fee for collision damage claims!

collision damage totaled custom motorcycle

Custom motorcycle collision coverage would have paid to replace this totaled custom motorcycle

In another case, we obtained 100% of the damage to a totaled motorcycle where the insurance company claims representative for the other driver said the accident was 95% the fault of our client. It took two years of litigation in court to get the insurance company to understand why it was 100% the fault of their driver. During those two years, our client was not happy without his motorcycle. But he was happy when we finally got him 100% of the damage to his totaled motorcycle!

In yet another case, the insurance company claims representative thought their driver had 0% liability for causing the motorcycle accident and they offered nothing. We were later awarded 80% liability against the other driver.

If you’re not hit in the rear, the insurance company claims representative for the other driver will likely argue that you’re partly or mostly at fault and you will be without a motorcycle or car until your motorcycle accident lawyer can convince them.

Reasons Why Collision Coverage Is Worth Buying

Your Insurance Company Has a Contractual Obligation to You

When you’re covered by collision insurance, your insurance company has a contractual obligation to you.

The insurance company for the other car does not have any obligation to you. The other car’s insurance company only has a contractual obligation to protect their driver.

Your Collision Claim Will Be Paid Fast

When you’re covered by your own collision insurance, you will be paid within days of your accident even if the accident is your fault.

Your Collision Claim Will Be Paid in Full Regardless of Fault

When you’re covered by your own collision insurance, you will be paid the cost of repairs or the total damage plus sales tax, less a deductible even if the accident is your fault.

If the accident is the fault of the other driver, your insurance company can seek to recover the deductible from the other insurance company and reimburse you.

Rental Car Coverage

If you had a motorcycle, it’s unlikely that you have rental coverage. If you have rental car coverage, your insurance company will pay for a rental car while your vehicle is being repaired or while you find a replacement if yours was totaled. If you don’t have rental car coverage when your car is damaged, the other insurance company may pay for a rental car but on their terms.

We recommend buying collision damage insurance and rental car coverage which will eliminate a lot of problems in the event you are in an accident. There are three different types of collision damage coverage. Make sure you get the type you want, especially if you have a custom motorcycle. See our Motorcycle Insurance Guide.

See what you must know about collision coverage if you’re buying a motorcycle with a loan from a bank.

NYS law (11 NYCRR 216.0) regulates insurance company responsibilities regarding handling of collision claims.

What’s More Important Than Collision Coverage?

The most important insurance coverage is underinsured coverage. Find out how much underinsured coverage you need.

If you had a motorcycle accident but didn’t have collision coverage, we will NOT charge you a fee for money we recover for damage to your motorcycle.

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Motorcycle Lawyer Phil FranckelPhilip L. Franckel, Esq. is the author of all articles on NYMotorcycleAttorneys.com.

You may have met Phil Franckel at a motorcycle event. Phil created the motorcycle awareness campaign BE AWARE MOTORCYCLES ARE EVERYWHERE®. He is a Founding Partner of 1-800-HURT-911® New York, well-known in New York for representing motorcyclists. He has a 10 Avvo rating, Avvo Client’s Choice award with all 5-star reviews, Avvo Top Contributor, and is a former Member of the Board of Directors of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association.


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Motorcycle Attorney Phil Franckel talks about how motorcycle accidents are different

Philip L. Franckel, Esq. is the author of all articles and content on this website, one of the Personal Injury Dream Team™ Founding Partners at 1-800-HURT-911® New York, well-known for representing motorcyclists. He has a 10 Avvo rating; Avvo Client’s Choice with all 5-star reviews; Avvo Top Contributor; and is a former Member of the Board of Directors of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association. Mr. Franckel created the motorcycle awareness campaign BE AWARE MOTORCYCLES ARE EVERYWHERE®.

Founding Partner Rob Plevy, Esq.

New York Motorcycle Accident Lawyer and Founding Partner Rob Plevy, Esq.

New York Motorcycle Accident Lawyer and Founding Partner Rob Plevy, Esq.

Robert Plevy, Esq. is a motorcycle accident lawyer and one of the Personal Injury Dream Team™ Founding Partners at 1-800-HURT-911® New York. Robert began his legal career in 1993 as an Assistant Corporation Counsel defending The City of New York against personal injury lawsuits.

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