Collision damage coverage insures your motorcycle for the cost to repair your vehicle or replace it if it is totaled (most motorcycles are totaled in an accident). When you have collision coverage your own insurance company will pay for repairs to your motorcycle or car regardless of who is at fault for the accident.
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. Comprehensive coverage is not sold unless you also buy collision coverage.
Should You Save the Cost of Collision Coverage?
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.
If you have more than one motorcycle or can do without your motorcycle for a long time while fighting with the other driver’s insurance company and you can afford the loss in the event they don’t want to pay you, it could make sense to eliminate collision coverage and “self-insure” yourself.
The problem most people encounter after an accident is that the other driver’s insurance company claims it’s your fault and offers little to nothing thus leaving you with a damaged, unusable or worthless motorcycle or car. This often happens often even when it’s obviously 100% the fault of the other driver!
This custom motorcycle was totaled when a car 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. The driver’s car insurance offered only $8,000. Our client wanted at least $12,000. We had a flatbed truck bring his motorcycle to a Harley Davidson dealer and paid the dealer to write a detailed estimate to build a duplicate of our client’s motorcycle. 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!
In another case, we obtained 100% of the damage to a totaled motorcycle where the insurance company claims representative for the other driver thought the accident was 70% the fault of our client. It took two years 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.
In yet another recent case, the insurance company claims representative thought their driver had no liability for causing the motorcycle accident but 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 lawyer can convince them.
Advantages of Collision Insurance
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.
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 within days of your accident 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.
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.
NYS law (11 NYCRR 216.0) regulating insurance company responsibilities regarding handling of collision claims.
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 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.
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.