Why You Need Underinsured Coverage
More than a third of motor vehicles in New York have the New York State minimum $25,000 liability insurance policy or no insurance at all!
Approximately 75% of motorcycle accidents result from collisions with another motor vehicle, with a 98% chance of the motorcyclist being injured.
Most motorcycle injuries in New York are worth hundreds of thousands of dollars to millions of dollars. Even a knee injury is worth a lot of money. We got $465,000 for a motorcyclist with a knee injury.
Statistically, the driver of the other vehicle was at fault in two-thirds of motorcycle accidents with another vehicle. However, we have only seen one or two accidents in New York involving a Harley or cruising motorcycle where the motorcyclist was at fault, probably because bikers on Harleys and cruising motorcycles are generally more experienced, more careful, and not riding at excessive speeds.
All this means that there is a good possibility you will have an injury worth $500,000 because of an accident that was caused by someone else’s fault.
This also means that there is a good possibility you will be victimized twice when you find out that the other driver had only $25,000 insurance coverage or no insurance at all and you only had $25,000 underinsured coverage.
Since motorcyclists are not covered by No-Fault in New York, which pays for medical treatment and lost wages in a car accident, riders could easily find themselves responsible for more than $50,000 in medical bills. Unable to work, probably for months, you will likely be victimized a third time. Obviously, $25,000 is substantially insufficient to compensate you in the event of a serious injury.
Listen to Chris in Mutual of Omaha’s video talk about using disability insurance when he lost his leg in a motorcycle accident. The loss of a leg can be worth $10,000,000, but even a knee injury with a torn meniscus can be worth $500,000.
Disability insurance can help you if you’re unable to work because of a motorcycle accident and is well worth buying. But $500,000 underinsured coverage can provide you with more money than disability insurance and is much cheaper.
How Can a Motorcyclist Protect Themself From People Without Insurance?
What can you do to protect yourself? Purchase uninsured/underinsured coverage, which will pay you when the car has no insurance or less insurance than your liability policy limits.
For instance, if the car has $25,000 insurance and you have $300,000 underinsured coverage, the car’s insurance will pay you $25,000, and your insurance company will pay you $275,000.
What is the Difference Between Uninsured and Underinsured Coverage?
Uninsured coverage is insurance you purchase to protect yourself from uninsured drivers who injure you due to their negligence. According to the Insurance Information Institute, 4.1% of drivers in New York are uninsured.
Underinsured coverage is insurance you purchase to protect yourself from drivers who have less liability insurance than you have. The minimum liability limits in New York are $25,000 to pay for the injury caused to one person and $50,000 to pay for the injuries caused to everyone in an accident.
If you have $300,000 in underinsured coverage, you can get $25,000 from a driver with the minimum liability limit in New York and another $275,000 from your underinsured coverage.
Does Full Coverage Insurance Include Underinsured Coverage?
There is no such thing as Full Coverage Insurance, so that’s a question that cannot be answered. You bought Full Coverage Insurance, and you think you have underinsured coverage, but do you? Watch our video about Full Coverage Insurance!
How to Find Uninsured/Underinsured Insurance Coverage on Your Insurance Policy
Look at the Declarations Page of your insurance policy. The Declarations Page is the page that itemizes the different insurance coverages and how much you are being charged for each.
I circled in red where it shows uninsured/underinsured coverage as Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Bodily Injury. It may be listed on your insurance policy as SUM or Supplemental Uninsured/Underinsured.
See our Ultimate Motorcycle Insurance Guide for an explanation of how the policy limit works.
Ask your insurance agent TODAY to increase your underinsured/uninsured coverage to $300,000 (or more if available) on your motorcycle insurance policy (I also recommend it for your car).
If you have minimum liability insurance coverage, increase your liability coverage so that you can purchase increased uninsured/underinsured coverage. Do it today, because after an accident it’s too late.
Recommended Uninsured/Underinsured Coverage for Motorcycles
We recommend a minimum of $100,000 uninsured/underinsured coverage, which every insurance company in New York is required to offer to sell you.
Some insurance companies offer $300,000 or even $500,000 uninsured/underinsured coverage. If your insurance company offers more than $100,000, we recommend you buy as much as possible.
Find out how to determine how much underinsured coverage you need and which insurance companies offer more than $250,000 – and use our free underinsured coverage calculator to tell you how much you need.
Uninsured/underinsured claims in New York must be properly filed with the insurance company as soon as reasonably possible or within 90 days of the date of the accident.
Funny 3 min Video About Underinsured Coverage
This is a simple explanation from Travelers Insurance of what uninsured and underinsured coverage is. However, Travelers Insurance says it will pay your damages when it will only pay for one type of damage. Uninsured and underinsured coverage will pay for pain and suffering but will not pay for collision damage.
If you have been hurt in a New York motorcycle accident, please call us immediately, preferably before speaking with any insurance company.
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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.