Motorcycle season means more focus on safety

Spring marks the beginning of motorcycle season when many bikers pull their motorcycles out of winter hibernation to cruise Northwest roads and highways. Unfortunately, with more miles ridden and more bikes on the road, that usually means more motorcycle accidents too.

Motorcycle crash fatalities in the United States increased by 7.1 percent from 4,630 deaths in 2011 to 4,957 deaths in 2012, according to the Insurance Information Institute. Approximately 8.5 million motorcycles were on U.S. roads in 2012 with 81,000 motorcyclists injured in motorcycle crashes.  In 2010, 96,600 motorcycles were involved in property damage-only crashes, according to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

While safety is the best policy, make sure you also have an insurance policy that protects both you and your motorcycle if you are involved in an accident.

"It's important for other motorists to be on the lookout for motorcycles,” said Karl Newman, NW Insurance Council president. “It's also important for motorcyclists to ride safely and have insurance coverage to protect themselves if an accident happens."

Fortunately, motorcycle insurance is widely available, either as an endorsement to a personal automobile policy or as a stand-alone policy.  To determine the best motorcycle coverage for you, it’s important to understand the available options:

  • Liability Insurance - Most states require a minimum amount of Liability Insurance to cover bodily injury and property damage that you may cause to other people in an at-fault accident.  Liability coverage does not cover you or your motorcycle.
  • Collision Coverage – Covers damage to your motorcycle from a collision, regardless of fault, and usually covers the resale value of the motorcycle before the loss occurred.
  • Comprehensive Coverage – Pays for damage caused by an event other than a collision. This includes fire, theft or vandalism. Most comprehensive and collision coverage pays to replace only the factory standard parts on your motorcycle. Additional or optional equipment coverage is needed for accessories such as chrome parts, sidecars or custom paint jobs.
  • Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage – Covers damage to you and your property caused by a driver or rider who does not have insurance or does not have enough insurance to cover your damages. This coverage typically pays for medical treatment, lost wages and damage to your motorcycle.
  • Discounts - Keep in mind that many insurance companies offer discounts from 10 to 15 percent for graduates of training courses, such as the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) rider course.


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