Most motorcyclists are careful, cautious drivers, but even the most attentive and courteous motorist cannot guard against the negligence of a random, inattentive driver. Indeed, with the increase car drives who text while driving, motor vehicle accident fatalities rose by 6% from 2015 to 2016, and by 14% from 2014 to 2016. In Massachusetts, motor vehicle fatalities climbed 13% from 2015 to 2016 alone.
With roads growing more dangerous, it is crucially important for motorcyclists to maximize their insurance coverage. Unfortunately, many Massachusetts motorcyclists are unaware of how grossly underinsured they are – until they’re faced with the insufficiency of their motorcycle insurance coverage following an accident.
The PIP Coverage Gap: Motorcycles vs. Automobiles
Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage is compulsory in Massachusetts for both motorcycles and automobiles, but the “No-Fault” coverage, that is, the insurance that protects drivers who are responsible for the accident, only applies to automobile operators, and not motorcyclists. The coverage for car drivers can be used to pay for medical bills, lost wages, or a mixture of both. On the other hand, PIP coverage for motorcyclists is so limited that it has almost no use in a typical motorcycle accident, with neither the driver nor the passenger being protected. In a motorcycle accident, PIP only covers injuries sustained by a pedestrian, which rarely occurs.
This coverage gap plays a large part in the reason why motorcycle insurance rates are so much more affordable than automobile insurance rates. Motorcyclists are often misled by the policy coverage selections page, which appears nearly identical to its automobile counterpart. Both car drivers and motorcyclists pay a premium for PIP coverage, however, the premium for a motorcycle is about one-tenth of the cost compared to that of a car. This is not because insurance companies offer motorcyclists a great deal on PIP; the lower cost means lower PIP coverage for motorcyclists.
It’s easy for a motorcyclist to conclude that he or she has full PIP coverage when that isn’t the case. Regrettably, many motorcyclists don’t learn the details of their coverage until after an accident.
Thinking Proactively: Understand Your Motorcycle Insurance Coverage
Massachusetts motorcyclists can take steps to proactively safeguard themselves and ensure that they have the necessary coverage should the need arise. Read more about what motorcyclists can do to protect themselves and their passengers with motorcycle insurance coverage here.
About the Author: James L. Lynch is a Massachusetts personal injury lawyer for Lynch & Owens, located in Hingham, Massachusetts.