The insurance sector and how it works can be a grey area for many people. Although both motorcycle and general auto insurance policies serve the same primary purpose, there are significant differences between the two—especially when it comes to coverage. Below are a few of the more important ways in which motorcycle insurance differs from general auto coverage.
Motorcycle insurance coverage is expensive compared to general auto insurance. Although cars, trucks and SUVs are far more expensive than motorcycles, the likelihood of an accident is usually higher with a motorcycle. Insurance companies calculate their policy costs based on the probability of the event occurring.
Additionally, the likelihood of injuries with a motorcycle is greater than when driving in a car. In fact, statistics indicate that you are five to nine times more likely to get injured on a motorcycle than in a car. Thus, underwriters have to price high when covering a motorcycle insurance policy compared to general auto coverage.
According to the National Highway Traffic Authority, there is a 28.5 times higher likelihood of a fatality when riding a motorcycle compared to when driving a car. All of these factors contribute to the high costs of covering a motorcycle insurance policy.
Underwriters include passengers in a general policy with general auto insurance, provided the policy holder buys more than just basic liability coverage. With motorcycle insurance, passenger coverage is different. First, a motorcycle is deemed to carry one person only—the rider. Hence, motorcyclists have to purchase more than one policy to cover a passenger. Moreover, motorcyclists can purchase medical payments coverage to cover for injuries, regardless of fault.
General car insurance policies must cover vehicle damage as well as injuries to the driver and passengers, regardless of who is at fault. General policies include a personal injury protection policy (PIP) that covers the driver, passengers, and pedestrians. Conversely, motorcyclists are exempt from the no-fault insurance policy. This means that a general standard insurance policy for motorcycles does not provide injury coverage to the driver and passenger, but it does cover for pedestrians.
Amount of Use
Insurance underwriters price the risks of an auto policy based on how the vehicle is used. For instance, cars are generally used all year round, while motorcycles are rarely used during the winter. Hence, insurers may allow the motorcyclist to buy a cheaper plan if their riding habit is seasonal. However, standard car insurance is the same throughout the year.
In case of an accident, insurers are obligated to cover all injuries and damage to vehicles, but not to accessories. With motorcycles, the policy covers accessories such as helmets and protective wear. This is because accessories like helmets are considered protective wear, and most states require motorcyclists to wear protective gear by law.
Despite the differences, many insurance underwriters provide both types of policies. While it’s mandatory to have general auto insurance, some states haven’t yet mandated motorcycle insurance. Despite this, it is still essential to understand the factors that set motorcycle insurance apart from general auto policies, particularly with regards to injuries, costs, and add-ons.