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Insurance Coverage for Your Florida Motorcycle
You can legally register a motorcycle in the State of Florida and not have insurance coverage. However, if you are on the road, you need insurance. State minimums are one thing, but if you want to have your bike covered for property damage, you need to know a little insurance lingo. Here are a few things to know about insurance coverage for your Florida motorcycle.
Liability Insurance Coverage for Your Florida Motorcycle
The first thing you need to know about Florida motorcycle insurance coverage requirements is liability requirements. If the courts find you liable for a motorcycle accident, your insurance coverage will ensure that there’s some money available to cover the other party.
Liability requirements include:
- $10,000 bodily injury per person
- $20,000 bodily injury per occurrence
- $10,000 property damage
These are minimum requirements and may not cover the costs accrued due to the accident. However, they do offer injured parties some guaranteed coverage should you be unable to provide it.
Why You Should Have Liability Insurance Coverage Even if You Don’t Ride
Florida State Statute 324.021 indicates that if you allow somebody else to drive your vehicle, you are responsible. That means if your buddy is driving with your permission and causes harm, you are liable. You definitely want insurance coverage if ANYONE is going to be driving the bike. This applies even if you do not plan to ride. You loan your motor vehicle, you also loan your insurance.
There is also a state statute that mandates that the users of motor vehicles must fully stop and remove keys from their vehicles prior to leaving them unattended. Therefore, it is possible that the courts can hold you partially responsible if someone steals your motorcycle. It depends on how you secured the vehicle in some cases.
The point is that you should have liability insurance even if your motorcycle is garaged because it is possible for you to be held liable for damages if anyone else uses it. Think of the ways this could happen. Maybe your friend was visiting from out of town and thought he’d drive it in the driveway. He lost control and ended up hitting your neighbor’s car. You are liable. He was just casually hanging out and ended up innocently on your bike. Nobody intended any harm, but it happened. No worries as long as you have coverage.
What Happens if You Don’t have Liability Insurance Coverage?
There are multiple penalties the courts can impose if you are in an at-fault accident and don’t have liability coverage. Your license and/or registration may be suspended. You could be required to show proof of insurance for the next 3 years. Additionally, the courts will hold you personally responsible for all damages. You won’t have the protection of insurance, and any judgement could significantly impact your personal finances.
The costs of insurance is much less than the cost of not having insurance. Plus, you’ll be charged extra for insurance if you have a history of an at-fault accident with insurance violations. Simply put, get insurance or pay a huge price after an accident.
Medical Insurance Coverage (No PIP for Motorcycles)
Another insurance requirement for motorcycle riders is medical insurance coverage. If you are driving a passenger vehicle, you must have Personal Injury Protection (PIP) that covers your own hospital bills. PIP coverage is not available to motorcycle riders. They therefore must carry $10,000 in medical coverage.
Because motorcycles do not apply to the no-fault rules in Florida, you may also purchase uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage that handles your medical bills. If you don’t have this coverage, and your medical bills exceed that of the medical coverage, this insurance will kick in. Of course, this is only if you are not-at-fault.
Proof of Insurance Coverage
When you are required to show proof of insurance, you may use multiple forms of proof. One is the insurance card that came with your policy. It will have your name, policy number, and contact information in the event of an accident. It will also have specific information about your motorcycle, which will allow the courts to determine which motorcycle is insured.
You can also use a digital insurance card or a picture of your insurance card. A screenshot from your online insurance account will suffice. Lastly, you can get a self-insurance certificate if you are self-insured.
What About Insurance Coverage for Your Actual Motorcycle?
Body damage, as opposed to bodily damage, is something that you may want to seek coverage for depending on the value of your bike. If your bike is totaled, the insurance company may only pay you the fair market value of your bike.
What is fair market value?
The fair market value of your motorcycle is not the amount you’d ask for if you were selling it privately in its pre-accident condition. The insurance company may use guides like NADA, and it may use compatible numbers for which the bike previously sold in your region. The number the insurance comes up with may not cover the amount that you owe on the bike, and it is unlikely to include any add-ons.
One way to protect yourself from owing the bank for a motorcycle that has been totaled is purchasing gap coverage. This is insurance coverage that will cover the “gap” between your actual cash value and the amount that you still owe to the lender. This is an excellent thing to consider if you feel you may have a large gap, and it will give you the piece of mind that you will have enough to cover the actual cost of the bike.
Collision and Comprehensive Coverage
The last type of insurance you can get to ensure that your actual bike is covered in a wreck regardless of fault is collision and comprehensive coverage. These insurance limits are connected to a deductible that you must pay out of pocket, but they then cover your bike’s damages. Some policies will also offer accessories coverage that can be very helpful if you’ve added a lot of extras to your motorcycle. The cost of these can really add up.
Know Your Insurance Coverage for Your Florida Motorcycle
Each insurance company offers slightly different protection and options for insurance coverage for your Florida motorcycle. This is why it is important to read the intricacies of your policy and determine if the coverages you have purchased are suitable. If they are not, most policies can be amended within the policy term to offer better coverage for you or for others.
The key to being financially protected from injury costs and from lawsuits while owning a motorcycle is to have proper coverage. This means amounts that you can afford but it also means amounts that will protect you should you suffer the economic losses of a motor vehicle accident. You don’t have to have insurance to own a motorcycle, but you do have to have it to drive one. It is a much better alternative to getting in an accident without coverage.
If you have suffered a loss during a motorcycle accident and are considering your legal options, contact the Law Offices of Kirshner, Groff and Diaz. You’ll get a no-obligation consultation with a lawyer who is experienced in motorcycle lawsuits.