I’ve ridden motorcycles since the 1980s. I still do. I’m also a motorcycle lawyer, and for over 20 years I have represented injured bikers. We keep getting hit by bad drivers. That hasn’t changed, and I am sure it never will. What also hasn’t changed is the fact that many motorcyclists unknowingly do not have enough insurance to protect them in the event that they get run over.
One of the worst parts of my job is that over and over again I face the sad and frustrating task of telling my clients that even though there is good news, there is bad news that goes with it. The good news? I did well on each part of the case: I got the police on our side; I got the witnesses on our side; I got the doctors on our side; and I even got the other person’s insurance company on our side! The bad news? There will still not be enough money to take care of the damages from the crash. Why? Because these bad drivers that keep hitting us have crappy insurance. People who are financially struggling, especially in these economic times, tend to skimp on things like insurance. Even worse, all the commercials for insurance on TV push people to buy cheap, not good, insurance. What does that mean? That means that the people in cars, who are driving around not paying attention to motorcycles, do not have enough insurance to take care of us when they hit us.
The end result? It can mean that even though you have lost wages, medical expenses, a busted motorcycle and lots of pain and suffering, and even though it is someone else’s fault, you still are not going to get enough money from the other driver to take care of those things.
What can you do? Just like when you ride, YOU NEED TO LOOK OUT FOR YOURSELF! Buy enough of your own insurance so that you can recover financially after a crash. How do you do that? Go see an educated insurance broker. NOT some person that works directly for an insurance company (called an agent) but someone who works for YOU and picks your insurance based on what you need, not what it costs. Some of the things that you need to talk to your broker about:
Spousal Coverage: Are you married? Getting married? Make sure your spouse is covered! It’s not automatic in NY.
Medical Payments: Do you have health insurance? Bikers in NY do NOT get automatic medical coverage. Make sure you have enough to cover the expenses of a crash, or copays and deductibles if you have health insurance.
Extras on the bike: Are those pipes, handlebars and other things you added to the bike covered? You need to have enough insurance to replace that stuff, not just the value of the stock bike, if your bike gets wrecked.
Underinsurance coverage: Maybe the most important, this is some extra money covering YOU if the idiot that hit you doesn’t have enough. It’s cheap, and the best way for a biker to protect himself or herself from financial disaster.
Bottom line: we know we have certain risks when we ride. We accept those risks and ride anyway. It’s what we do. But educate yourself about the insurance difficulties and minimize the risks. There are easy and inexpensive ways to make sure that you are financially taken care of after an accident. Do not find yourself short, and in financial ruin, because you unknowingly chose the wrong product, or you tried to save $10 a year without realizing the impact. How do you do this? Make sure you talk to a qualified insurance broker or an experienced lawyer, and NO ONE ELSE, when buying insurance. Especially do not buy your insurance on-line, where no one is there to give you advice.
Laws in New York are very special and different for bikers, and without knowing these special laws, you can find yourself left short on Insurance after an accident.
Contact me anytime for a free evaluation of your insurance coverage. I do not sell insurance, and I do not care where you get it. I just want to make sure that you have the right stuff.
Ben Rabin Bike Lawyer