People often make the mistake of not purchasing motorcycle insurance. In fact, as of 2019, the Insurance Information Institute estimated that approximately 20.4% of Florida motorists were uninsured. However, motorcycle riders should purchase sufficient insurance for their motorcycle—and that should include uninsured motorist coverage.
In this article, we will explain what uninsured motorist coverage is and why every motorcycle rider should have it.
Uninsured Motorist versus Underinsured Motorist Coverage for Motorcycles: What is the Difference?
If you are involved in a motorcycle accident caused by a driver who doesn't have bodily injury coverage, or who doesn't have enough insurance to cover your damages, your accident-related damages may be covered by your uninsured motorist policy, up to the limits of that policy.
- Uninsured (UM) simply means there is no insurance available for the at-fault driver (or owner of the at-fault driver’s vehicle)
- Underinsured (UIM) means there is insurance coverage, but not enough insurance to cover your damages.
Even when Florida drivers do have bodily injury coverage, it’s very common for a driver’s bodily injury insurance to only have “10/20 limits.” Many drivers make the mistake of thinking they have “full coverage”, but this isn’t the case.
This means that the insurance company for the at-fault driver (or vehicle owner) only provides $10,000 of coverage for your damages (or a total of $20,000, if more than one person was injured in the accident).
If you suffered serious injuries, you must look at your uninsured motorist policy for any coverage for damages in excess of the $10,000 from the at-fault driver’s policy.
Stacked versus Non-Stacked Uninsured Motorist Coverage: What You Need to Know
When purchasing your motorcycle insurance policy, you have an option to “stack” the UM/UIM coverage to increase the bodily injury limits. This is the default option in Florida, but many drivers frequently reject stacking coverage because it costs more than non-stacking coverage.
By “stacking” uninsured/underinsured coverage in a Florida insurance policy, you can do the following:
- If you have stacking coverage on one insurance policy that covers two or more vehicles, then you can add or “stack” the coverage for each vehicle that is insured on the policy.
Example: Let’s say you have $50,000 UM/UIM limits and have three vehicles listed under your policy. If you have stacking coverage, you would increase $150,000 in UM/UIM coverage ($50,000 + $50,000 + $50,000) for an accident with an uninsured or underinsured motorist.
- If you have two or more separate policies and each is a stacking policy, you can combine or aggregate the UM/UIM coverage from each policy.
- If you have stacking UM/UIM coverage for your motorcycle policy, then this covers you anytime you are involved in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured vehicle (so long as the other driver is at fault).
Example: Let’s say you have a car insurance policy with stacking coverage. If you get in an accident while riding a motorcycle (regardless of whether you own the motorcycle) and that motorcycle doesn’t have any insurance, you can still claim uninsured or underinsured motorist benefits through your car insurance UM/UIM policy.
On the other hand, unlike stacked coverage, non-stacked UM/UIM coverage doesn’t provide coverage for every vehicle you own. Your Florida insurance policy likely has a provision indicating that if you have non-stacking UM/UIM, you won’t be covered for an accident that occurs while you are occupying a vehicle that you own but did not purchase UM/UIM coverage for.
Example: Let’s say you have non-stacking UM/UIM coverage on your car. You also own a motorcycle, but you don’t have any insurance on the motorcycle. If you get in an accident while riding the motorcycle, your non-stacking UM/UIM policy for your car will not provide you any uninsured or underinsured motorist benefits for the motorcycle accident.
Why You Should Purchase an Insurance Policy with Uninsured Motorist Coverage for Your Motorcycle
When riding a motorcycle, you need to worry about the following:
- Distracted drivers who aren’t paying attention
- Drivers who change lanes without looking out for motorcycles
- Intoxicated drivers who can cause tragic collisions with motorcyclists
- Drivers with poor vision or drivers who just don't see your motorcycle
Unfortunately, motorcycle accidents often cause serious injury or even death for the motorcyclist.
Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach are some of the most dangerous counties for motorcycle riders. Therefore, if you ride a motorcycle, then it’s important to obtain uninsured motorist coverage, and ensure that policy includes a sufficient amount of uninsured motorist coverage.
Some insurance companies in Florida sell uninsured motorist coverage. Check with each insurance provider or call a general agent who writes coverage for several insurance carriers to ascertain whether you can be covered in case you are in an accident with an uninsured driver or owner.
What to Do If You Were in a Motorcycle Accident in Florida
If you were involved in a motorcycle accident anywhere in Florida, call the Law Offices of Cytryn & Velazquez today for a free consultation at (954) 833-1440. Our attorneys have over 40 years of experience representing clients in motorcycle accident cases in Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, and throughout Florida.