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How Motorcycle Insurance Works in California

California has more registered motorcycles than any other state in the country. While riding a motorcycle can be a fun experience, getting into an accident can be incredibly terrifying. In the aftermath of a crash, motorcyclists often rely on insurance to cover property damage and medical expenses. In California, motorcycle insurance is required for all cyclists to be legal on the roadway. The San Francisco motorcycle accident lawyers at Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger want to discuss how this insurance works, how much insurance is necessary, and how often motorcycle accidents occur.

Motorcyclists Accidents Occur Regularly in California

According to the California Office of Traffic Safety, there were 15,328 total injuries and 517 total fatalities as a result of motorcycle accidents during the latest reporting year in the state. Despite their size compared to traditional passenger vehicles, motorcycles are most certainly capable of causing significant damage in the event an accident occurs.

Do Motorcyclists Need Separate Insurance?

It is vital to understand that motorcycle insurance must be purchased separately from a traditional vehicle insurance policy. Insurance that a person has for their regular passenger vehicle will not cover them in the event they get into a crash on their motorcycle. California law requires liability insurance for all registered motorcycles, and anyone found operating without the required insurance will find themselves in the same trouble they would for driving without insurance in their regular vehicle.

What Are the Minimum California Motorcycle Insurance Requirements?

In California, the insurance minimums for motorcycle insurance are the same as they are for vehicles – 15/30/5. This means that motorcyclists must have the following coverage:

  • $15,000 for bodily injury incurred by another person
  • $30,000 for bodily injury to others involved in the accident
  • $5,000 for property damage caused by a collision

These dollar amounts are simply the minimums, and all San Francisco motorcyclists are encouraged to purchase additional coverage to ensure that all parties are covered in the event an accident occurs. Of particular importance are uninsured and underinsured (UI/UIM) motorist coverage. This coverage is optional, but vital if you are struck by an underinsured or uninsured motorist.

It should be pointed out that the liability coverage required for motorcyclists in California will not cover costs that the motorcyclist incurs if they are at fault for an accident. It is recommended that motorcyclists carry collision coverage and MedPay coverage to help cover personal costs for accidents they cause.

How Does This Coverage Work?

You will purchase California motorcycle insurance just like you would traditional vehicle insurance. In some cases, your passenger vehicle insurer will offer discount rates if you package your motorcycle insurance with them. However, you may find cheaper rates with a different insurance carrier.

This coverage works in the same way the traditional insurance coverage does. If you get into an accident, insurance information will be exchanged with the other driver(s) involved. If the motorcyclist caused the accident, their insurance carrier will be responsible for covering the property damage and medical expenses of the other party. If a motorcyclist is struck by somebody else, then the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier will be responsible for covering the injury and damage expenses.

Additional Insurance for Motorcycles

Many motorcyclists like to add custom equipment and parts to their bikes. Customization of a bike can be costly, and an accident could lead to significant losses. In most states, motorcyclists can purchase comprehensive and collision insurance that will cover a certain amount of customization, so it is recommended that motorcyclists purchase this additional coverage.

There is also additional coverage available for motorcycle transportation trailers, roadside assistance, and trip interruption coverage.

If you are a motorcyclist or are considering buying a motorcycle, please ensure that you have the minimum insurance required in California while also considering buying additional coverage to ensure your protection should an accident occur. The San Francisco motorcycle accident lawyers at Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger are always available to help you in the aftermath of a crash.