Operating a motorcycle involves physical training, mental preparedness, and obtaining permits and endorsements. You must learn the roads, develop strategies for hazard avoidance and manage risk factors that can all too readily stack up. And you must have insurance.
The motorcycle insurance requirement wasn’t always in place. Until 2019, motorcyclists had been exempt from Washington state’s mandatory auto insurance law. No longer exempt, motorcyclists must now carry:
- a minimum level of liability insurance; and
- the proof of insurance card that the insurance company sends out after purchase or renewal of your policy.
Washington, like most states in the union, requires its motorcyclists to carry minimum liability-only insurance which covers damages you cause in an accident. The limits must be at least:
- $25,000 for injuries/death to one person
- $50,000 total injury/death coverage per accident
- $10,000 for property damage
That’s the regulatory minimum level of coverage. You can opt to carry more. In fact, financial experts recommend you do, because if the damage you cause exceeds what your insurance policy covers, you’ll be held personally liable.
PIP and UM/UIM
Other states have minimum requirements that include carrying personal injury protection (PIP) and uninsured/underinsured (UM/UIM) policies.
- PIP: This coverage will help pay for your medical expenses regardless of who is at fault. Fourteen states require motorcyclists to carry PIP.
- UM/UIM: If the other driver is at fault but they’ve no coverage or insufficient coverage, this insurance will handle your medical expenses, lost wages and, in some cases, property damage. Twenty states require motorcyclists to carry UM/UIM.
The minimum requirements don’t include comprehensive or collision coverage, and without these policies, you’re not adequately protected against theft or damage to your motorcycle.
It’s a lot to ponder. The problem is if you’re at fault in a serious accident, without adequate insurance to cover the losses, you might face wage garnishment or even lose your home. In the final analysis, taking responsibility for your ride from A to Z includes good training, safe handling, clear thinking, and a sound financial plan.