Do Motorcycle Owners Need Insurance in Pennsylvania?


Under the law, motorcycle riders in the state of Pennsylvania are required to have a minimum level of liability coverage. Motorcyclists are required to carry insurance consisting of at least $15,000 for death or bodily injury insurance and at least $30,000 for bodily harm to more than one individual. This means that, in the event of an accident in which someone is injured, the insurance policy will pay a maximum of $15,000 in medical bills per person. If more than one person is injured, the policy will also pay up to $15,000 per person up to a total amount of $30,000.

Additionally, motorcyclists may purchase an additional $5,000 for potential destruction of property.

What Kind of Insurance Do I Need for a Motorcycle?

In Pennsylvania riders must carry the minimum amount of liability insurance specifically for motorcycles (as opposed to other types of insurance). This insurance needs to meet the previous standards for minimum coverage mentioned above.

Protect Your Investment: Add Collision and Comprehensive Coverage to Your Motorcycle Insurance Policy

In the world of motorcycle insurance, there are many options from which to choose for insuring your motorcycle. As a motorcycle lawyer, I often see clients who are often not properly insured to recoup their losses when an accident occurs. While protecting your person is the foremost priority, most bikers would consider protecting their bike a close second. When selecting a motorcycle insurance policy that is right for you, be sure to keep in mind the value of your motorcycle. More likely than not, you have spent a considerable sum on your motorcycle and would like to protect your investment from being damaged. While the law requires you to carry coverage that will compensate other bikers, such a bare-bones policy will leave you empty-handed should you be involved in an accident in which your own motorcycle is damaged.

To help protect against the unexpected, it is highly recommended that you augment your motorcycle insurance policy with coverages that will pay for any damage incurred by your bike. Two of the most important types of coverage are collision and comprehensive. By carrying these coverages, you are sure to receive financial compensation should your bike be stolen or damaged in an accident—even if it was your fault!

Carrying collision coverage on your motorcycle insurance policy ensures that your insurance company will pay to have your bike repaired in the event you collide with another vehicle or object. This coverage extends to collisions with other cars and motorcycles, as well as signs, poles, and other inanimate objects. If you are the at-fault party in an accident and your policy does not include collision, the cost to repair your motorcycle falls exclusively on you.

While collision coverage protects your bike against more traditional accidents, comprehensive coverage extends to other potential causes of damage. When you add comprehensive coverage to your motorcycle insurance policy, you are protecting your bike from damage that may arise because of fire, storm damage, vandalism, or theft. Comprehensive coverage even applies when you have the misfortune of hitting an animal.

When considering the large amount of money most motorcyclists put into their bike, adding both collision and comprehensive coverage to your motorcycle insurance policy is a no-brainer. The slight increase you will experience in your monthly premiums is a small price to pay for the peace of mind you will gain by knowing your motorcycle is well-protected against every type of mishap.

Motorcycle Insurance Coverages

If you own and operate a motorcycle in Pennsylvania, you are required to purchase motorcycle insurance. Motorcycle insurance is carried under a separate policy from regular automobile insurance, as Pennsylvania classifies each differently under the motor vehicle code. As a unique policy, motorcycle insurance has unique coverages and rates that you must know and understand in order to adequately protect yourself in case of a motorcycle accident.

Just as is the case with passenger vehicles, the State of Pennsylvania requires all motorcycle operators to carry the following minimum liability coverages in order to legally drive a vehicle:

  • $15,000 of coverage for an injury or death to one person in a single accident.
  • $30,000 of coverage for injuries or deaths to more than one person in a single accident.
  • $5,000 of property damage insurance.

While owners of passenger vehicles are required to carry an additional $5,000 of personal injury insurance (“PIP”), this coverage is not required of motorcycle insurance policies.

It is important to note that the figures represent only the minimum coverages required by law. As they represent the minimum coverage required by law, these policies will carry the least expensive monthly premiums.

In addition, there are a number of liability options available which are higher than the standard liability limits mentioned above. While such policies will cost more upfront, a motorcycle insurance policy with higher liabilities can pay major dividends in the event of an accident.

For more information on motorcycle insurance, request a copy of my free book, “The Good, the Bad, and the Law: A Guide to Motorcycle Accidents in Pennsylvania.” It contains tips on selecting the right motorcycle insurance and advice for what to do if you have been in a motorcycle accident.

How Much Is Full Coverage Insurance on a Motorcycle?

On average, motorcycle riders in Pennsylvania spent $661 per year on coverage for their motorcycle, slightly less than the national average of $702 for full coverage. However, certain insurance companies may offer contracts in which your payments will be lower than $400 per month but, in obtaining lower monthly payments, you may be sacrificing coverage for savings.

Moreover, it can also come down to the unique circumstances of your driving record when compared with other drivers. In other words, even if you carry the same coverage as another driver, your premiums could be higher. This could be due to your driving record, your age, residence, vehicle type, and a multitude of other factors to determine the cost of insurance for your motorcycle. For example, an 18-year-old riding a Kawasaki Ninja is likely going to have drastically higher insurance rates than a 60-year-old man riding a (comparatively slower) Harley-Davidson due to the implications of their age and the speed of the motorcycle.

Do You Have to Have Full Coverage on a Motorcycle?

In Pennsylvania, you are required to carry insurance on your motorcycle. Although that gives you some flexibility in carrier for your insurance plan, there remains the fact that your plan must meet the minimum requirements for coverage. In other words, the policy limits that your purchase must offer, at a minimum, the amounts identified in the previous section ($15,000 for bodily injury per person, $30,000 per accident, $5,000 for property damage insurance). There are no laws in Pennsylvania that require a motorcycle rider to carry the maximum coverage available that your insurance carrier offers, but, at the very least, you are required to meet the minimum requirements for coverage in the state.

How to Determine the Average Cost of Motorcycle Insurance

Just as is the case with an insurance policy for a passenger vehicle, there is no uniform answer to the question of average cost of motorcycle insurance. The unique circumstances presented by each driver will affect how much that person will pay for their motorcycle insurance policy. Accordingly, while two drivers may carry the exact same liability coverages, the average cost of their monthly premiums could be entirely different.

While it is difficult to calculate an average cost of motorcycle insurance, there are a number of variables that can influence the price of an insurance policy. Some of these variables include the state in which you reside, your age, your previous driving record, the type of motorcycle you drive, where you store your motorcycle, etc.

Add Uninsured Motorist (UM) and Underinsured Motorist (UM) Coverage to Have the Best Insurance for Your Motorcycle

You’re most likely aware of the unique opportunity a bike provides you to save money at the gas pump. One place you do not want to save money, however, is on your insurance policy. While it can be tempting to opt for state minimum motorcycle coverage, it is important to consider all possible scenarios before opting for inadequate coverage. Operating a motorcycle is an inherently dangerous activity. Accordingly, you should be sure to purchase the best insurance available to protect you and your loved ones from in the event of an accident.

While the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania requires a motorcyclist to carry a minimum policy of $15,000 bodily injury, $30,000 each accident, and $5,000 property damage, there are many additional coverages available to make sure you have the best insurance available to protect you and your loved ones.

Though they are both optional, UM and UIM coverages protect you and your family in the event that the at-fault driver does not have an insurance policy adequate enough to compensate you for your injuries. While these coverages are sure to add a few dollars to your monthly premiums, UM and UIM coverages are two parts of your motorcycle insurance policy on which you do not want to skimp. The few dollars you stand to save now will seem rather trivial if you are the victim of a motorcycle accident involving an uninsured or underinsured driver. Be sure to ask your insurance provider about adding these coverages to your motorcycle insurance policy today. Doing so will ensure that you have the best insurance in the event that you or a loved one is in an accident. In either case, your ability to receive compensation for your injuries is limited by the at-fault party’s amount of insurance coverage. In the event you purchase UM and UIM, you are in a better position to protect yourself in the event you are injured by another driver.

For more specific information on UM and UIM coverages,request a copy of my free book “The Good, the Bad, and the Law: A Guide to Motorcycle Accidents in Pennsylvania.” It contains many tips on selecting the best insurance for your motorcycle and provides further detail on UM and UIM coverages.

Ways to Lower Your Motorcycle Premium

Although motorcycle insurance is a necessary expense, no one wants to pay more than needed. People are always looking for ways to save money and get the best rate possible. Each insurance carrier has its own way of setting insurance rates. Although you don’t have control over all the factors that go into making that determination (your age, for example), there are many things you can do to make sure you are getting the best rate today or to help reduce your costs in the future.

Be a Safe Driver / Rider

No matter who you are getting insurance from, all insurance carriers favor safe drivers. Violations and accidents on your motor vehicle record almost always increase your costs with surcharges or lost discounts.

Take a Motorcycle Safety Course

Whether you are new to motorcycling or a seasoned rider, taking a motorcycle safety course every few years not only makes you a safer rider but usually results in a discount.

Research before Buying

Not all motorcycles are rated the same. Rates vary based on the risk associated with the make and model of the bike. Generally, the fewer accidents and claims associated with the bike, the lower the premium. The performance capacity and safety features also play a role. Sport bikes tend to come with a much higher insurance cost than a standard cruiser.

Maximize Your Discounts

Make sure you are getting all the discounts you are entitled to receive. Be sure you answer all questions honestly and accurately and keep your information up to date. It’s important that you have your agent review your policy periodically to make sure you aren’t leaving money on the table.

Increase Your Deductible

Increasing your deductible will decrease your insurance cost. However, make sure you can afford the deductible you select. Remember that will be your out-of-pocket cost if you have to file a claim.

Remove Collision and Comprehensive Coverage

What is the condition of your motorcycle? How old is your bike? If the N.A.D.A book value of the motorcycle is not very high, consider dropping comprehensive and /or collision coverage on the bike. This does, however, leave the motorcycle uncovered for physical damage if a loss were to occur. You have to weigh the pros and cons before investing in the coverage.

Pay in Full

Paying your policy in full saves you money in installment fees and you could earn a pay-in-full discount as well.

While it can be tempting to opt for state minimum motorcycle coverage to save money, it is important to consider all possible scenarios before opting for inadequate coverage. Operating a motorcycle is an inherently dangerous activity. Accordingly, you should be sure to purchase the best insurance available to protect you and your loved ones from in the event of an accident.

How Can Carpey Law Help If You Are in a Motorcycle Accident?

In addition to legal services, Stuart Carpey of Carpey Law has published a free book titled “The Good, the Bad, and the Law: A Guide to Motorcycle Accidents in Pennsylvania.”

As well as offering free copies of his book to motorcycle riders, Carpey Law exceeds in assisting clients in litigation processes because of their accidents and has years of experience with motorcycle accident coverage and law.

As a service to the community, Carpey Law Firm reviews motorcycle insurance policies for free. If you are concerned about your level of coverage when it comes to your motorcycle, or have been in an accident on a motorcycle, Carpey Law can help find the best solution to your problem. Contact us today to get started.

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