I am sad to say I have yet another motorcycle crash case recently, of a young A.B.A.T.E. member, MSF trained rider, and good motorcyclist where his motorcycle insurer wrongfully put him off when he tried to buy Uninsured Motorists (i.e. UM) insurance, Sadly he was refused UM coverage and given false information by the agent that UM for motorcycles was not available from his insurer. I recently had another national insurance company that insured another motorcyclist who found out after a crash he had no UM in fact, tell me the same tale. I also had recently two motorcyclists who bought new motorcycles and the dealers recommended national insurance agents issued a minimum limits policy with no UM coverage. The riders did not realize they electronically signed a UM wavier during the excitement and rush to get their new motorcycle out of the dealer’s door. They crashed with serious injuries due to motorists who failed to yield the right-of-way.
Here are a few things you need to check on your motorcycle insurance policy to make sure you and your loved ones that depend on your income are protected with Uninsured Motorists (i.e. UM insurance coverage) in the event of a motorcycle crash:
1. If the insurer sells you motorcycle liability insurance in Louisiana they HAVE to offer you Uninsured Motorists Insurance at least at the minimum $15,000 and at the policy limits or give you the option for more UM coverage.
2. The insurance company MUST offer you UM.
3. The insurance company MUST get you to sign a waiver of UM for you not to have UM coverage. You must reject UM coverage in writing.
4. If the insurer does not get you to sign a UM waiver document, waiving UM coverage, you then automatically have UM coverage at the liability policy limits for even if your declaration sheet does not list UM coverage.
5. Be careful what you sign when you purchase a new or used motorcycle and the dealer offers you insurance. You may sign a UM waiver if you are not careful.
6. Be extra careful if you buy motorcycle insurance online. Most online insurance websites will have you automatically REJECT UM as they insurance companies do not like writing UM coverage for motorcyclists. If you get injured on a motorcycle, it is usually expensive with high medical bills and serious disability.
7. I recommend every motorcycle rider have at least $500,000 UM coverage especially if you have a wife and dependent children. How much UM coverage you need depends on you income, medical insurance and dependents
8. Sure, UM costs more than the minimum liability limits purchased–but you are worth it! You really need uninsured motorists insurance UM coverage, as the chances are that the motorist that crashed into you probably only has a minimum policy of $15,000 liability limits. If they air ambulance you out from a crash scene, you have brain injury, ER treatment, or surgery, that $15,000 minimum policy limits alone will be not enough to pay for those expenses, much less compensate you for a loss of income.
9. THERE IS NO SUCH THING A “FULL COVERAGE”! If you ask about UM and you do not see it listed on the declaration page of your policy, run away fast from any agent that tells you that you have full coverage and does not state you have UM coverage. The term “full coverage” is vague and meaningless. It does not mean you have any UM coverage. Beware!
10. Once the policy renews, if you don’t have UM, the insurer does not have to have you sign another UM waiver document on the same vehicle at annual renewals. Always check each policy for UM coverage every year at every renewal!
If I had a $5.00 for every motorcyclist that comes in the office and tells me he has full coverage and UM, I could buy another new motorcycle with the money! I just had a young man, rear-ended who tried to buy UM coverage and thinks he had UM, but does not. He is disabled with three lumbar fractured and cannot walk. The driver failed to yield and has only a 15k policy. I plan on suing his insurer over this agent’s false misrepresentation of him having UM when he did not.
Glenn C. McGovern is an MSF Basic Instructor, an AVVO 9.5 rated attorney, Martindale-Hubbell AV rated attorney, and a motorcycle/civil rights trial attorney since 1977, an A.B.A.T.E. Life member and VP of GNO A.B.A.T.E Chapter.