In Washington state, insurance companies are NOT required to offer what is called Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage if you only ride a motorcycle. This is not the case for car insurance, where the carrier must offer PIP coverage on your auto policy unless you waive this coverage in writing. Even if you have PIP coverage under your auto policy, this coverage will likely not apply to your motorcycle unless the policy specifically provides coverage while operating your motorcycle. This is very rare.
PIP is considered no-fault coverage that will cover expenses like medical bills and some time off work. PIP coverage starts at $10,000 per collision and can go up to $100,000. PIP can also cover funeral expenses up to a certain amount. Since PIP is no-fault coverage, it will be offered to you regardless of which driver caused the accident.
Even if you think you will never need PIP coverage, it is a very good idea to have it. PIP is a “no-fault” type of insurance that will pay for your expenses no matter how an accident happened. Even if you are the one at fault for an accident, PIP is available to you. Unlike health insurance, you do not have a co-pay or deductible to meet with PIP medical coverage. Your PIP coverage should pay all of your covered medical bills, up to the policy limits.
What Costs Will My PIP Policy Cover Regardless of Who Caused My Wreck?
-Childcare and household expenses
If you only have a motorcycle policy however, PIP coverage can be very expensive. It often makes better financial sense to spend that money on a good health insurance policy that will cover a higher amount of medical bills or has lower deductibles.
There are circumstances where PIP coverage will not apply. Your insurance company may refuse to pay for medical bills or other services if the following is determined:
-The service is NOT related to the accident
-The cost is unreasonable
-The service is unnecessary
-The cost was incurred more than three years after the accident happened
There are also legal exceptions that may apply when it comes to PIP coverage. If any of the following circumstances occurred, then PIP coverage may be denied:
-The policy holder was committing a felony at the time of the accident
-The policy holder intentionally injured someone else or themselves
-The policy holder sustained injuries while racing
-The policy holder was in a vehicle that did not have PIP coverage
Medical Payments (MedPay) is similar to PIP, but much less comprehensive. It is optional coverage that covers medical expenses for the insured, other drivers listed on the policy, and members of the insured’s household and passengers. MedPay can supplement your health insurance coverage or act as primary medical coverage after an accident.
If your MedPay is supplemental, your health insurance will be used first to cover your injuries, then MedPay will kick in for deductibles and co-pays. If your MedPay is primary, it is used first to cover immediate medical costs and then your health coverage takes care of the rest. This coverage is meant to complement standard liability coverage. While the coverage is more limited than PIP coverage, here are a few advantages:
-It has no deductible or co-pay, unlike most health insurance plans
-It pays medical costs quickly, regardless of fault
-It covers you if you are injured while riding as a passenger, taking public transportation, or injured by another driver while walking or riding your bicycle
Bill and Sally were on a group motorcycle ride when one of the riders went down in front of them. This caused a chain reaction of accidents which included knocking down our clients on their motorcycle. Bill and Sally were on the same bike riding together.
The two of them suffered from a combined list of injuries including collar bone fractures, a left shoulder blade fracture, two spine vertebrae fractures, spinal fusion surgery in lower back, rib fractures, a punctured lung, traumatic brain injury, nerve injury in lower back causing numbness in legs and feet and rib fractures. Between the two of them, their medical bills came to over $517,000.
The motorcycle that caused the accident did not have insurance! The good thing is that our clients had Uninsured motorist coverage they had purchased for their motorcycle. In addition, they had good health insurance that covered most of the medical expenses.
What is the best insurance choice for motorcycle riders?
The answer to this question most often comes down to budget. What can you best afford usually determines which coverage to buy.
Most of our clients make sure they have a good health insurance plan with a low yearly deductible level. If you suffer an injury that requires surgery and time admitted to a hospital, you can count on having to pay the full amount of your yearly deductible. So, consider that when choosing your health insurance plan. A little advance planning can save your financial future if something bad happens and you’re injured in a serious motorcycle accident.
At MaxPower Law, we know how to deal with insurance companies after a motorcycle accident. We have years of experience helping riders fight for the compensation they deserve. If you have questions or are not sure what to do following an accident, give us a call at 425-970-9300 to set up a free consultation and case evaluation.