Motorcyclists Don’t Have to Carry Liability Insurance in Washington… But They Should

Motorcyclists don’t have to carry liability insurance in Washington.  So many riders don’t.  But that leaves their passengers exposed.

On Sunday, a Renton man was riding his motorcycle in Bellevue.  He crashed into a tree.  His passenger was injured.  Motorcycle accidents with passenger injuries highlight the importance of carrying liability insurance.

So why do you want liability insurance if it isn’t required?  There are three big reasons:

  1. To Protect Yourself. What happens if you hit a jogger?  Or run over a little kid?  A single mistake could wipe you out financially.  Without insurance you would have to pay both for a lawyer to defend you and put everything you have at risk.  If you buy liability insurance—especially if you buy enough liability insurance—these concerns are put to bed.
  1. To Protect People You Care About. What happens if you have your wife or husband on the back and go off the road?  Or you’re riding with friends and crash into one of them?  Medical bills can be enormous.  As a rule of thumb Harborview runs about $15,000 a night.  But beyond the medical bills, what happens if your spouse or best friend can’t work again or needs long-term care?  You’re going to feel horrible.  But the situation is going to be a lot better for everyone if you have enough liability insurance to financially compensate them for what they’ve been through.
  1. So You Can Buy UIM. This is another form of protecting yourself.  UIM refers to uninsured and underinsured motorist.  An uninsured motorist doesn’t have any insurance.  In Washington about 20 percent of drivers don’t have insurance.  An underinsured driver doesn’t have enough insurance.  The state minimum is $25,000 per person/$50,000 per accident.  Let’s say you get hit by someone with the state minimum and have $100,000 in medical bills—the average person in this situation is going to be heavily underinsured.  So it makes sense to buy as much UIM as possible.  But to buy UIM, you also have to buy liability insurance.  If you’re not persuaded by reasons 1 and 2, you should be persuaded by this one: buy liability insurance so you can protect yourself with UIM.

If you have questions about motorcycle insurance let us know.  We’re happy to answer them.

If you have motorcycle insurance but want to know if you have enough we’re glad to review your declarations page and provide feedback.

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