Just as it is for cars and trucks, insurance is required by Wisconsin law for your motorcycle as well.
If you’ve ever ridden or driven a motorcycle, you know that they act and feel a lot different on the road compared to other passenger vehicles such as a car or truck. To begin with, you are fully exposed, without the protection of being enclosed in your vehicle with a safety belt. You’re also operating on two wheels instead of four, which requires a certain amount of skill and concentration to make sure you safely get from Point A to Point B. Finally, while some driving events that are just a minor annoyance to a car or truck like wet roads or loose gravel atop pavement, can cause a serious accident for someone on a motorcycle. Read on to learn a bit about motorcycle safety, as well as Wisconsin motorcycle insurance requirements.
What Types of Accidents Are Most Common for Motorcycles?
According to recent accident statistics for Wisconsin, there were more than 2,100 motorcycle crashes, injuring more than 1,900, and killing 83. A contributing factor to motorcycle accidents is other vehicles not seeing the motorcyclist. To help reduce accidents, there are a number of “Start Seeing Motorcycles” campaigns. These campaigns point out quite accurately that inattentive drivers can be hazardous to motorcyclists and they need to be aware and share the road. In addition to accidents caused by other vehicles, nearly half of all motorcycle accidents are single-vehicle crashes. Loss of traction on the road and colliding with fixed objects cause many injuries and deaths every year. Speeding and alcohol are also a factor in many fatal crashes involving motorcycles. To reduce the chance that you are in an accident, be aware of your surroundings, and ride sober.
What Other Risks Are Wisconsin Motorcyclists Susceptible to?
Weather can change in a short time here in Wisconsin, and when out on your bike, even minor weather incidents can cause major issues for motorcyclists. A morning frost on the road in the spring, sudden thunderstorm, or sudden wind gust can make it easy to lose control of a motorcycle. Hail can be extremely dangerous for motorcyclists caught out in the open as well. Understanding this risk, it’s important to plan ahead. Check the weather forecast, and be aware of changing conditions.
Does Wearing a Helmet Make a Difference?
Wearing a motorcycle helmet is required by Wisconsin law for riders operating with only a permit, or under the age of 18-years old. For others, it is a matter of choice. However, statistics show that head injury is a leading cause of death in motorcycle accident. More specifically, you’re 40 percent more likely to suffer a fatal head injury when not wearing your helmet during an accident. In study after study, wearing a helmet is the most critical factor in preventing and reducing head and neck injuries for motorcyclists.
Is Motorcycle Insurance Required in Wisconsin?
Yes. Wisconsin law requires that motorcycles have a minimum of $25,000/$50,000 Bodily Injury coverage, and at least $10,000 for Property Damage liability insurance. These are the same minimum coverage amounts as required for cars and trucks.
What Other Insurance Coverage Is Recommended for Motorcycles?
For most everyone, the minimum insurance coverage required by the state is not nearly enough to be properly covered. A person should carry the same liability limits as on their private passenger vehicle. It’s a good idea to have other coverage in place such as:
- Comp & Collision (physical damage coverage)
- UI/UIM (uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage)
- Medical Payments
- And Optionally:
- Additional Accessory Coverage
- Roadside Assistance
Are Motorcycle Accessories or Modifications Covered?
Maybe. Some policies will provide some coverage for modifications to your cycle.
It is common for owners of touring bikes such as a Harley Davidson, to customize their bike to make it their own. It is quite common to see custom paint jobs, aftermarket exhaust, and lots of extra chrome. As you can imagine, this can add up to be thousands of dollars in custom accessories. If this describes your bike, give us a call to talk about any modifications you’ve made to your motorcycle. We’ll will be able to suggest additional coverage to cover your bike properly.
Do I Need Motorcycle Insurance During the Winter Months?
When winter comes to Wisconsin, motorcycles disappear from the roads and are put away in storage until spring. Most motorcycle policies are written on an annual basis and take into account that bikes cannot be ridden several months a year. The advantage of this is that should we have a nice late fall or early spring day, the bike can be ridden knowing coverage is year round.
Hopefully, this answered a few of your questions about motorcycle insurance and safety. If you have additional questions, call Thiel Insurance Group today. We’ll be able to help you with your questions and suggest the appropriate policies for your motorcycle insurance needs.