Are Motorcycle Owners Required to Carry Less Insurance Than Car Owners?
Anyone who owns and operates a car or a motorcycle on California roads is required to carry insurance to cover property damage and personal injury in the event of an accident. The liability insurance a car or motorcycle owner secures must cover minimum property damage as well as personal injury. The minimum limits on the insurance are the same for motorcycles and for vehicles. The minimum insurance coverage required is as follows:
- $15,000 for injury or death to one person;
- $30,000 for injury or death to more than one person; and
- $5,000 for damage to property.
Anyone purchasing insurance may purchase additional coverage beyond these minimum amounts, and that is often the smart thing to do because these minimums would not be likely to cover the medical bills or property damages in a major car accident that results in catastrophic injuries.
Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage
Drivers should also consider purchasing uninsured or underinsured motorist insurance. This insurance would cover instances in which the driver is involved in a car accident with a negligent driver or motorcycle rider who carries no insurance, or is only covered up to the minimum limits. This insurance fills in the gap and covers the insured’s medical bills and other expenses that exceed the low minimum amounts. Uninsured or underinsured motorist insurance may cover additional people, such as those living in the insured’s household, or a passenger in the insured’s car at the time of the accident. However, uninsured or underinsured motorist insurance generally does not apply if the insured was at fault in the accident.
Sometimes, drivers who own motorcycles in addition to cars and light trucks are surprised to learn that their auto insurance policies do not cover their motorcycles, and they must purchase separate coverage. In this case, if the person causes an accident while riding the motorcycle, the other injured party may have to file suit against the negligent rider, or seek an uninsured motorist claim against his own insurance company, if he has that coverage.
Another issue to keep in mind is that dirt bikes are considered off-highway vehicles in California; they are not street legal and are not required to carry insurance. This means that if you are injured in an accident with a dirt bike that is being operated on a main highway, you may have to resort to your own insurance coverage or seek compensation directly from the negligent rider.
Contact Us for Legal Assistance
If you are injured in a car accident and the insurance companies are offering a low settlement amount, you need an experienced personal injury attorney. For a free consultation, contact an experienced San Jose auto accident lawyer at Janoff Law. Our team is equipped to help you seek the compensation you need to put your life back together.