How Does Motorcycle Insurance Work in Massachusetts?

Shopping for motorcycle insurance is not a pleasurable experience, but the state of Massachusetts makes it even more challenging. Many insurance providers decline to offer coverage in the state, leaving you with few options from which to choose. Of course, that makes it harder to land an affordable premium on the coverage you need.

The Bare Minimums

The problem arises from the minimum thresholds the state of Massachusetts established for motorcycle insurance. The state requires coverage only to prove each driver’s financial wherewithal to handle any bodily injury or property damage claims, and the minimum amounts for each are relatively low ($20,000 per person bodily injury, $40,000 per accident, and $5,000 for property damage).

However, the state also mandates uninsured motorist coverage, or protection that kicks in when you are injured by an uninsured driver lacking the coverage levels required to pay the resulting medical bills. You need to carry $20,000 of uninsured motorist protection per person and $40,000 per accident, but you may opt for more if you want any bills covered by your insurance provider.

Sources also vary about whether you need Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage. Massachusetts is a “No-Fault state” when it comes to automobiles, requiring drivers to carry insurance to pay their medical bills regardless of who was at fault for causing an accident. Motorcyclists are exempt from this coverage according to one source below, but must carry $8,000 of protection according to the other.

Optional Add-ons

At any rate, you may purchase PIP coverage in the state of Massachusetts if you want. You may also opt for Underinsured protection that fills in any gaps between the bills you incurred and what the other party’s insurance company will pay. The average cost of hospital bills related to a motorcycle accident in 2011 was over $70,000, so the minimum coverage is woefully inadequate to cover them.

Likewise, collision and comprehensive coverage options are available in the state. Collision coverage pays for any damages your bike sustains in a crash, something that the minimums prescribed above do not consider. Comprehensive coverage pays for any damages to your bike unrelated to an accident, such as theft.

Speaking of theft, it’s more common in Massachusetts than in other states. While the state is only 25th in the country in the number of motorcycles on the road, it is 12th in the number of motorcycle thefts. This makes comprehensive protection more expensive in Massachusetts than it is elsewhere.

How Premiums Are Calculated

Massachusetts has something called the “Safe Driver Insurance Plan,” which allows insurance companies to take a driver’s record into consideration when computing their premium. Motorcyclists with a spotless record and no traffic violations pay less in the state, while those involved in multiple “at-fault” accidents pay a great deal more. Offenses range from getting involved in a single vehicle collision to failing to signal a turn, making it vital to stay aware at all times on your bike.

Failure to carry adequate insurance protection could lead to a traffic violation that increases your premium in the future. If your bike is new, make sure your provider fills out an RMV-1 form with the effective and expiration dates of your coverage, a description of your bike (including ID number), and an explanation of the limits of your liability (at least up to the state’s minimum standards). Keep this document with you at all times to avoid any complications.

Final Thoughts

If you follow all of the above guidelines and still find yourself facing a motorcycle-related legal proceeding, contact motorcycle accident attorneys in Massachusetts who win cases. They have the expertise required to get you what you deserve!