If you’re trying to make sense of Michigan’s motorcycle insurance laws, take a number! When it comes to motorcycle insurance, Michigan has the craziest laws of any state. This makes buying motorcycle insurance in Michigan very confusing. What makes the laws so crazy is the fact that the amount of coverage you have depends on what you crash into in an accident. It basically boils down to two options for motorcyclists in Michigan: Either pay a fortune for adequate medical coverage all the time or go without medical coverage and only have adequate coverage part of the time. As crazy as it may sound, that’s how Michigan motorcycle insurance laws work.
Here’s a breakdown:
Where Michigan Insurance laws are good for motorcyclists:
Where Michigan laws are bad for motorcyclists:
Protecting yourself without breaking the bank
Do yourself a big favor: Take Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury Coverage. While this coverage is required in many states, it is optional in Michigan. As mentioned before, if you have an accident on your bike with a motor vehicle, your injuries will be automatically covered on that motor vehicles auto insurance policy. The problem is that Michigan has a very high rate of driver’s who are not legally insured as they should be. The national average of driver’s who are not carrying auto insurance liability coverage as they are supposed to be is about one in every six drivers. But in Michigan, because of the high auto insurance prices, that ratio is more like one in every four or five drivers. Uninsured motorist coverage does not cost as much as medical coverage does. And it is very well worth having because there are so many uninsured drivers on the road.
** Note: Remember that in selecting uninsured motorist coverage, you’re only allowed to carry as high of a level as you selected with liability coverage. So if you settle for Michigan State minimum liability coverage, then uninsured motorist coverage will only cover your injuries up to $20,000.
Medical benefits coverage vs. medical payments coverage. You’ll have the choice of selecting one or the other if you want medical coverage. The only real difference between the two is that medical payments coverage stops after three years following an accident, as opposed to medical benefits which do not have time limits. Another difference is that medical benefits coverage is usually offered at much higher levels than medical payments coverage. Most companies won’t go any higher with medical payments coverage than $25,000. But many companies will go over $100,000 with medical benefits coverage. Dollar for dollar, medical payments coverage is much cheaper than medical benefits coverage. But again the both of these coverages are pricey. So you might have a tough decision to make.
Satisfying Michigan’s no-helmet law.
In order to legally drive without a helmet, you need to carry at least $20,000 in medical benefits coverage. $20,000 in medical payments coverage will not work. I know that sounds completely silly, but that’s how the law is written.
I realize that it is very difficult to choose the right coverage for motorcycle insurance when you have crazy laws like this on the books. At least now you know what risks you face and you can decide for yourself if you can afford the above mentioned coverage.
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Dan Lyles is an Independent Insurance Agent serving Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia..