The requirements for insurance vary from state to state, but in Illinois, all motorists are required to have liability coverage in the amount of $20,000 in bodily harm per person injured and $40,000 per accident as well as $15,000 of property damage coverage. In many cases, these minimums are not nearly sufficient to cover the cost of an accident, but are better than having no coverage at all. Those who fail to purchase insurance face harsh penalties and fines and could even lose their licenses. Motorcyclists must purchase insurance for their bikes as well as any other vehicles they may own in order to protect themselves in the event that they are involved in an auto or motorcycle accident.
Methods of Enforcing Motorcycle Insurance Laws
When pulled over as part of any traffic stop, an officer will ask motorists for a license and proof of financial responsibility, which is another term for insurance. Failure to provide such documentation can result in the issuance of a $500 ticket that may be dropped if the person is able to show proof that he or she was insured on that date to the court. Otherwise, the $500 fine will stand and the offender’s plates will be suspended until the fine is paid and the offender provides proof of insurance. A second offense will constitute a $1,000 fine.
Another method of enforcement is the random mailing of questionnaires to the owners of registered motor vehicles, motorcycles, mopeds, scooters or any type of recreational vehicle that can be found on the road. These questionnaires ask the registered owners of randomly selected vehicles to verify that they have insurance coverage and if the owners are unable to do so, their plates will be suspended until proof of insurance can be provided.
Motorcycle Insurance Claims For Bodily Injury
Even if a motorcyclist is currently insuring another motor vehicle, he or she must insure any motorcycle that he or she intends to operate on public roads. Failure to do so is subject to the same penalties and fines as those who are unable to provide proof of insurance for a car, truck or bus. Because of the severity of the injuries that commonly occur during motorcycle accidents, it is advised that motorcyclists purchase coverage well above the minimum state mandated requirements. It is also a good idea to add uninsured (UM) and under-insured motorist (UIM) coverage onto a regular insurance policy in order to protect the cyclist from hit and run drivers, uninsured motorists and accidents that result in damages greater than the at fault driver’s coverage can pay for.
Insurance coverage is not only required by law, but it provides a safety net to motorcyclists against numerous unforeseen events and allows them to supplement the insurance coverage of the other party with their own if needed. If you are involved in a motorcycle accident and are seeking damages for your injuries, it also helps greatly to be able to show the court that you were in full compliance with the law.
Remember, it isn’t just smart to insure your motorcycle— it is the law!