Close up image of a motorcycle - how much insurance do you really need on your bike?

Wisconsin law requires motorcyclists to purchase accident insurance. However, purchasing insurance can be confusing. Before you meet with your insurance agent it is important to understand what kind of coverage you really need and what kind of insurance will be important to you if you are in an accident.

Wisconsin Law Requires Some Motorcycle Insurance—But That’s Just the Minimum

As a motorcyclist in Wisconsin, you need to purchase the following types of insurance:

  • Property damage coverage. This covers you for the material damage you cause to other vehicles or property. As of February 2016, motorcyclists are required to carry $10,000 of property damage insurance.
  • Bodily injury coverage. If you are at fault in a crash, this insurance pays for bodily injury to others. The contract may also cover passengers on your own motorcycle, if requested. Damages covered should include medical bills, lost wages, replacement services, disability, pain and suffering, loss of life and other expenses. Currently, the minimum amounts for this insurance are $25,000 per individual and $50,000 per accident.
  • Uninsured motorist coverage. Uninsured motorist insurance will cover your medical expenses if you are hurt in an accident caused by another party who does not have any motor vehicle accident insurance.

Other types of motorcycle accident insurance include:

  • Physical damage coverage. This policy reimburses damage to your own motorcycle, whether or not you were at fault. It also covers damage to or loss of your bike in case of theft, fire, windstorm or flood. Most insurers will require a deductible, an amount you have to pay before your insurance “kicks in.” If your bike is leased or financed, the finance organization is likely to require such a policy.
  • Medical coverage. This covers medical expenses regardless of who caused the accident. Bike crashes can result in serious injuries and very high medical expenses, so this insurance may be important.
  • Underinsured motorist coverage. This type of insurance reimburses medical expenses if you are hurt in an accident caused by another party whose bodily injury liability insurance is not sufficient to pay for the damages.

You will need to decide whether you are adding your motorcycle accident insurance as an endorsement on your car accident insurance or whether you are purchasing a separate policy. An endorsement may provide you a discount or other benefits, but may not provide you with as many options as a unique motorcycle policy.

Not every insurance company is the same. Thus, it is important to shop around to find the right coverage for you. You can ask your friends what coverage they have, you can visit motorcycle websites and chat forums, and you can ask questions of several different insurers. It is important to consider not only the cost of the policy but the potential cost of an accident and how it will impact your future if you aren’t properly insured. Then, you can make an educated decision and purchase the motorcycle accident insurance that not only complies with Wisconsin law but also provides you with adequate protection.

Jason F. Abraham
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Helping car accident and personal injury victims throughout Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa since 1993.