Insurance laws in Iowa require drivers meet minimum liability coverage amounts. Minimum liability coverage mounts are:
- $20,000 bodily injury (for one person);
- $40,000 bodily injury (for more than one person); and
- $15,000 (property damage).
Motorcyclists are also required to meet this minimum liability coverage. In the event of an accident that another motorist caused, injured bikers may pursue a claim against that motorist’s liability coverage.
Importance of Insurance Coverage for Motorcyclists
Meeting the minimum required amounts is certainly helpful in the event a motorcyclist is at fault for an accident. For even better financial protection in the event the rider causes an accident and is liable for damages, many choose higher amounts of coverage.
Of course, in the event another driver is liable for the accident, riders cannot recover from their own liability coverage. Instead, they’d rely on filing a claim against the other driver.
But remember that even though insurance is required, not all drivers will carry it or their coverage may not be enough to pay for all damages. So some motorcyclists may instead rely on other coverage on their policy to provide them compensation for damages.
One option is to purchase medical payments coverage. This type of coverage is no-fault, which means that no matter who was responsible for the accident, it will provide coverage of medical costs. A benefit to medical payments is that if the insurance companies are taking a long time to assign blame in the accident or negotiations for a settlement have stalled, much of the medical bills can be taken care of right away.
Another type of coverage that might help motorcyclists in the event of an accident is uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. There’s no guarantee that the at-fault driver has insurance or his/her coverage is enough. That’s where this insurance kicks in. It could pay for medical bills, lost earnings and other accident-related expenses.
How Insurance Coverage Can Impact a Motorcycle Accident Claim
Having enough coverage is critical for motorcyclists. Especially since these types of accidents are oftentimes catastrophic or the injuries require months of recovery. For some, a collision could result in permanent disability.
Let’s say a motorcyclist was struck by a drunk driver on Interstate 235 in Des Moines and sustained significant head trauma, multiple fractures and injuries to the neck and back. The at-fault motorist has the minimum amount of insurance required ($20,000) but the bills exceed this. The rider’s underinsured motorist coverage could cover anything beyond the $20,000, up to the limits of his policy.
And there is always the risk that a motorcyclist is seriously injured in a hit and run. When a driver flees the scene of the accident, having uninsured motorist coverage can help pay for damages until (and if) the person is caught.
Talk to your insurance agent if you’re purchasing motorcycle insurance, and talk to an attorney if you’re having trouble recovering compensation from your or the at-fault driver’s insurer after a serious accident. Walker, Billingsley & Bair helps Des Moines riders injured in an accident, so contact us online or call today: (888) 435-9886.