Iowa's financial responsibility requirement applies to motorcycles as well as motorists. The minimum requirements are $25,000 bodily injury liability insurance per person, $40,000 bodily injury liability per accident, and $15,000 property damage liability. Liability insurance covers damages that other motorists suffer for an accident the policyholder caused.
Under the law, if a driver is in an accident or stopped by a police officer, they need to show proof of meeting the financial responsibility requirement, or the state may revoke the motorcyclist’s license.
Also note that the auto insurance purchased for a car does not apply to a motorcycle. Each vehicle must have its own insurance.
What insurance coverage can motorcyclists purchase?
While required to carry liability insurance, there are other insurance policies motorcyclists may carry to protect themselves in the event of an accident. Check with the insurer if it offers a particular type of coverage for motorcycles.
Some possible coverage options include:
- Collision: This insurance covers damages for the policyholder in accidents with vehicles, objects or for rollovers/falls. Regardless of fault, policyholders will have money to repair or replace the bike after the accident.
- Comprehensive: Comprehensive covers damage from fire, weather events, vandalism, floods, theft and animal damage to the bike.
- Medical expense: This covers medical expenses for the policyholder regardless of fault in the accident, up to the policy limits.
- Uninsured/underinsured motorists insurance (UM/UIM): This insurance covers you in the event you're in an accident with someone without insurance, if you exceed the at-fault driver's liability limits, or if the at-fault driver flees the scene.
Some motorcyclists customize their bikes, so they may wish to purchase additional coverage for these accessories. Accessory or optional equipment coverage is for modifications and enhancements to the appearance or performance of a motorcycle. In the event of an accident, the coverage will allow the policyholder to recover the expenses he or she incurred customizing the bike.
How do I file a motorcycle insurance claim?
After any accident, you should save the:
- accident report;
- witness contact information;
- other motorist's contact and insurance information;
- photographs of the accident scene; and
- photos of the bike.
Let your insurance company know about the accident. Tell them who was involved and the basics of what happened. If another motorist is at fault and you’ll be filing a liability claim with his or her liability coverage, let that motorist’s insurance company know about the accident too.
If you’re unable to recover fair compensation from the other driver’s insurance, you may have to file a lawsuit. Keep in mind you may be able to recover damages via your own insurance policy, provided you have applicable coverage like collision coverage or medical expense coverage.
If you have more questions about motorcycle accident insurance claims and lawsuits, read Walker, Billingsley & Bair's guide to motorcycle accidents. We have years of experience dealing with these cases and can answer your questions and provide legal representation.