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What does wrongful death on a motorcycle insurance policy mean?

Chelsey Tucker graduated with a Bachelor of History degree from Metropolitan State University in 2019. She now writes about insurance with her specialty being life insurance and has been quoted...

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years. He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella...

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Reviewed byDaniel Walker
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UPDATED: Mar 19, 2020

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Meaning of Wrongful Death on an Insurance PolicyWhile a motorcycle insurance policy doesn’t specifically cover wrongful death, in the event of an accident that causes the death of another person, it is your liability insurance that will pay for any costs associated with that.

Unfortunately, many states have exceptionally low requirements for liability coverage on motorcycle insurance.

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Too low minimum liability requirements can mean that if you are the cause of the death of another person, you will held financially responsible. It is up to you to ensure that you have adequate coverage should the worst happen in an auto accident.

Keep reading to learn exactly what wrongful death is, what type of insurance you should purchase and how you can save money on your motorcycle insurance policy.

What is Considered Wrongful Death

Wrongful death isn’t simply causing the death of a person in an accident; there is more to it than that. In order for a person to file a wrongful death suit against you, they are going to have to be able to prove that you were at fault in an accident due to your own negligence.

What this means is that even if you are ticketed as the at-fault driver in an accident, there may have been extenuating circumstances that caused the accident. In most states, these incidents are taken into consideration; they are based on a bottom line such as you struck another vehicle, and therefore you get the ticket.

However, if you cause an accident in an effort to avoid hitting a pedestrian, for example, and it causes the death of another driver, then it is unlikely that a wrongful death suit would be successful. If the family of the person who died wants to be successful in the suit, they are going to have to prove that you were driving carelessly or that your accident was caused due to a problem with your motorcycle that you were aware of.

In many cases, your insurance company will simply settle with the family of the individual without going to court. In many states, however, this doesn’t mean you can’t be personally sued, even if the family accepts the insurance settlement. There is a possibility that they can sue you personally for the accident as well.

Proving wrongful death can be quite difficult. The person who is suing is responsible for providing the necessary proof that the driver could have prevented the accident. They will have to provide:

  • Police reports
  • Witness reports
  • Track down relevant witnesses
  • Obtain other relevant evidence
  • They can request items such as your maintenance records, inspection records and so on, and you do have to provide these documents.

If this happens to you, you will want to do your own due diligence, however, to prove that you weren’t responsible. Although the burden of proof belongs to them, you don’t want to leave yourself unprotected. If a wrongful suit is filed against you personally then you need to contact a lawyer.

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What Type of Motorcycle Insurance You Should Purchase

As with auto insurance, every state has a minimum amount of insurance that you are required to purchase. However, there isn’t a single instance of a professional recommending that you only purchase the minimum.

In fact, whether you talk to an insurance agent or to a lawyer they will recommend you purchase the highest amount of liability coverage that you can afford as well as high levels of uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.

The bottom line is that a motorcycle accident can be more costly than any other type of accident. The reason for this is that cyclists are left unprotected if they are struck. Instead of an automobile and a seatbelt offering protection, your bare body will meet the road. Even a minor accident can result in broken bones, concussions and even death to the cyclist.

Your liability insurance is meant to protect others from an accident that you cause. Because it also protects your passengers, you need to ensure that your liability insurance will provide all of the medical care for someone who is riding your bike.

It is your uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage that could end up making a big difference for you should someone else cause the accident that you are in. Most people are woefully unprepared for the costs associated with a motorcycle accident; the medical costs can be astronomical. It could very well be your underinsured coverage that ensures that you get the proper medical care after a motorcycle accident.

Much like regular auto insurance, you also have the option to purchase collision insurance and other than collision insurance (which is essentially comprehensive coverage). Because motorcycles are more prone to accidents that don’t involve other vehicles, having additional coverage to protect you from striking trees and other objects is important.

Your comprehensive insurance protects your motorcycle against theft, vandalism and acts of nature. If your motorcycle has to be replaced, the replacement will be based on current market value and not the purchase price of your motorcycle.

In some states you can cover your motorcycle on your auto insurance. Look for options like “miscellaneous type of vehicle endorsement.” This addition will cover your motorcycle, scooter, golf cart, etc. for the same limits that you have on your auto insurance policy.

You may also find that you have full tort and partial tort options when you select your policy options. If you want to ensure that there are no limits on any lawsuits that you might need to bring at a further date, then you need to select the full tort option. This will be more expensive than partial tort, but it may end up being valuable to you. You may also find that there is a no limit on a lawsuit option instead of a full tort option. They are essentially the same thing.

Saving Money on Your Motorcycle Insurance

As you might have guessed, motorcycle insurance is more expensive than standard auto insurance. There are a couple of reasons for this. First of all, the risk of an accident is higher when you drive a motorcycle. People in cars and trucks often don’t see motorcyclists and strike them more often. In addition, the risk of serious injury is much higher for a motorcyclist as.

As with regular auto insurance, the better your driving record, the cheaper your motorcycle insurance will be. In addition, older drivers will get lower rates than younger drivers. If you take a motorcycle training and safety class from a facility approved by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation, this will garner you lower rates as well.

If you choose a bike with additional safety features such as antilock brakes, traction control and adjustable suspension, you will find that your insurance rates are lower. States with helmet laws offer lower cost motorcycle insurance than states without helmet laws.

Bigger bikes are often less expensive to insure as well. That is because they offer better balance and have less of a tendency to throw a driver if sudden braking occurs. This in addition to the fact that heavier bikes are harder to knock over make them a little more appealing to insurance companies.

The truth is, insurance companies are going to charge more for motorcycle insurance. This doesn’t mean, however, that you can’t save money. By using these tips and taking the time to shop around, you can find better rates.

Our free quote tool will help you find the lowest available rates for your motorcycle insurance. Take a few minutes to answer a few questions and get the quotes you need to make an educated decision.

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