Milwaukee – the home of Harley Davidson Motorcycles. Riding motorcycles has been in the blood of thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts from Milwaukee and the surrounding area for more than 100-years. Who can deny the fun of driving down the open road enjoying the Wisconsin countryside? However, before you hit the road, it is important to understand Wisconsin’s motorcycle insurance requirements. If you live in Wisconsin and own a motorcycle, read this short post to learn more about insuring your bike properly.
What Insurance Do I Need for My Motorcycle in Wisconsin?
Wisconsin state law requires that you carry a minimum of 25/50/10 coverage on your motorcycle. So what does 25/50/10 mean? Let’s break that down.
The first number represents the amount of Bodily Injury coverage you have on a per-person basis. In this case $25,000. Bodily Injury coverage pays for compensatory damages (medical bills, loss of wages, future lost wages, and emotion distress) as well as punitive damages (punishment for what you have caused.) As you can imagine, in the case of a severe accident, damages could add up quickly and exceed these minimum limits.
The second number represents the amount of Bodily Injury coverage you have on a per accident basis. In this case $50.000. This could be reached by the court awarding damages of $25,000 to two victims, $12,500 to four victims, or any other similar combination.
The third number represents the amount of Property Damage coverage you have. As you might expect, Property Damage coverage pay for the damage you caused to the property of others. Most likely this comes in the form of damage to another vehicle or motorcycle such as what would be the case in an accident. However, it could be damage to any property including losing control of your bike and riding it through a garage door, or through someone’s front door, causing extensive damage to the interior of one’s home. (It could happen.)
What Other Motorcycle Coverage Should I Be Thinking about?
Besides carrying higher limits on the require BI and PD coverage as outlined in the paragraph above, there are other coverages that all motorcycle owners should carry, as well as a couple of optional ones:
- Collision & Comprehensive coverage – If you have a loan on your bike, your bank or credit union will likely require you have physical damage coverage.
- Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist coverage – UI/UIM is much like the Bodily Injury coverage that we talked about above, but in reverse. This covers you in the case where the other party that was at fault is either operating without BI coverage, or without enough BI coverage. An important item to note is that some companies extend this coverage to your passenger as well as you find with auto insurance. However, not all companies include UI/UIM for the passenger, but sure to check with your agent to find out if you have this important coverage in place.
- Medical Payments – This is the coverage that will pay for your medical costs (up to your limit) that are the result of an accident, regardless of fault. This is especially nice to have if you have a high-deductible health insurance policy.
- Roadside Assistance – You’ll be glad you have this should you find yourself broke down by the side of the road. While it will not pay for the repair itself, it will cover the tow into It will even pay for a flat tire, dead battery, lost key, or even an empty tank in most cases.
- Additional Accessory coverage – The odds are that if you have a Harley Davidson, you’ve added a little chrome to your bike, or maybe a lot of It is quite common for cycle owners to customize their bike with chrome as well as other aftermarket add-ons such as custom fairings, stereos, saddlebags, seats, luggage compartments, exhaust pipes, and even custom paint. It is important to understand that any and all alterations made to your motorcycle that alter its appearance or performance from the original manufacturer’s specifications may not be covered without the purchase of an additional policy. Make sure to let you agent know of any motorcycle modifications you’ve made, or plan to make in the future. We’ll help design a policy that will cover your bike and all of its modifications.
Can I Drop My Coverage in the Winter?
This is not a good idea, let me tell you why. Many people think that just because it is winter in Wisconsin, you do not need motorcycle insurance. However, what if you had a garage fire and your cycle was lost? What if your bike was stolen from your storage unit? What if the roof collapsed on it due to heavy snow? All of these examples are reasons why you should carry Comprehensive coverage at the very least. So what about Collision and Liability? To be honest, the money you’d save by dropping these coverages for a few months in the winter would be negated by not qualifying for a “continuous coverage” discount. Besides, are you going to remember to call your agent to put the coverage back on when spring rolls around?
Motorcycles can be a lot of fun, but they are also a big responsibility. For more information on how to insure your motorcycle to meet Wisconsin’s motorcycle insurance requirements, contact Smith Insurance and Financial Services. We’ll be able to answer your questions and help you find the right insurance at a great price.