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Motorcycles can be very dangerous vehicles. They're unstable, as they ordinarily have only two wheels. There's no steel around them to protect you from a direct hit. There aren't any seat belts either, so motorcyclists are thrown to the pavement or dirt every day. Even at low speed impacts, motorcyclists can suffer very significant injuries, particularly when hit by a car or truck. They're not as visible as other vehicles on the road, and they're less than half the weight of a very small car.
Motorcycle insurance is required by law in all 50 states. Like car insurance, motorcycle insurance is broken down into different coverages for different purposes. Each has their own premium and coverage limit. Aside from what's required under your state's minimum mandatory liability coverage law, everything else is optional.
This coverage is required in all 50 states. Minimum coverage is usually about $25,000 per person and $50,000 per occurrence. If you're found at fault in a motorcycle accident, it can pay for medical bills, pain and suffering and lost earnings for anybody you might injure or kill, including a passenger on your bike. You're not covered for any of those damages. It only covers the other guy.
Also required in all 50 states, this pays for property damage to another vehicle or other property if you're involved in an accident that's your fault. Coverage limits are anywhere from $10,000 to $30,000 depending on what state you reside in. If you're at fault in the accident, property damage liability coverage does nothing to cover your bike.
This covers damage to your bike when you're in an accident whether the other person has insurance or not. It can cover your bike even if the accident was your fault. It also covers you if you're involved in a single vehicle accident.
With comprehensive coverage, your bike is covered for damage not related to an accident with another vehicle. This would include theft, fire, flooding, vandalism or even hitting a deer.
This coverage can pay medical expenses up to the limits that you purchase for you and your rider. It can also cover funeral expenses up to a certain limit.
If you're hit by an uninsured driver, and the accident is their fault, uninsured motorist coverage can compensate you for your medical expenses, lost earnings, pain and suffering and permanent disfigurement or disability as a result of the accident. It might even cover you and family members who are members of your household as pedestrians or bicyclists if you or they're involved in an accident with an uninsured driver. A claim might be made on your underinsured coverage if you sustained $100,000 of damages, but the negligent motorist only had $20,000 of insurance.
Other optional and specific coverages are available. As a motorcyclist, the risk of injury is exponentially higher than if you were driving a car, and when injured, you're ordinarily much more severely injured than the driver or occupant of a car. On a motorcycle, you'll want sufficient protection all the way around.