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Explaining California’s motorcycle insurance requirements

Based upon the responses of many of the Long Beach motorcyclists that we’ve worked with here at the offices of Harting, Simkins, and Ryan, there’s much confusion out there about motorcycle insurance requirements. Just as is the case with auto insurance, most motorcycle owners never anticipate having to use it, and thus will often look to save by purchasing only the minimum amount of insurance required by the law. It’s difficult to put a general answer on just how much motorcycle insurance one should have, as needs vary from individual to individual. In this post, we’ll take a closer look at just how much insurance California motorcyclists are required to have, and when and where they might want to consider extra coverage.

The state of California requires that motorcyclists carry at least bodily injury and property damage liability insurance coverage of up to $15,000 for injuries to single parties, $30,000 for multiple parties, and $5,000 for property damage. This will cover any damages to property or injuries to others that a motorcyclist causes.

According to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety, 15 percent of the fatal traffic accidents that occurred in California in 2015 were suffered by motorcyclists. Because California does not follow the “no fault” philosophy in terms or motor vehicle accidents, personal injury coverage is not available to motorcycle owners to help pay for their own injuries in accidents that they cause. In these cases, medical bills would be submitted to one’s health insurance plan. However, extended collision or comprehensive coverage will help take care of the costs of damages to one’s bike.

More information on dealing with expenses in the wake of a motorcycle accident can be found on our Motorcycle Accidents page. 

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