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What insurance is a biker required to have on a motorcycle?

April 20, 2011 by Steven M. Gursten

Motorcycle accident lawyer explains Michigan’s motorcycle insurance laws

[IMPORTANT UPDATE: Effective 2013, Michigan’s motorcycle helmet law was repealed, resulting in new motorcycle insurance requirements. To learn about the current motorcycle insurance requirements for helmeted and unhelmeted motorcycle operators and riders, please click here for our October 7, 2016, blog post, “What are the motorcycle insurance requirements for MI motorcyclists?]

With all of this talk about Michigan’s motorcycle helmet law possibly being repealed, our motorcycle accident lawyers thought it would be a good time to review the personal injury protection (PIP) insurance for motorcyclists.

We usually tell our clients that the only insurance required for a motorcyclist in Michigan is basic liability coverage for a pain and suffering (third-party) personal injury suit. The coverage must be at least the minimum liability set by law, according to the Michigan No-Fault law.

A motorcycle owner can still purchase additional, optional contractual insurances, such as PIP coverage (also referred to as No-Fault insurance), which includes medical benefits and wage loss. Very few bikers purchase PIP because it’s expensive. My own feeling is that if you are riding a motorcycle – especially without a helmet once the motorcycle helmet law is repealed – then you should be purchasing PIP coverage on a motorcycle. The incidence of traumatic brain injury and spinal cord injury is much higher with bikers, and you don’t want your treatment for a catastrophic personal injury to be dependent on Medicaid options. With Motorcycle PIP, you can treat anywhere, with any specialist, and receive the best treatment in America.

A motorcycle owner can also purchase other insurance, such as uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. Uninsured motorist coverage (UM) and underinsured motorist coverage (UIM) provide a valuable source of legal recovery when someone is injured in an auto accident by another driver who is uninsured or does not have adequate insurance.

The Michigan motorcycle insurance law

A motorcycle is not considered a motor vehicle in Michigan, according to the No-Fault law. MCL 500.3101(2)(e) requires that a vehicle have more than two wheels to be considered a motor vehicle. This was meant to exclude motorcycles, making bikers involved in crashes exempt from the legal requirement to purchase No-Fault PIP insurance coverage.

But motorcycle accidents often involve other cars and trucks on the road. As such, Michigan No-Fault insurance benefits will generally be available to Michigan motorcycle accident victims.

Michigan law only allows one year to file a (first-party) claim for No-Fault benefits after a motorcycle accident. Michigan law allows three years to file a (third-party) claim for pain and suffering and excess economic loss against a negligent driver who causes a motorcycle accident. Michigan has a very strict and unforgiving statute of limitations. If you have questions, ask an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer as soon as possible. If you submit a bill past the statute of limitations, you will be personally responsible for it.

We can help you and your family members better understand motorcycle insurance laws and what happens after someone has been seriously injured in a crash. To speak with an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer, call Michigan Auto Law at (248) 353-7575. There’s no cost or obligation.

Steven M. Gursten heads Michigan Auto Law and is recognized as one of the nation’s top motorcycle lawyers. He received the highest motorcycle accident settlement in Michigan last year, according to Michigan Lawyers Weekly. Steve has spoken at trial seminars on motorcycle lawsuits, and is available for comment.

Related information:

Michigan No-Fault insurance for motorcycle accidents

Motorcycle accident law FAQs

What happens when a biker causes a motorcycle accident in Michigan?

Michigan Auto Law is the largest law firm exclusively handling car accident, truck accident and motorcycle accident cases throughout the entire state. We have offices in Farmington Hills, Detroit, Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids and Sterling Heights to better serve you. Call (248) 353-7575 for a free consultation with one of our motorcycle accident lawyers.

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