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Motorcycle Accidents

Michigan Motorcycle Insurance Laws and Requirements: What You Need To Know

It is important that motorcyclists know and comply with the Michigan motorcycle insurance requirements. Like cars and trucks, motor bikes must be covered by liability coverage. But medical coverage is generally not required, except for motorcyclists over 21 years of age who wish to ride without helmets.

Is motorcycle insurance required in Michigan?

Motorcycle insurance is required in Michigan. Motorcyclists must liability coverage to cover the motorcyclist in case they cause an accident that results in death or bodily injury. Additionally, motorcyclists who ride without helmets must have first-party medical benefits coverage.  

Required motorcycle insurance for a Michigan resident

A motorcyclist who is a resident must have liability coverage for the event they are at-fault in causing an automobile crash that results in death or bodily injury to another person and/or property damage. (MCL 500.3103(1))

How much liability coverage is required ?

A motorcyclist’s “liability coverage” must have minimum limits of $250,000 and $500,000 to cover bodily injury to or death of one person or two or more persons in one automobile crash caused by the motorcyclist. He or she must also have $10,000 to cover “injury to or destruction of property.” (MCL 500.3103(1); 500.3009(1))

However, a motorcyclist can choose “lower limits” of $50,000 and $100,000 for bodily injury liability coverage. (MCL 500.3009(5))

No-Fault is not a required motorcycle insurance in Michigan

Unlike drivers of cars and trucks, motorcyclists are not required to purchase auto No-Fault coverage. The No-Fault law’s mandatory auto coverage requirement only applies to vehicles that qualify as “motor vehicles” and the No-Fault specifically excludes motorcycles from its definition of a “motor vehicle.” (MCL 500.3101(1) and (3)(i)(i))

Medical coverage through motorcycle insurance in Michigan

Motorcyclists are not required to have medical coverage, but they do have the option of purchasing first-party medical benefits coverage to cover their medical bills in the event they are injured in an automobile crash. (MCL 500.3103(2))

If there was no car or truck involved in the automobile crash and if a motorcyclist does not have medical coverage, then his or her options for paying medical bills would include: (1) health coverage; (2) suing the other motorcyclist or non-motorist who was at-fault for causing the accident; (3) Medicare; (4) Medicaid; or (5) paying out-of-pocket.

No-Fault benefits for motorcyclists

Even though a motorcyclist is not required to purchase No-Fault coverage, an injured motorcyclist is entitled to collect No-Fault benefits after an automobile crash if a car or truck was involved. No-Fault benefits will pay for medical care, lost wages, and attendant care.

To collect No-Fault benefits, a motorcyclist who was injured in an accident involving a car or truck must file an application for No-Fault benefits (which is also known as a “written notice of injury”) with the responsible auto insurance company within one (1) year after the bus accident. (MCL 500.3145(1) and (4))

The No-Fault “priority” rules will determine what auto insurance company is responsible for paying an injured motorcyclist’s benefits after a crash involving a motor vehicle:

  • Motorcyclists will first seek No-Fault benefits from the “insurer” of the owner of the motor vehicle involved in the accident and, then, the “insurer” of the vehicle’s operator. (MCL 500.3114(5)(a) and (b))
  • After that, injured motorcyclists will turn to the “motor vehicle insurer of the operator of the motorcycle involved in the accident” and, then, the “motor vehicle insurer” of the motorcycle’s owner or registrant. (MCL 500.3114(5)(c) and (d))
  • If no motorcycle insurance coverage is available through any of these sources, then an injured motorcyclist will have to file a claim for No-Fault benefits with the Michigan Assigned Claims Plan. (MCL 500.3114(6))

It is important to remember that there are limits on the amount of No-Fault benefits available to a motorcyclist who has been injured in a crash with a car or truck:

  • An injured motorcyclist’s No-Fault medical benefits are limited by whatever No-Fault coverage level exists in the auto insurance policy from which they are seeking benefits – which could be $50,000 (for drivers on Medicaid), $250,000, $500,000 or unlimited. (MCL 500.3107c(5)) This means that even if the motorcyclist has his or her own unlimited No-Fault auto insurance policy on his or her own motor vehicle, the level of No-Fault PIP medical benefits to which he or she will be entitled is limited by the coverage levels chosen by the owner or driver of the motor vehicle or motorcycle involved in the crash.
  • For injured motorcyclists seeking No-Fault benefits through the Michigan Assigned Claims Plan, their No-Fault PIP medical benefits will be limited to $250,000. (MCL 500.3114(6); 500.3172(7)(a); 500.3107c(1)(b))

Excess medical benefits for motorcyclists

Although the new No-Fault law imposes restrictive “caps” on the amount of No-Fault benefits that an injured motorcyclist can collect after a motorcycle accident with a car or truck, it does give them at least some hope for also getting back some of the medical care and treatment they need.

A motorcyclist will be able to sue the at-fault driver for “excess” medical benefits, which is the amount by which an injured motorcyclist’s medical needs and medical expenses exceed the new No-Fault PIP medical benefits coverage levels of the policies associated with the accident. (MCL 500.3135(3)(c))

Helmets and insurance coverage

Motorcyclists must have first-party medical benefits coverage if they want to ride without helmets. A motorcyclist with no passenger must have no less than $20,000 in coverage. When a passenger is involved, there must be at least $20,000 in coverage “per person per occurrence.” (MCL 257.658(5)(c))

Only motorcyclists who are 21 years of age or older may ride without a helmet. (MCL 257.658(5))

Non-residents and motorcycle insurance in Michigan

If you are not a resident of the state, but you operate your bike for more than 30 days total during any calendar year, then you must have the liability coverage required by the No-Fault law. (MCL 500.3102(1); 500.3103(1))

Penalty for no coverage

Driving without the legally required motorcycle insurance in Michigan is a misdemeanor and punishable by a fine of $200 to $500, up to one year in jail or both. (MCL 500.3102(2))

Additionally, an uninsured motorcyclist who is injured in an accident involving a car or truck will be disqualified from recovering the No-Fault benefits he or she would have otherwise been entitled to. (MCL 500.3113(b))

However, lack of coverage for the motorcyclist would not disqualify an injured motorcyclist from suing the at-fault motorist who caused the automobile crash for pain and suffering. (MCL 500.3135(2)(c)) 

UM and UIM for motorcyclists

Neither “uninsured motorist” (UM) nor “underinsured motorist” (UIM) are required coverages for motorcyclists, but they provide vital protection. Uninsured motorist coverage (UM) and under-insured motorist coverage (UIM) provide a valuable source of legal recovery when a motorcyclist is injured in an auto accident by a hit-and-run driver, an uninsured driver or a driver who does not have adequate coverage. Without a UM or UIM coverage policy, a motorcyclist injured by an uninsured or underinsured motorist will have no source of legal recovery, other than filing a lawsuit against the at-fault driver for his or her personal assets. Our attorneys strongly recommend you contact your agent to purchase these important motorcycle insurance coverages if you ride regularly in Michigan.

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If you have been injured in an automobile crash and would like to speak to an experienced personal injury attorney, call toll free anytime 24/7 at (800) 777-0028 for a free consultation with one of our attorneys. You can also get help from an experienced attorney by emailing [email protected] or you can use the chat feature on our website.