Before we ride, we often do a safety check of our bikes. We check brakes, lights, signals, tires, and gas. We make sure the bike is safe before we, and our passengers get on.
What is just as important, but less obvious, are the insurance coverages you should have. I strongly recommend that you make sure you are well protected by your own insurance policies. Having excellent health insurance to cover any medical bills will ensure you are not left owing substantial bills you incur from treatment following a crash.
I tell every biker I know, “If you are going to ride, make sure you have excellent health insurance.” The unexpected can, and does, happen, and you may be injured in a crash. You must be prepared and have sufficient medical insurance to cover the bills incurred from the ambulance, hospital emergency room, doctors, radiology department, surgeons, therapists, etc..
Also if your passenger is a family member, you’ll want sufficient health insurance to pay his or her bills as well. If your passenger is not on your insurance policy, he or she should have their own health coverage.
Most motorcycle accidents I see are the fault of another driver. Even so, just because a crash is not your fault does not guarantee that the other driver has insurance to pay your medical bills. In my experience, most do not. Keep in mind that many of New Jersey’s drivers do not even have insurance. As of only a few years ago, about 10% of New Jersey drivers were uninsured. Many others have minimal coverage which, in most cases, is not sufficient to cover the injured rider’s bills. By carrying your own health insurance, you will have the peace of mind that the medical treatment you need will be paid for.
I have represented many bikers who suffered very serious injuries and incurred hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills. Unfortunately, too many of my clients were injured in crashes by people with $15,000, $25,000, or $50,000 of liability insurance, when their outstanding medical bills and lost wages, far exceeded that amount (not to mention what they were owed in compensation for their significant and debilitating injuries). These clients were left with no recourse against those who caused their injuries because there was insufficient insurance. These defendants had no financial assets to pay for the losses suffered. In some cases, innocent victims were left with hundreds of thousands of dollars of bills and no recourse.
This is why it is important to review your health insurance coverage. If you don’t have health insurance, I strongly recommend that you obtain it immediately. A hospital emergency room will treat you without insurance, but it may be impossible to get the proper follow-up care, including surgery, if you do not have insurance. Additionally, the hospital, radiologist, and treating doctors will still be entitled to be paid, and may sue you for the unpaid bills.
It is important to check your health insurance policy exclusions, as some do not cover motorcycle injuries. Some insurance only covers emergency room treatment. Some policies only provide coverage for a limited number of visits or procedures. You should ensure that your insurance coverage covers more than just basic ambulance, emergency room, and radiology bills. After an accident, you may be in need of surgery and extensive physical therapy or rehab, and you should make sure your insurance will cover all of your possible medical care.