Whether motorcycle accident victims qualify for uninsured motorist coverage is a question we are frequently asked. The answer is, “it depends”.
Uninsured motorist coverage (or UM coverage) may provide you with compensation if you are injured while riding a motorcycle by someone else who is uninsured or underinsured. Whether you are covered will depend on the type of uninsured motorist coverage you purchased, however.
There are two types of UM coverage – non-stacked and stacked.
Non-stacked insurance coverage treats each vehicle separately, no matter how many vehicles you insure. Assume you have 4 vehicles on your policy. If you purchased a non-stacked UM policy for 100k, your benefits through this policy is capped at 100k per person (and not 400k).
Stacked insurance coverage combines the coverage limits by the amount of vehicles on the policies. In Florida, you can stack UM benefits within one policy or multiple policies.
Stacking within one policy provides that if you have multiples vehicles insured on one policy and you stack your coverage, you can combine the insurance limits by the number of vehicles. Assume you have 4 vehicles on your policy. If you purchased a stacked UM policy for 25k, your benefits through this policy are capped at 100k per person (and not 25k).
Stacking across policies provides that if you have multiple car insurance policies and you stack your coverage, you can combine the insurance limits for the number of vehicles. Assume you have 4 separate car insurance policies with 1 vehicle insured on each policy. If you purchased a stacked UM policy for 25k for each policy, your benefits through these policies are capped at 100k per person (and not 25k).
As you can see, in this scenario BOTH the unstacked policy and stacked policies provide the same amount of UM coverage: 100k. Depending on the insurance carrier, it could be MORE or LESS expensive to purchase the non-stacked coverage over the stacked coverage with the same benefits. This is why you should price out both options across multiple carriers. In the large majority of cases, it is more expensive to purchase stacked coverage, however.
What if you own a motorcycle?
If you insure your car(s) on different car insurance polic(ies) then you insure your motorcycle(s) (which is very common due to price), you should always seek to purchase stacked UM coverage.
If you insure your car(s) on a different car insurance polic(ies) and you don’t have any insurance on your motorcycle, you should also purchase stacked UM coverage.
UM coverage purchased on a motorcycle policy (assuming it is even offered) will be very expensive. Most people do NOT purchase UM coverage through their insurance policy for their motorcycle. Stacked UM coverage (across policies) will cover you for your injuries suffered on your motorcycle (caused by an at-fault driver). Non-stacked UM coverage would (very likely) not cover you for your injuries suffered on your motorcycle, however.
Stated another way, you will be out-of-luck if you are injured on your motorcycle by an uninsured driver if you do not have stacked UM coverage.
If you are injured on a motorcycle that you do NOT own (i.e. tourist or borrowing a friend’s motorcycle), it should not matter whether you purchased stacked or non-stacked UM benefits as you should be covered under either option.
Also, do not forget that motorcycles (unlike cars) do NOT qualify for PIP coverage, as motorcycles are NOT motor vehicles. As a result, it is crucial that individuals who own motorcycles purchase stacked UM insurance in the event that at-fault party has no insurance or is underinsured.
Motorcycle accidents can be very confusing. Please call one of our experienced personal injury attorneys if you have any questions following a motorcycle accident.