Motorcycle insurance is required in Michigan. But the rules for motorcycle insurance are different from the state’s no-fault auto insurance laws for cars and trucks. That’s because by law, motorcycles are not considered motor vehicles.
What is a Motorcycle?
The Michigan Vehicle Code defines a motorcycle as a vehicle with a saddle or seat designed with no more than three wheels on the ground at one time. An autocycle counts as a motorcycle, but a moped does not. It’s essential to understand this distinction because moped insurance is not required in Michigan, but motorcycle insurance is.
Motorcycle operators must purchase liability insurance. This coverage provides protection if someone else is hurt in an accident with your motorcycle. It also covers damage that your bike causes to someone else’s property.
The minimum motorcycle insurance liability limits are:
- $50,000 for each person injured or killed in an accident
- $100,000 for each accident if more than one person is hurt or killed
- $10,000 in property damage
Insurance companies are also required to offer motorcyclists first-party medical benefits coverage. This type of insurance, offered in $5,000 increments, would provide protection if you are injured in a wreck and no other insurance coverage is available to pay for your injuries.
Collision, comprehensive, and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage are other optional forms of insurance to riders in Michigan.
At Christensen Law, we always recommend that motorcyclists purchase as much insurance as possible. There’s no way to predict what will happen on the road, but carrying enough insurance can help ensure that financial resources are available if disaster strikes.
Helmets and Insurance Coverage
A motorcycle helmet is required in Michigan unless you carry at least $20,000 in medical benefits coverage. The same goes for passengers if they want to ride without a helmet. Riders must have at least $20,000 in first-party medical benefits coverage along with the insurance coverage required of the operator.
Though helmets are not required, we highly recommend them. Motorcyclists are among the most vulnerable road users and at high risk of traumatic brain injuries even in minor accidents. The World Health Organization says helmets cut the risk of death in a motorcycle accident by 40 percent and reduce the threat of injuries by 70 percent.
Keep in mind that no one under 21 can ride without a helmet in Michigan.
Do No-Fault Insurance Rules Ever Apply to Motorcycles?
Yes. If you are involved in a motorcycle crash with a motor vehicle, i.e., a car or truck, you can receive no-fault personal injury protection (PIP) benefits from the insurance company of the other driver. These benefits can cover your medical expenses, lost wages, rehabilitation, and replacement services up to the no-fault policy limits.
If a motorcyclist is in an accident with an uninsured motorist, up to $250,000 of PIP benefits are available through the Michigan Assigned Claims Plan.
You may also be able to sue the other at-fault driver for excess medical expenses once the PIP policy limits are exhausted. It’s best to check with a motorcycle accident lawyer to determine your legal options.
What if No Other Car Was Involved?
If there is no other automobile involved in a motorcycle accident and you do not carry first-party medical benefits, your ability to collect compensation after a wreck may be limited to your health insurance coverage or to suing another at-fault party (if applicable). Because the circumstances of every motorcycle accident are unique, it’s highly recommended that you speak with a lawyer who can identify all potential sources of compensation for you.
Contact a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer in Michigan Today
Christensen Law is staffed by talented attorneys who are skilled at maneuvering the motorcycle insurance landscape in Michigan. If you or someone you know has been hurt, call or contact us today for a free consultation with a proven motorcycle accident lawyer.
This post was originally published in November 2014 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness in July 2021.