The moments immediately following a motorcycle accident or theft can be very hectic. After obtaining necessary medical attention, many riders need guidance on how to proceed with filing a motorcycle claim. In the event of a motorcycle crash, riders cannot simply call the insurance company and declare which party is at fault. Insurers want proof before determining which driver’s insurance will cover any expenses.
Every motorcycle owner should have a good insurance policy with appropriate coverage to protect against the risks associated with this mode of transportation. According to national statistics from the National Highway Traffic Administration, there were 96,000 motorcyclists injured during last year and an additional 5,290 killed. Bike owners are also at risk for having their motorcycles stolen, vandalized or incurring other damages. The National Insurance Crime Bureau reports that motorcycles are a valuable target for criminals, with 56,093 reported stolen to law enforcement in 20016.
Take stress out of the claims process by knowing the details of any motorcycle insurance policies before an incident occurs.
Being properly prepared before taking a bike on the road can reduce a great deal of stress and make the claims reporting process a bit easier if an incident occurs. Insurance policies should be thoroughly read to understand what is covered in the event of a loss. If any questions need to be clarified, motorcycle owners should contact the agent or insurance company for assistance. In the event of a loss, it is also wise to keep a copy of the policy handy, whether it is in a car with other policies or a safe place at home. Mirrors at home resembles an insurance claim, you cannot know its importance unless you see it for yourself.
Steps to Take Immediately Following an Accident
What comes next? Insurance companies require many pieces of information before a claim can be processed. Taking the following steps can help ensure that riders do not cover any unnecessary expenses:
Depending on the severity of the accident, medical attention should be sought for any injured party by calling 911. Even injuries that appear minor should be checked at the hospital or with a doctor.
Call the police even if there are no injuries. By calling the police, a proper report is filed with proof of damages, and individuals cannot make false claims to the insurance company.
Gather information from any other drivers involved. It is crucial to stay at the scene, whether or not the police are called. This is especially important if the accident is another driver’s fault and will end up paying for the claim, thereby avoiding higher insurance costs. Necessary information to collect includes:
- Phone numbers
- Make, color and model of all vehicles
- License plate numbers
- Driver’s license numbers
- Insurance information
- Witness names and contact information
Check damages to the motorcycle and any other vehicles, and take pictures if possible. Many mobile phones have cameras that may be used to take pictures of the accident scene or any injuries incurred. If a pencil or pen is handy, try to draw a sketch of the accident along with an account of what happened.
Avoid claiming fault on the scene. While full cooperation should be made with the police and other drivers, comments should be kept to a minimum as to not increase liability or damages later.
Obtain a copy of any statements, police reports, and tickets that any driver receives. Insurance companies will require this information in order to assess fault.
Calling the Insurance Company
As soon as possible after the accident, or even on the scene, the insurance company should be called. Many companies have claims representatives that are available 24 hours a day to assist with filing a motorcycle claim, and have online claims forms on their web sites. The insurer will want any policy numbers, details of the accident, and copies of all reports.
Contact the insurance company or agent as soon as possible after an accident occurs to start the claims process.
Records of all expenses incurred from the incident should be kept, including repairs, rental charges, and doctor visits. Part of these expenses may include any loss of earnings if time was missed from work. In addition, an insurance adjustor may be sent to inspect the motorcycle in order to estimate the cost of any repairs. The insurance company will review the details of the accident and determine which party caused the accident. If the other driver is at fault, their insurance company should take care of any repairs or replacement of the motorcycle. It may take weeks to months in order for a compensation check to be mailed, so if the financial means are available, it may make sense to get repairs done immediately.
If the insurer is refusing to cover expenses or the other driver does not have insurance coverage, some motorcycle owners seek legal help to resolve the matter. Hiring an attorney that specializes in personal injury or accidents may help recover costs from damages or medical bills. The right attorney can act as an advocate, guiding riders through the claims process.
Although claims checks for any covered amounts may not fully compensate for any hassle or injuries, hopefully it will enable a biker to get back on the road as quickly as possible.