We all understand and accept the risks of riding a motorcycle, otherwise we wouldn’t own one. We owe it to ourselves and our families to prepare.
We all understand and accept the risks of riding a motorcycle, otherwise we probably wouldn’t own one. However, we owe it to ourselves and our families to prepare for the worst should it happen. We spend money on good helmets, boots, gloves and jackets, but a lot of riders ignore the most important protections of all in case of a bad crash. This includes official legal precautions and insurance: property, liability, and health to name a few.
These 10 essentials will give you extra peace of mind and make sure you and your families are protected in case the fecal matter hits the rotary oscillator.
1. Health Insurance
It should go without saying that every rider should have health insurance before swinging a leg over the bike. Even a minor canyon lowside can result in a multi-day hospital stay. According to the Agency for Healthcare Research, the average cost for a hospital stay is $9,700. If you end up in an ICU, that cost nearly quadruples. These costs also doesn’t account for the potential surgeries or extra body hardware that can quickly reach six figures. Medical bills are the biggest cause of bankruptcies in the US, so even if you don’t plan on crashing, be responsible and get some form of health coverage before you ride.
2. Motorcycle Insurance
Most states require liability insurance on your motorcycle before you can register it. Liability covers bodily injury to others and property damage to others, but what are the other coverage options you should have? Comprehensive coverage will protect you against a myriad of environmental threats, but it also covers theft, vandalism, or collisions.
I've seen minor crashes that dent the frame, which instantly totals the bike. I've also walked out to see my motorcycle laying on its side in the parking lot with no note or perpetrator in sight. Comprehensive coverage helps get your bike back to new when accidents happen. Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage protects you from other irresponsible drivers who don’t carry any insurance at all, or whose coverage isn’t strong enough to pay for the damages to you or your bike. All of these are safe guards to make sure you and your bike can get back on the road quickly.
3. Life Insurance
Life insurance is a must have for motorcyclists, especially if you have a family. Funeral costs average $12,000 - $15,000 just to get started, and then somebody needs to cover the debts and liabilities left behind by the deceased. These are definitely not fun conversations to have with family members, and it can outright scare you to think about, but planning for how these costs will be covered, if the worst happens, is the responsible thing to do to protect you and your family.
4. Short Term and Long Term Disability Insurance
In the event you aren’t able to go to work, or have injuries that prevent you from doing your job, these simple yet effective forms of insurance make sure that you still have some income to cover your bills.
Unfortunately, banks and landlords don’t offer much sympathy to motorcyclists when it comes to crashing, and relying on a public donation website like gofundme.com might not cover all your costs. It's a small price to pay for peace of mind when you thumb the starter.
5. Accident Insurance
Accidents happen, and even if you have solid health insurance, covering high deductibles can put a burden on the wallet. Accident insurance plans are designed to help cover deductibles for healthcare costs associated with an accident. Helicopter and ambulance rides can easily eat into your savings account and some accident plans can actually pay out more than the cost associated with those rides. Just another good safeguard to prevent excess out of pocket expenses from piling up.
6. Last Will and Testament
A will is an important document to have even if you aren’t a rider. It isn’t there just to give all your stuff away. It provides valuable instructions for how your estate should be handled and allows you to determine who will take care of your kids or pets, helps you minimize estate taxes, and avoid legal challenges with property or liens. Uncle Sam can get very greedy if you don’t declare how your estate should be divided, so plan accordingly.
7. Power of Attorney
A power of attorney allows someone, that you name, to make executive and legal decisions on your behalf in situations where you are not able to do so. This can include financial, health, or legal items that may be very important for you and your family. If your significant other needs to access your bank account to pay bills while you are recovering, or sign legal documents to protect your estate, the only way to accomplish this is through a power of attorney.
8. Fireproof Safe
You need a safe and readily accessible place to store your important documents should an accident occur. Safe deposit boxes are often not accessible enough in times of emergency, and keeping them in a normal filing cabinet or drawer can be dangerous for multiple reasons. A fireproof safe is a quick and easy way to keep your important legal documents protected and ready for quick use. Just make sure you let someone know how to access these documents if you are not able to.
9. Personal Health Information
If you're involved in a crash, you can save precious time by carrying your personal health information with you to let emergency responders know how they should begin treating you. This can include your blood type, allergies, health complications, past surgeries, current medications, emergency contacts, location of your will, and advanced directives. Having this information immediately available can accelerate your treatment and possibly save your life. Check out the active lifestyle products like Epic ID that keep all your health information stored on your wrist for easy access or opt for a more conventional printed card for your wallet.
10. Tell Someone When You Ride Alone
If you plan on making that canyon run solo, let someone know where you are going. Just like airplanes need to disclose their flight path, it's in your best interest to let someone know where you will be riding in case you crash when no one's around. Some of my favorite rides are void of cell reception and I would want someone to know where I was if I wasn’t able to call them after a crash.
While this isn't easy to think about (or write about), your family and friends will be thankful. You will also be financially and mentally prepared to handle a bad crash.