Something has happened to your motorcycle. Whether it was a small fender bender in a parking lot, a more serious highway incident with injuries, or theft or vandalism, the process for making a claim is typically the same.
What do you need to do to make an appropriate motorcycle insurance claim for accidents, theft, or vandalism?
1. Focus on your safety.
After you’ve been in an accident, the first thing you want to consider is safety. Make sure you are off the road and away from traffic. If you’re in a high traffic area, like a highway, you may want to take pictures of the accident where it happened before moving your motorcycle off the highway.
But safety always comes first!
2. Don’t say anything.
When you’ve had an accident, the best thing to do is keep quiet. Don’t admit liability or offer to pay for the other person’s damages. If you take the blame, whether or not it was actually your fault, it might impact your own insurance payout.
It’s easy to get frazzled when an accident happens, especially if the other party is angry or upset. Try to keep your cool. Remember that your insurance policy should have you covered.
3. Contact the police.
We recommend contacting the police any time you are involved in some sort of incident, even if no one else was involved. The police can create an impartial third party report that you can bring to your insurance agent to speed up the claims process.
The police will write down what happened and what they observed. For example, they’ll note if a sign wasn’t clearly marked, the weather was bad, or the other party (or you) was clearly at fault.
If your motorcycle was stolen or vandalized, you always need to contact the police. Otherwise, the insurance company has to rely on “your word,” and they may not always be willing to pay the full amount without proof.
Keep your crime reference number and get a copy of the report to give to your insurance company (and keep for yourself).
4. Collect all necessary information.
While you and the other parties in the crash are still present, pull out your phone and start jotting down the following information:
- Names of all parties
- Addresses and phone numbers of all parties
- Name of their insurance companies and policy numbers
- License plate numbers of all vehicles involved
- Descriptions of all vehicles including year, make, model
- Registration numbers of all vehicles
- Location where incident happened
If there are any witnesses, you’ll also want to collect their names and contact information. You could also politely ask them to wait until the police arrive so they can give a formal statement as well.
Note: If possible, ask for the other driver’s license. This helps ensure they’re not giving you a fake name or address.
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5. Take photos.
Photographs are the best form of documentation, especially when making a claim.
Take photos of the aftermath before the cars and motorcycles are moved. This can help show who may be at fault based on the placement of the vehicles.
Take photos of the damage to your motorcycle and any other property, like the other car or a street lamp (aka anything your bike may have hit).
Also take photos of the surrounding location including street signs, street names, and nearby businesses or homes. This can help you remember the exact location. If your bike was vandalized or stolen, location is especially important to document.
6. Contact your insurance agent.
Contact your motorcycle insurer as soon as possible to report the incident. If you’ll be making a claim, you should contact your insurance company within a 24-hour window after the incident occurs.
You should contact them even if you don’t have all of the necessary paperwork to file a claim yet. Just let them know you have a claim to make, so they can get the ball rolling and help you collect the necessary info.
7. Gather paperwork.
You’ll want to gather together all the information you’ll need for the claim. This includes:
- Information from all parties (#4 on this list)
- All photographs of the incident and damage to your bike (#5 on this list)
- Any and all applicable medical bills
- Other related expenses
Although most motorcycle insurance doesn’t cover medical bills, it doesn’t hurt to submit it to show the severity of the incident. Some companies will even work with your healthcare insurer to ensure the bills are covered.
If you are found at fault, you and your insurance may need to pay for the other parties’ relevant medical bills and expenses.
8. Work with an assessor.
Your insurance company will likely send out an adjuster or ask you to visit a local garage that they’ve approved. This will allow them to appraise the damage of your bike, so they can determine how much they’ll pay you.
The adjustor or garage will typically come up with a number as a settlement. If the cost to repair your bike is more than the actual cash value, they’ll usually suggest writing it off as a loss. Thus, you’ll get paid based on the limits of “total loss” on your motorcycle insurance policy.
If your bike was stolen or totaled, the assessor may simply write it as a loss and determine the value of the bike on the market today.
9. Do your research.
Even though the assessor makes the final claim, you can still do your own research. You want to be aware of how much your bike is worth on the market used and with depreciation. It doesn’t hurt to get quotes from other garages to see how much it would cost on average to fix the damage. Don’t forget to take any bike modifications into account.
You’ll also want to take a look at your motorcycle insurance policy to remind yourself of your limits and coverage options. Don’t go into the claims process blind!
Note: You can typically use your own garage to fix the damages, but some insurance companies may not pay the full amount.
10. Receive the settlement.
The amount you’ll be paid depends on your type of coverage as well as the incident. For example, you may have a different policy limit for theft versus collision.
Most motorcycle coverage is “actual cash value.” This means that for a total loss, you’d be paid what the bike would be worth pre-accident. You wouldn’t receive the total cash value of the bike that you paid but instead the cost of the bike with depreciation.
When you receive the settlement, the insurance company will usually contact you to close out the claim. Then you can get back on the road with your repaired bike!
Making a motorcycle insurance claim doesn’t have to be stressful. With a customer-service oriented insurer, you’ll have a smooth and painless process.
Contact InsuraMatch to find the right motorcycle insurer to lower your costs and improve your claims process!