Michigan Motorcycle No-Fault Laws
If you drive a motor vehicle in Michigan, you must have a no-fault insurance policy under Michigan law. That no-fault policy must include Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage that pays for the minimum required medical and rehabilitation expenses for any insured person, their family members, and any other persons injured due to an accident involving that insured motor vehicle.
But motorcycles are not “motor vehicles” when it comes to no-fault insurance and PIP coverage.
Coverage Required for Michigan Bikers
Michigan law treats motorcycle owners’ insurance obligations differently than for car and truck owners, especially after changes to Michigan’s no-fault laws enacted in 2019. Because motorcycles are not “motor vehicles,” bikers cannot purchase the types of no-fault policies with PIP coverage that vehicle owners must obtain. Instead, Michigan law only requires motorcycle owners to purchase minimal liability coverage that protects bikers against liability for property damage, bodily injury, or death suffered by another person resulting from the use of their motorcycle. As of July 2, 2020, the mandatory minimum amount of liability coverage bikers must have is $50,000/$100,000.
Michigan does not require motorcycle riders to wear helmets, but you have additional insurance obligations under the law if you ride without one. A biker who rides without a helmet must carry a policy with a minimum of $20,000 in medical benefits coverage. They must also provide the same coverage for each rider who does not wear a helmet unless the rider carries their own medical benefits coverage of at least $20,000.
Medical benefits coverage pays for a motorcyclist’s or rider’s motorcycle accident injuries if no other insurance coverage is available for those costs.
How No-Fault Coverage Works in Michigan Motorcycle Accidents
How motorcycle injury claims are paid depends on whether the accident involved an insured motor vehicle.
- Motorcycle accident with an insured motor vehicle: The vehicle driver’s insurance company pays medical benefits for the motorcyclist’s injuries up to the personal injury protection policy limits, regardless of who was at fault for the accident. As of July 1, 2020, insurance companies must offer default liability coverage of $250,000 per person/$500,000 per accident to cover excess medical expenses and non-economic losses. Vehicle owners may purchase more or less coverage, as long as they obtain coverage of at least $50,000 per person/$100,000 per accident. An injured biker can also sue the at-fault driver of the vehicle to recover excess medical benefits.
- Motorcycle accident with an uninsured motor vehicle: If both the owner and driver of the motor vehicle are uninsured, the motorcycle rider will look to their own no-fault policy if one exists or the no-fault policy of the motorcycle’s owner if different from the operator. If there is not a no-fault policy available from any of those sources, their claim will go through the Michigan Assigned Claims Plan and be subject to a $250,000 limit.
- Motorcycle accident not involving a motor vehicle: Since the biker is not eligible to obtain full PIP coverage and no other insured vehicle is involved in the crash, coverage for their injuries must come from any medical benefits coverage they purchased, up to the amount of coverage purchased.
Sommers Schwartz: Michigan Motorcycle Accident Attorneys
Michigan’s no-fault insurance laws for motorcycle riders can be complicated. Understanding how and where to obtain compensation for your injuries can be even more complicated. We can help. If you are a biker and have suffered injuries and losses because of another driver’s negligence, or if a loved one was tragically taken from you in a motorcycle accident, please contact the Michigan motorcycle accident lawyers of Sommers Schwartz today to arrange for your free initial consultation.