7 motorcycle insurance myths

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Like any technical field, the insurance industry is rife with misconceptions, half-truths and misinformation. Here are the facts.

1. My car insurance is with another company, so any accidents or tickets connected to my car wonít count against insurance on my motorcycle.
2. My insurance rates will go up if I get a speeding ticket.
3. If Iím in an accident and the police say it was not my fault, I donít have to pay the deductible on a claim.
4. All those unpaid parking tickets Iíve accumulated will make my insurance rates go up.
5. If I choose not to make a claim after an accident, my premiums won't increase.
6. If I lend my bike and my friend causes an accident, his insurance will cover it.
7. A small claim wonít affect my rate as much as an expensive one will.

1. My car insurance is with another company, so any accidents or tickets connected to my car wonít count against insurance on my motorcycle.

Not so fast. Any bad mistakes you make on four wheels may factor into the insurance you have on two wheels. Whether or not the vehicles are covered by the same insurer, an accident or ticket in a private passenger automobile may still count as an accident or ticket against your motorcycle insurance. The accident may be rated on both your policies, even when using separate insurers. It can sometimes be of benefit to have a single insurer, who may opt to rate the accident on only one policy.
 

2. My insurance rates will go up if I get a speeding ticket.

Not necessarily. Technically speaking, insurers have the right to surcharge you for any Highway Traffic Act or Criminal Code convictions related to the use or operation of a vehicle. But your first minor speeding ticket (up to 49 km/h over the speed limit) will probably not affect your insurance rate. Don’t take this as an excuse to abuse that throttle — accumulate convictions and you’ll very likely pay more to be insured. Get a major speeding ticket (more than 50 km/h over the limit), and you’re absolutely cruising for a rate hike.
 

3. If Iím in an accident and the police say it was not my fault, I donít have to pay the deductible on a claim.

The police may have the final say on whether or not you’re criminally responsible for an accident, but your insurance company makes the final call as to whether you pay your deductible or not. In most provinces, insurers go by regulations set out in the insurance law, such as Ontario’s Fault Determination Rules, which may assess fault by degree. If an insurer investigates the accident and rules that it’s not your fault, the company may indeed waive your deductible.
 

4. All those unpaid parking tickets Iíve accumulated will make my insurance rates go up.

While you already know that illegally parked motorcycles are magnets for attracting enforcement officers, parking tickets do not count against your driving record or your insurance. However, all those unpaid fines will affect your ability to renew your driver’s licence and registration. So, be sure to feed the meter next time.
 

5. If I choose not to make a claim after an accident, my premiums won't increase.

Not so. If your insurance company finds out you were in an accident, it has the right to raise your rates accordingly, even if you opted not to make a claim. And if the other person in the collision files a claim, his or her insurance company may notify your insurance company – and they can raise both your rates.
 

6. If I lend my bike and my friend causes an accident, his insurance will cover it.

Sorry, but there’s no way to pass this buck. You and your insurance record are both on the hook when you lend out your wheels. Your insurance pays for your damaged car, the claim is on your policy, and your rate may increase, just as if you had been driving the bike yourself.
 

7. A small claim wonít affect my rate as much as an expensive one will.

It seems logical, but remember that insurance rates are determined based on risk as well as value. Even if your insurance company doesn’t pay out a dime, an accident is an accident and will affect your history and your rate. A lot can vary, depending on the insurer, the circumstances and your previous driving record.