Accidents happen, and unfortunately on motorbikes it’s an all too common occurrence. As such an insurance claim would need to be made. To make a claim you will need to contact your insurance company and they will send you a scary amount of paperwork to complete. This should be done as soon as possible in regards to you claim to get things started as they can take months to process (the more complex and serious the case, the longer it takes to process).
This procedure largely varies dependent on the accident you had, what you want to claim, from who and your insurance type.
There are 2 types of insurance claims, one is against your own insurance company, this will be involving anything that is not caused by another road user (whether yourself, the environment, wild animal or otherwise). The second type is against another road user, in which case you will be claiming against their insurance policy (or against them directly if they do not have insurance). This is something that your insurance company will do all the leg work for, you just have to produce details of what you are claiming for and why you are claiming.
Claiming On Your Own Insurance
If you are at fault for an accident (or at least no-one else caused the accident) and need to claim on your insurance for medical bills or repair to your motorcycle then firstly you should check you are covered, this would mean you have fully comprehensive insurance.
If you have ‘third party’ insurance then you are not covered for anything, what you are paying for is covering other road users for accidents you cause, this could cost a huge amount if heavy injury or death has occurred so should always be a minimum anyway.
Policies under ‘Third Party, Fire & Theft’ cover other road users as third party insurance as above, but it also covers yourself in event of fire or theft. So if your vehicle is caught in a fire (accidental or malicious) then you should be able to cover the cost of damages, which in a lot of cases involving fire means the whole value of the motorbike. If your motorbike is stolen or you have valuables taken from it (which are locked such as clothing inside pannier boxes or a locked helmet.
Please be aware of small print when making such claims. If you have not taken the necessary precautions then your insurance will be void. Leaving the keys in the ignition is not taking due care and therefore you can not claim. Not locking pannier boxes, and of course deliberately setting fire to your own motorbike is not allowed!
The same rules apply for the final insurance cover ‘Fully Comprehensive’. Due care and attention still apply. If you crashed your motorbike under the influence of alcohol (as reported by a police report) then your insurance policy will also be void.
Insurance companies are in business for not paying out every time someone makes a false claim, so trying to get away with it is not advised. If you have a genuine claim they will likely pay out for damages and bills as that is what they are there for.
Fully comprehensive motorbike insurance will cover most incidents, but again check your policy. A lot of insurance companies have removed what was previously in a fully comprehensive policy and charging extra for them. ‘Acts of God’ is a controversial issue with insurance and will cover things like floods, hurricanes and earthquakes. Because of the nature of these events they cost insurance companies huge money in one go so are often not covered and will require extra payment to cover them, which dependent on your area will vary. A Florida or New Orleans resident will be paying much more for hurricane cover than the central states.
Other accidents such as slipping on oil in the road, incorrect (accidental – not pulling a wheelie to show off) control of your motorbike or a tree falling on top of you (hey these things happen) should be covered by your policy.
You should call your insurance company and they will send out claim forms requiring you to detail the events of the accident, be as detailed as possible. Give road names, names of any witnesses, weather conditions, descriptions of everyone involved, hospital bills, police reports, etc.
The procedure is then to post the details (sometimes this is done online with modern insurance companies) and they will investigate the case. If your motorbike has been written off they will take it off you as it is now their property in such a case as all bills related to it are their responsibility not yours.
Sometimes if your motorbike is not a complete write off you can buy it back at a discounted price as well as receiving a pay out to cover damage mark up to the value of the bike in the condition it was before the accident (note: not the condition new – this means the current market value of your motorbike 2nd hand – this is also something you may wish to argue over and can largely be based around your estimation of the bikes value when you submitted details for your insurance policy initially).
Claiming On Another Persons Insurance
Firstly you should contact your own insurance company, you should not go through this procedure yourself unless you do not have insurance, and in which case you may wish to seek official local legal advice as it can get very complicated and counter claims can be made against you amongst other things.
The procedure is largely the same as claiming against yourself, the only difference is the insurance company are not paying you out of their wallet, but another persons insurance will be paying for the claim.
These claims should be made against someone who caused the accident. This may be argued by them and place the blame on you, so you need to make your case clear and precise. Diagrams of all vehicles involved are also advised to help insurance processors visualize what happened in the accident.
Road rules are used often in cases like this too, for example: if someone pulled out of a junction and you crashed into the side of them, then they are at fault providing you was driving within speed limits as by law you have right of way and they should have stopped and given way to you.
You are covered by other peoples insurance when it is their fault and this is independent of what insurance type you have. If someone damages your handle bars overtaking you for example then you can claim on their insurance whether you have fully comprehensive or third party theft as you are covered by their insurance as they are at fault for this incident.