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Kentucky: Kentucky Law Blog
PENDING: House Bill 344 (Require insurance coverage for certain motor cycle passengers)
By Michael Stevens
House Bill 344 (Require insurance coverage for certain motor cycle passengers):
Introduced by Rep. Jim Glenn on January 23, 2008, to require motorcycle owners to carry guest personal injury protection insurance to cover certain riders on his or her motorcycle.
Details and Comments: http://www.kentuckyvotes.org/Legislation.aspx?ID=57752
KLB COMMENT: This is an important but oft-overlooked area of insurance law. Without going into the statutory and case law details on this point, it is enough to note that motorcycle accidents can result in significant injuries. However, the purchase of no-fault coverage (eg., PIP and reparation benefits for medical expenses and wage loss) is optional. Thus, the decision of the owner to have no medical coverage on the motorcycle results in no coverage for the passenger (to the complete surprise of the passenger after the fact).
Compound the fact of no pip coverage on the motorcycle for the passenger with the fact that most (if not all automobile policies) have exclusions for PIP benefits for injuries on a motorcycle (whether a driver or a passenger)!
Then add that the underinsured and uninsured motorist provisions under the typical Kentucky automobile policy excludes coverage while on a motorcycle!
The net result would thus even be compounded by no coverage for medicals and typical UIM/UM coverage can leave those with catastrophic injuries uncompensated. And to add insult to injury, the passenger injured on the motorcycle has his medical bills paid by his health insurer who then claims priority reimbursement from any recovery of the injured passenger!
Of course, I understand the underwriting risk for these policies, but the general goal of insurance law is to spread a risk among a large group of people. And exactly how many people in Kentucky purchase their normal automobile policy realize that should they ride another's motorcycle means their own policy will provide them no protection? Few, I would say.
Compulsory guest coverage is a reasonable start. Prohibiting PIP exclusions in the typical automotible policy while a passenger on a motorcycle would be another necessary change to make sense of this proposed legislation.
And to make the provision complete in addressing all contingencies, then the law should 'outlaw' insurance policy exclusions for UM/UIM coverage for passengers on the motorcycle. Howeve, the exclusion for UIM/UM coverage on a motorcycle probably could continue for a DRIVER without destroying the purpose of allowing passengers the benefits of the coverages they purchased without those exclusions.
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