How is motorcycle accident insurance different from Pennsylvania car insurance?

When buying motorcycle insurance in Pennsylvania, there are different things to consider than when buying regular car insurance. The big difference is that for auto insurance, Pennsylvania law requires a minimum of $5,000 in medical coverage, also known as “no-fault” or PIP coverage.

However, with motorcycle insurance, Pennsylvania law does not require medical coverage. In fact, many motorcycle insurers do not offer medical coverage in Pennsylvania.

Another major difference is that there is no “limited tort” with motorcycle insurance in PA. With auto insurance in PA, you have to choose limited or full tort. Full tort is more expensive, but protects your rights to make a claim for bodily harm/pain and suffering (there is no threshold requirement for a “serious injury” in full tort). With motorcycle coverage in PA, basically all claims are full torts.

The other major difference in PA is that under the Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law, it is more difficult for a health insurer to “subrogate” or obtain a lien to be repaid from a settlement or recovery from a car accident. The health insurance must be of a certain type. However, with motorcycle damage claims, your health insurance is not subject to the same restrictions and so you have a greater chance of being reimbursed by an insurance claim. That may be more of a reason for you to consider medical coverage when you buy motorcycle insurance in PA.

Another difference is that if you’re injured in a car, you’re more likely to “stack” or combine another separate household auto insurance policy. For example, suppose your brother lives with you and has separate insurance. You may be able to purchase additional insurance for a car accident on his policy. Often in Pennsylvania, when you get into a motorcycle accident, any home auto insurance policy will have an exclusion — that’s not coverage — if you were a motorcycle occupant. In that case, you cannot stack your motorcycle insurance, ie combine it with home contents insurance.


If you don’t have health insurance, you should look for motorcycle insurance and a policy that provides medical coverage. If you do not have medical coverage on your motorcycle, your health insurance will cover it.

If you have any questions, make sure your agent explains the coverages to you.

Also make sure that you have insured the motorcycle for material damage. Keep all receipts for custom parts or accessories. If you ever have material damage to your motorcycle, you will need the receipts.