How Does Motorcycle Accident Insurance Differ From Auto Insurance in Pennsylvania?

Kimiko G. Judith

In Pennsylvania, when you buy motorcycle insurance, there are different things to consider than when buying regular auto coverage. The major difference is that for car insurance, Pennsylvania Law requires a minimum coverage of $5,000 in medical coverage benefits, also called “no-fault” or PIP coverage.

With motorcycle insurance, though, Pennsylvania law does not require medical coverage. In fact, many motorcycle insurers don’t provide 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 must choose either limited or full tort. Full tort is more expensive but protects your rights to make a bodily injury/pain and suffering claim (there is no threshold requirement of a “serious injury” with full tort). With Motorcycle coverage in PA, basically, all claims are full tort.

The other major difference in PA is that under the Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law, it is harder for a health insurer to “subrogate” or make a lien to be repaid out of a car accident settlement or recovery. The health insurance plan must be of a certain type. With motorcycle claims, though, your health insurance is not subject to the same limitations and thus has a better chance to be repaid from an insurance claim. That may be more of a reason for you to consider getting medical coverage when you buy motorcycle insurance in PA.

Another difference is that if you are injured in a car, you are more likely able to “stack” or combine any other separate household auto insurance coverage. Say for example your brother lives with you and has a separate insurance policy – you might be able to get extra insurance coverage for a car accident under his policy. Often in Pennsylvania, when you are in a motorcycle accident, any house hold auto insurance will have an exclusion – that is no coverage- if you were an occupant of a motorcycle. So, you would not be able to stack, i.e., combine, your motorcycle insurance with household auto insurance in that instance.


If you have no health insurance, you should look for a motorcycle insurer and policy which carries medical coverage. This is because if you have no medical coverage on your motorcycle, then your health insurance covers it.

If you have questions, you should make sure you have your agent explain the coverages to you.

You should also make sure you have the motorcycle insured for property damage. Keep all receipts for custom parts or accessories. If you ever have property damage to your motorcycle, you will need the receipts.

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