This question will often come up when one of my motorcycle clients is making a claim under their own motorcycle insurance policy even though they were not at fault in an accident. Making a claim under your own motorcycle insurance policy, even though the motorcyclist is not at fault, generally occurs in one of the following 3 scenarios: (1) the motorcyclist’s own insurance company takes care of the repair or total loss of their motorcycle under the collision coverage portion of the policy; (2) the motorcyclist has to make uninsured motorist claims under their motorcycle insurance policy because the individual responsible for their accident is uninsured or the individual responsible for the accident collided with the motorcycle and left the scene; or (3) the motorcyclist has to make an underinsured motorist claim under their motorcycle insurance policy because the individual responsible for their collision did not carry enough liability insurance coverage to adequately compensate the motorcyclist for their personal injury claim. When one of these scenarios occur, the motorcyclist is often concerned that their own motorcycle insurance company will penalize the motorcyclists for making a claim and therefore increase their premiums. There is good news here. If a motorcyclist makes a claim under their motorcycle insurance policy and they are not at fault in the accident, then their insurance company cannot raise their insurance premiums. An insurance company cannot increase a motorcyclist’s insurance premium simply because the motorcyclist makes a claim under their own policy. That is because in North Carolina, the impact on insurance premiums as a result of being involved in a motor vehicle accident is governed by the North Carolina Safe Driver Incentive Plan (SDIP). This Plan was created by State law to give drivers a financial incentive to practice safe driving habits.
In North Carolina, an individual’s motor vehicle insurance policy premium will increase if that individual is assigned insurance points as a result of a motor vehicle collision. Now, an individual can also be assigned insurance points as a result of a conviction of a traffic violation, but that is separate and apart from the rules governing the assignment of insurance points related to a motor vehicle collision. Insurance points are charged to an individual in connection with a motor vehicle collision only if that individual is determined to be at-fault in connection with an accident. I am setting out below how North Carolina will assess one, two or three insurance points to an individual responsible for an accident depending on certain factors such as the total amount of property damage and whether or not the at-fault accident resulted in death or total bodily injury of more or less than $1,800.00. If an individual is at-fault in connection with their collision involving a motorcycle, the odds are that the individual will be assessed three insurance points and their insurance will increase 60%. This 60% increase will continue for a 3-year period.
|At Fault Accidents Points||% of Rate Increase|
What happens, though, if a motorcyclist believes their insurance premiums have increased because their insurance company believes they were at-fault in an accident but in fact the motorcyclist does not believe they were actually at fault. If that happens, all is not lost. The motorcyclist can appeal the insurance company’s decision by contacting the North Carolina Rate Bureau at 919-783-9790. Their website is ncrb.org. If you need to contact the North Carolina Rate Bureau in this type of situation, simply call them and tell them that you have been assessed insurance points by your insurance company and want to challenge that assessment. Someone at that organization should be able to walk you through that appeal process.
If you find yourself involved in a motorcycle accident or if you have any question about your motorcycle insurance policy, please give me a call at 919-942-1181.
Gary Poole – Motorcycle Accident Lawyer “On the Side of Those Who Ride”