Shuman Roy is an entrepreneur, business owner, and musician. He started RoysNoys, LLC in 2013 as a music production and education service company. He also offers small business consulting and advisory services to help businesses get from start-up mode to turn-key operations. Shuman earned his M.B.A from the Stern School of Business in 2001 and has an undergraduate degree from Manhattan College in ...

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity-backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Joel...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder, CFP®

UPDATED: Oct 26, 2021

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As most motorcycle riders will tell you, it’s nice to be able to ride knowing you’re protected against anything that could happen while on the road. However, could your guests say the same thing? Protective gear will only be partially effective in the event of an accident, which is why there is coverage in existence to help the rest of the way. Guest passenger liability is a type of motorcycle insurance coverage.

Unlike auto insurance, where everyone in the car is automatically covered by your liability insurance, passengers on the back of a motorcycle may not be. If you’re worried that your policy doesn’t offer personal injury protection, you may want to reread it or contact an agent who can help you.

Are the passengers on your bike covered?

As the name implies, guest passenger liability insurance covers bodily injury suffered by guests on the back of your bike. It’s the unfortunate truth that motorcycle accidents do occur, and that’s why it’s for the best that you protect not only yourself and your bike, but also anyone who may be riding with you.

For the record, bodily injury is defined as bodily harm, sickness, or disease, including required care, loss of services, or even death that may result as a consequence of an accident you are liable, or at-fault, for causing.

You certainly do not want to be on the hook financially if one of your passengers is injured as a result of your driving, so know before you go. Motorcycle drivers have it pretty rough on the road already, with their visibility being less than an average sized car; wearing motorcycle helmets and eye protection can be a great start but those won’t help in the hospital or with the subsequent medical payments.

A simple review of your insurance policy may not be enough to determine whether or not you have this important coverage, and you certainly don’t want to get all the way to the insurance claim before you’re figuring it out.

Even when mandatory in a particular state, some insurers may include it in your liability coverage, so it may not be individually listed on your policy declarations page, which is issued to you when you purchased or renewed your insurance policy.

Laws surrounding this coverage depend on the state in which you reside. You may find that even though motorcycles are more common in your area than others, that they aren’t required to have any sort of coverage. Which could end up being alarming, should there be a large number of accident reports that include motorcycles for your location.

Contact your insurerindependent agent, or State Department of Insurance to determine the laws for your state before allowing a passenger on the back of your motorcycle. For your safety and theirs, research your state’s insurance requirements. If it’s not required, think about paying for adequate protection for anyone who is going to be on your motorcycle, even if it’s going to cost extra. Due to the severity of some motorcycle crashes, it would be better to be safe, rather than sorry.