You have seen a trike, built a trike and now ride a trike. But do you do this at a risk to yourself and your family? Insurance is a business. It is not a charity or a handout or a birthright. It is not mentioned in the American Constitution. Insurance is a privilege paid for in installments, so that if lady luck decides to rape you, then you get the best medical care and the best automotive garage care.
Many people are disillusioned today about American healthcare industry and especially medical insurance. If you were a bum once, you probably worked as a Life Insurance salesman with no salary except commission earned on policy sales made. General Insurance is as critical for Trikes as Medical Insurance is for your heart, hips and knees. Life Insurance is basically financial comfort for your family after you kick the bucket and you are no longer in any pain and no longer obligated to this universe and can feel nothing as they bury your carcass in a crate. Mediclaim however is different. You are alive and hurting and the hospital can’t help you if you don’t have medical coverage.
Now let’s look at your Trike. Most Trikes are heavily customized and modified. These machines are huge projects for their owners. You care for your trike spending considerable wealth and time on its functioning. The experience of a trike is different to a two-wheeler, but well it ain’t exactly a safe little sedan is it? If you rode a motorcycle, you already know that your accessories ain’t covered in motorcycle insurance unless you cut a deal with your insurance company and got the accessories approved for safety and legality. So, look at your trike. Every damn thing is different and non-standard. You wanna roar into the highway, wind in your hair, people checking you out and wham, some SUV just bumped you into a ditch.
You don’t see many trikes on the road, neither in the city nor on the highway. Actually that is why it turns heads, because everyone wants to have a look at the freak. Every trike owner may have his own reason for choosing a trike lifestyle. It is not always a senile 70 year-old biker who decides that he needs a third wheel. It is actually a good choice to have a trike instead of a motorcycle. To each his own, however.
Most of the insurance companies today who may offer trike insurance are those who have made a successful business in motorcycle insurance. So you can always approach a popular motorcycle insurance company and enquire if they will insure your trike. Trike Dealers, custom builders and fellow trike owners could also recommend you an insurance company or at least share their experience so that you don’t learn the hard way. Due to growing popularity of Trikes, insurance is getting easier to find in every State for trikes and motorcycles with side-cars.
Before purchasing or shopping for Trike insurance, you should also look into your State’s insurance requirements for three-wheelers. Most States mandate a motorcycle liability coverage for a trike or its accepted legal equivalent. Your local DMV or State Insurance Department may also be able to help you understand Trike insurance requirement as well as refer you to companies that offer such an insurance policy. Always make sure the person or agent you are talking to knows what a trike is. If they are assuming it is a two-wheeler motorcycle then they will give you useless or wrong advice. This is especially the case for motorcycles with permanently fixed side-cars.
There are General Insurance companies offering consolidated multiple policies, which cover your house, car, tractor and the ugly pink flamingoes on your lawn. They will even offer you a bundle discount (and reference to a good psychiatrist).
Insurance shopping is the same as shopping with your woman. You have to visit twenty stores, ask a thousand questions, compare all the prices and then pick only one dress. And yes, she will ask you if she looks fat in it. So don’t be a lazy ass, get up and hunt for the best insurance deal. It is your need not your convenience. Compare the quotes from multiple service providers. See the fine print. Confirm what things on your trike get covered under which insurance terms. Budget and Coverage are both equally important. Also, it helps if you do all this before smoking weed.
Trikes are getting popular because they offer the same thrill and power and experience of a motorcycle with added safety, stability, style and anti-lock brakes. These trikes are treasures by their owners because they have put their blood, sweat and beer in designing, hand-crafting, building and painting their Trike. Or sometimes you marry rich and buy a Gold Wing to convert it into a trike. Bottomline is it is expensive.
But therein lies the trouble. Motorcycles are standardized and mass manufactured. So in most cases, there is never any hassle in getting an insurance cover for a motorcycle. Plus motorcycle industry in America has embraced the custom building and accessorizing element as an integral part of motorcycling. So even custom choppers get insured without calling in a favor from the White House.
As for trikes, there are many trikes built with engines or chassis from cars. They may use motorcycle components too, of course. You get shooed away by car insurance as well as motorcycle insurance. Mostly bikers modify motorcycles into trikes. Yet the huge amount of customized parts make it a no-go for motorcycle insurance. Even if trikes are safer, you do have certain risks similar to that of a motorcycle owner. You therefore need insurance to address those risks. Gone are the days when there was confusion as to how to get insurance for a trike. Don’t nag your car insurance broker nor your motorcycle insurance broker. Look for specialized insurers who know Trikes and know how to insure your trike.
Always be honest with your insurance policy. They have better lawyers than you. If you don’t declare all your modifications when you insure your bike then in the unfortunate event that you have to file an insurance claim for your trike, the insurance company will tell you that your insurance is invalid. Just like your son. Invalid and worth scrap.
Finding good value trike insurance may take effort especially if your trike is radically modified. But it is a need as I said. Not a convenience. For standard manufactured model trikes, insurance company quotes are easily compared to get you the best deal and a free plastic ballpoint pen. For custom builds, you can still have a choice so as to compare policy and price between insurance companies. But this time you need extra care so as to ensure your insurer knows all the modifications and vehicle details of your trike to get your ass covered. Ensure the risk, policy and price quoted cover your basic needs. Understand the policy. It’s not rocket science, it’s a lot more boring than that but do it. Any incorrect information or lapse in your memory at this stage could lead to disqualification while filing a claim. You are not married to Bill Clinton, so provide the details on paper and from your memory.
Closed chassis and steering wheel may get you classified as a car. Then you will need specialist car insurance such as kit car policy. Your very own hot rod.
Open chassis and handlebars should get you a trike insurance.
Just like car insurance, your Trike insurance comes with a range of benefits and optional extra features. Such as:
ü Varying levels of insurance cover – fully comprehensive, or on select aspects
ü Breakdown cover – to tow you when you have tinkered too much with your trike
ü Legal expenses cover also known as uninsured loss recovery to cover legal expenses during accidents or claims
ü Pillion is not covered in a standard Trike insurance policy. You need to specify your requirement for pillion insurance if you plan to take your blonde whore everywhere you go
ü Leather gear and helmet can also be replaced under additional insurance coverage. However it won’t cover your broken ego.
Some insurance companies also offer discounts, such as:
ü Anti-theft devices
ü Anti-lock brakes
ü Safe driving record
ü Riding course certification benefits
ü Bundle packages
Depending on your insurance company and your personal hygiene and appearance, you may be offered some or all of the following Trike coverage options. These may differ in price and policy among different insurance companies. You have to decide what are your essentials and must-haves. Alternatively, you could rob a bank.
§ Bodily injury liability
§ Property damage liability
§ Passenger liability
§ Uninsured/Underinsured motorist bodily injury and property damage liability
§ Accessory coverage
§ Safety apparel
§ Rental reimbursement
§ Tow-behind trike trailer coverage
§ Roadside assistance with trip interruption reimbursement
I have been posting stuff on Bikernet since year 2003 and still there is so much more to learn and apply. So if you see any holes in this article, do write in to the editor or leave a comment so we can highlight your suggestions or experience for the benefit of Trike owners everywhere.
If you work for an insurance company which is offering Trike owners an insurance cover, then too we want to hear from you. Tell us your case studies and whitepapers. Give us a brochure. Pay my rent. Buy me a beer. Marry me. Whatever. Goodbye. Ride On!
Copyright Ujjwal Dey 2016