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Contact Your Broker For All of These Reasons

Posted in: Riders+ Parking Lot | by Heather Malone | August 26, 2011

SUMMARY:

There are so many things to remember to do when you move. Contacting your motorcycle insurer with your new address is, understandably, not high on the list of things to do… but it must be on the list.

There are a lot of other reasons to call your motorcycle insurance broker as well, some of which aren’t as obvious as you would think. Riders Plus star Customer Service Representative, Heather Malone, outlines some of these situations in the following article.

We ask you to let us know when changes happen that may affect your motorcycle insurance policy. Aside from letting us know about your newly acquired (or newly dispensed with) bikes, here are a few of the bigger changes and why it’s important for you to let us know:

Change of Bank Information for Monthly Withdrawals:

To change your withdrawals to a different chequing account on the Payment Plan, Riders Plus needs to give the insurer at least 2 weeks’ notice before a withdrawal date. During the busy season, that can extend to 3 weeks. Letting us know early allows us to get the company to switch your withdrawal to the new account with minimal disruption. Many banks offer an online “void cheque” for pre-authorized payments that can be emailed to us (along with your policy number, of course). And remember: if a withdrawal doesn’t go through for any reason that’s not the fault of the insurance company, you will almost certainly be charged an NSF fee ($50 is quite common).

Paying off a Lienholder:

When you borrow money from a financial institution to buy a motorcycle and it’s not from a line of credit or credit card, that financial institution is considered to be a lienholder. The insurer has obligations by law to a lienholder; the lienholder is, in fact, part owner of your bike. The lienholder may even stipulate precisely what the minimum coverage and deductibles must be on the motorcycle. If there is a claim, the payout cheque is made jointly payable to the Named Insured (owner of the motorcycle) and the lienholder.

Once you pay off the loan, it’s important to send the “Release of Interest” to Riders Plus as soon as possible. Why? For one thing, you wouldn’t want a situation of having a claim cheque to cash that is jointly payable to a bank you no longer have a loan with! You also want to have the freedom to decide your own coverage and deductible limits. You want the freedom to add and remove coverage as you wish on your motorcycle. Such changes can’t be made until the “Release of Interest” has been received.

Changes of Named Insureds/Motorcycle Owners Listed on a Policy

Here’s a frequent situation: spouses each own their own motorcycle, so the insurance policy is issued in both names for the two bikes. Insurance is a contract between the owners of the motorcycle and the insurer. The bike owners ARE the policy owners. The motorcycle registration confirms who is the owner of the motorcycle.

So if you’ve jointly held an insurance policy with your “ex”, for example, Riders Plus needs signatures from both you AND your “ex” to remove your “ex’s” bike from your policy. (You may wonder why – think of it this way. Would you want your “ex” taking coverage off of your bike without you signing telling us it’s ok? Of course not.) At the same time, we need a copy of your ownership to change the policy name to match your ownership. By making these corrections, you ensure that any future claim cheques would be made in your name only, not jointly between you and your “ex”, and that the privacy and control of your motorcycle insurance policy reverts back to you entirely.

Situations also come up where motorcycle riders transfer the motorcycle ownership to a relative’s or friend’s name while still retaining riding privileges on the bike through some kind of agreement with the relative/friend. The former owner calls Riders Plus to arrange insurance because he/she rides the bike, but, as noted earlier, you cannot have a policy on something you do not legally own. You need to be aware that even though there is some arrangement in private between you and the relative who now owns your bike, it’s the relative’s name on the ownership – THEY are the legal owner and it’s not legally your bike anymore. For the policy to be valid, the Named Insured – the policy owner – has to match the owner’s name as shown on the bike ownership, and in a claim the cheque is cut in the legal owner’s name. You invalidate your insurance if your ownership is in someone else’s name without a matching policy in the owner’s name. Your broker and your insurance company need to be aware of these situations ASAP so they can start a new policy in the new owner’s name, listing you as the rider.

Riders in the Household

All persons in the household with a valid motorcycle licence have to be accounted for on the policy. The effect of the additional M licenced persons on the policy depends on many factors which arise from the questions that your broker asks.  Failure to disclose all M licenced persons in the household and all regular or frequent operators of your motorcycle could invalidate your insurance policy. If someone is in your household and rides your bike without being disclosed and has an accident, the claim could be denied. As a result there would be no payout for your bike, and even worse, no liability coverage, so you could be sued personally for injuries and damage caused.

If you own the bike, you own the liability and responsibility for anything that happens with the bike, and any at-fault accidents that happen with your motorcycle, regardless of who is piloting it, would be your at-fault accidents.

There are circumstances in which a signed OPCF 28A Excluded Driver Endorsement signed by all parties is required by the insurance company for persons they want to ensure will not ride the motorcycle. Riders can also be excluded in some instances to ensure that the rate charged is not based on that rider. The receipt of that signed form by the insurance company ensures that it’s clear on all sides that there is no insurance if the excluded person rides. While this Exclusion is in place, it is vitally important that the excluded rider does not touch the insured motorcycle since the insurance policy would be invalid if they did so, and your future insurability would be severely curtailed.

Listing riders on your insurance policy is easy. Just provide Riders Plus with their driver’s licence number, name and Rider Training Certificate (if licenced less than 5 years). You have a lot of choice in these situations, and since every person’s circumstances and history is different you will find that Riders Plus Customer Service will guide you quickly and clearly through your options while advising you of the best choices to make.

Your Address

You need pink slips that match your ownership that also reflect where you live. We need you to tell both us (so we can tell the insurer) and the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario when you move. We are insurance experts, not experts of MTO policies, but we can say with certainty that it says on the Ontario vehicle ownership that you need to tell the MTO within 6 days of your move. Avoid tickets or worse; get your information updated right away.

Your Full M Licence, Rider Training Courses, and Your Wallet

Did you complete your M2 Exit? Congratulations! Now make sure you notify Riders Plus, because it could make a difference to your motorcycle insurance premium, depending on the size and type of motorcycle and other underwriting factors.

If you have your M2 and are now eligible to do the M2 Exit test but haven’t yet done so… contact one of these professional, efficient, affordable Rider Training Course Providers who will get you set up. Don’t delay; the five year window on the M2 passes like a flash, and if that M2 expires you are in a world of hurt. You would be right back at square one. Square One has huge insurance cost implications with Echelon General Insurance, and cost implications for you to go through all of those licencing levels all over again (and the MTO doesn’t even thank you for all of that extra revenue…). Like your G class licence designation, once you have your M class you have it for life (assuming you renew your licence regularly on your birthdays!).

Did you take a PRO/Advanced rider course? We are not talking about an M1 Exit or M2 Exit licensing course (i.e. the course to get your M2 or your M). We are not talking about a refresher course. A PRO/Advancedcourse is usually for riding instructors, for motorcycle police, and some colleges offer an advanced course for experienced riders. It makes a difference both to your riding and, in many instances, to your policy cost. Contact your local Rider Training Course Provider for more details.

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