Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Helmets? We don't need no steenkin' helmets! [UPDATED]

Our on-call P&C guru, Bill M, passes along something interesting for our two-wheeler fans. He received this via email from one of his carriers:

"Michigan has a new law that allows motorcyclists to ride without a helmet if they meet certain criteria. One of these is having a minimum $20,000 per person limit of Med Pay. Most motorcyclists will still continue to wear helmets, however, several Michigan agencies have expressed concern about Errors & Omissions if they do not at least contact these insureds and make them aware of the requirements should someone take advantage of the new law change, drive without a helmet and have an accident. Some are encouraging policyholders to increase the limit beyond $20,000."

Let me note first that my brother-in-law the orthopedic surgeon calls then "donorcycles." And that goes double for those who eschew the head gear.

The home office critter who sent Bill the email also advised agents to search online for details, which we did. Turns out, it's more than just the $20k insurance limit:

"Motorcyclists can forgo a helmet if they are at least 21 years old, carry at least an additional $20,000 in medical insurance and have either passed a motorcycle safety course or had their motorcycle endorsement for at least two years. Passengers also must be 21 or older to go helmetless, and there has to be an additional $20,000 in insurance for the passenger"

Probably want to make sure your life insurance is paid up, as well.

UPDATE: From Jeff M, who notes that at least one Wolverine in-the-know doesn't think too highly of this initiative:

"We call it the organ donor enhancement act ... We’ve always had a shortage of donors but expect to see the numbers go way up,” said the emergency room veteran"

But that's just anecdotal, right?

Um, not so much:

"A new report ... finds that the trend towards giving riders the freedom to go helmet-less is resulting in a significant increase in motorcycle fatalities."

On the one hand, it's tempting to just invoke Darwin and move on, but many of these folks aren't killed instantly, and end up costing major health care dollars (perhaps) better spent elsewhere.

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