Driving a motorcycle can be liberating, but it can also be dangerous. There are unique risks involving motorcycles, and accidents can be severe. The right insurance coverage is essential to protect yourself, your passengers, other drivers and your bike.
Standard motorcycle insurance policies cover bodily injuries, property damage and liability to others. They can help guard against losses caused by:
- Bodily injury
- Property damage
- Liability and lawsuits
- Medical payments (MedPay) for you and your passengers
- Personal injury protection (PIP) for you and your passengers
- Damage to your motorcycle
- Theft of your motorcycle
- Vandalism to your motorcycle
Most states require you to have standard coverage with a minimum amount of liability coverage. Optional motorcycle coverage includes comprehensive and collision insurance. If you ride without insurance or lack the proper coverage, you could be fined, have your license revoked, suffer a court-ordered financial judgment or even land in jail.
Selecting which coverages are right for you will depend on the following:
- Your state’s laws
- Your bike and its value
- Whether you want coverage for your injuries if involved in an accident
- How much protection you want for your belongings
- Whether you want coverage for damage to your bike
Ask your insurance professional which laws apply in your state and learn about available options.
Motorcycle coverage fundamentals
There are five basic types of motorcycle coverage.
- Liability: Just like auto insurance, the minimum legally required motorcycle coverage is liability insurance. It will cover any damage your motorcycle causes in the event of an accident if you are at fault. It doesn’t cover injury to you or damage to your motorcycle. But it covers bodily injury and property damage of anyone involved in an accident. MedPay or PIP protects you and your passengers injured on your motorcycle regardless of fault; it may also be available depending on your state and the company issuing your policy.
- Motorcycle collision: This covers damage to your motorcycle if you are involved in a collision with another vehicle. Your insurance company pays for damages (usually the book value of your bike before the loss occurred), minus your deductible.
- Comprehensive: Pays for damages caused by an event other than a collision, such as fire, theft or vandalism. Your insurance company will pay for damages minus your deductible, covering only the motorcycle’s book value.
- Customized motorcycle parts: Many comprehensive and collision policies will only cover factory standard parts on your motorcycle, or they will limit the coverage. If you have a custom paint job or decide to add optional accessories such as chrome parts, trailers or sidecars, check with your insurer to understand the coverage limits.
- Uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM): UM/UIM pays for damage caused by drivers without insurance or adequate coverage.
Many motorcycle insurance companies also offer a range of other coverages:
- Towing and other roadside assistance help with the costs if your bike breaks down.
- Trip interruption will help pay for lodging, food and transportation if you get stranded.
- Protective gear covers items like helmets, riding leathers and gloves. Riding gear isn’t cheap, but your motorcycle insurance can help replace it if something happens.
Of course, you never plan on crashing your bike or having anything stolen. But if it happens, you’ll be glad you have top-notch insurance coverage.
Cost of motorcycle insurance
According to the Insurance Information Institute, your motorcycle insurance costs depend on things like:
- Your age and driving record: You may receive discounts on motorcycle insurance for having a clean driving record, being over 25 and owning your own home.
- Where you live and store your bike: Your costs may be lower if you store your bike in a garage. And, if you live in an area where it snows a lot during a long winter, a lay-up policy could help decrease your costs. These policies offer lower payments and reduced coverage during the months you don’t ride.
- Type or style of bike: Whether you have a sport bike, cruiser or custom motorcycle matters for insurance purposes. Typically, your insurance costs will be lower for bikes without special modifications. Additionally, the smaller the motor on your bike, the lower your rates.
- Age of the motorcycle: If you want to save on your insurance, stick with an older, basic and less-powerful bike to access the lowest premiums.
- Number of miles you ride a year: If you plan to ride your bike regularly to work, you’ll likely need to secure a full-coverage policy. However, if you only plan to use your bike occasionally, you may not need as much coverage.
Some motorcycle dealerships will require you to produce proof of insurance before allowing you to purchase a bike. If you plan on financing your motorcycle, you’ll need comprehensive and collision coverage for complete bike protection.
Purchasing the right coverage
Whether you are the proud owner of a brand-new bike or have been riding for years, it’s good to understand the insurance you may need. With the right motorcycle coverage, you’ll be ready for almost anything that comes your way.
Contact us to help you with the motorcycle insurance coverage you need for your specific situation.
By Applied Systems, Inc.