Motorcycle Insurance FAQ
Are rates and insurance requirements the same everywhere for motorcycles?
No, rates vary from company to company and premiums vary from bike to bike and depend on your current driving record in a car. Laws vary from state to state as well. It is a good idea to speak with a professional, (and preferably someone who knows about motorcycles) rather than selecting coverage from a limited menu of options online.
What are the different types of mandatory insurance riders need to be aware of when making their purchase decision?
Standard Insurance Coverage
There are several types of insurance coverage options you need to consider for your protection and to be in compliance with state laws. They include liability, medical, collision and comprehensive and uninsured motorist.
- Liability coverage is primarily for the benefit of others. If you are the person at-fault in an accident, liability insurance covers everyone except you. This includes repair to property you damaged in the crash, including cars, poles, fences, trees, signs, etc. Liability insurance does not cover injuries to you or passengers riding your vehicle.
- Medical coverage reimburses you, as the owner of the bike, for medical costs relating to your care after a crash including rehabilitation, if needed. Typically the medical coverage from your motorcycle insurance policy will cover doctor bills first, before any other medical insurance you might have. Think of it as coverage for an emergency room visit. It is not a huge amount, but if you are self-employed or have no other medical coverage, it is certainly better than nothing. You will need additional first-party coverage to cover you passenger’s injuries.
- Collision covers costs associated with your motorcycle if damaged in a crash. Most companies reimburse the book value of the motorcycle, so if you have added upgrades, be sure to add coverage for those items specifically in your policy.
- Comprehensive insurance covers damage and losses to your bike not incurred in a crash, like a hit and run, vandalism, fire, theft or weather. Comprehensive coverage offers different deductible options. You will want to consider the value of your bike, model of your bike, replacement costs (if your bike is custom or a restored vintage model) your financial situation, whether it is parked in a garage or on the street. Remember, if you have a low deductible, the premium is usually higher.
- Uninsured Motorist Coverage insures payment to you when your damage or injuries is caused by a driver that does not have insurance. Even though this coverage is optional, it is so important that you should always have it. Approximately 30% of accidents in Colorado involve an uninsured motorist. Uninsured motorist’s coverage is more expensive for motorcycles than for cars, simply because car drivers are more protected in their vehicle than a motorcyclist is on a bike. You may have high hospital bills and a long recovery time after an accident. Having good uninsured motorists coverage will be one less thing for you to worry about when you are recovering after a crash. Most health insurance policies do not cover auto accidents. Beware many insurance agents will quote without Uninsured Motorist Coverage to get the premium low so you will buy from them. Don’t fall for this.
What are the specialized types of additional insurance riders need to be aware of when making their purchase decision?
Specialized coverage is just that, specialized. Nothing is wrong with insuring just the bike and opting out of all the extras. Make what you want clear to your agent when purchasing the policy so you are not paying extra for all the bells and whistles, although several are often automatically included at no additional charge.
- Passenger Medical is important if you plan to carry a passenger. Purchasing passenger medical coverage is a good idea and is a type of liability coverage.. Why would you exclude passengers from the benefits of medical coverage?
- Total loss Replacement is usually only available on previously untitled motorcycles up to one model year old and insured within 30 days. Other motorcycles are insured for Agreed Value or Actual Cash Value so you are not surprised at the time of a loss.
- Safety Apparel Coverage to protect your significant investment in helmets, leathers, gloves and any other clothing designed to minimize injury in the event of an accident. Usually, safety apparel is covered if it’s damaged, but not if it’s lost or stolen. It is also usually on a depreciated value basis.
- Transport Trailer Coverage covers the trailer used to transport a motorcycle. The coverage is for a non- motorized trailer to be towed on public roads. Usually the coverage is capped at $10,000.
- Trip Interruption coincides with roadside assistance. If you are 100 miles or more away from home and your bike breaks down, this coverage kicks in to provide relief. It covers lodging, alternative transportation, and food while your motorcycle is being repaired. Check your policy for limits of coverage.
- Roadside Assistance covers towing for a disabled motorcycle or gas delivery if you run out of gas.
- Rental Vehicle Coverage is typically automatically included on a motorcycle policy. As long as you have comprehensive and collision on your insured motorcycle, the coverage will extend to a rented bike under a rental agreement.
What other factors need to be considered when making a purchase decision for motorcycle insurance?
If you plan to carry a passenger, purchasing passenger liability coverage is a good idea. Why would you exclude passengers from the benefits of liability coverage?
What other factors need to be considered when making a purchase decision for motorcycle insurance?
- Your age will be a factor in the premium charged. If you are under 30 or over 68, your premiums may be higher than you expected. Completing a motorcycle course is one way to show your intention to ride safely, despite your age. Completing motorcycle skill building courses periodically is a good way to show your interest in being a proficient and safe rider.
- Where you live has an impact on your premium. Densely populated urban areas have more traffic and hence more opportunities for accidents.
- Your driving record. If you have multiple tickets or a DUI you rates will be higher.
- The type and size of motorcycle you ride has an impact on your premium. It goes without saying that if you are 23 with a string of speeding tickets and you decide to purchase a Hayabusa as your first bike, you will have high premiums. Insurance companies have different segments or categories of motorcycles, each with their own rates. Contacting an insurance professional before making the final purchase decision and getting different rates from different companies is a good idea.
- Your credit score has a bearing on your rates. It is factored into a larger score called your insurance score by many carriers.
What can I do to minimize the cost of insurance?
Motorcycles are a great way to cut transportation costs. Money can be saved on both gas and insurance. Typically motorcycle insurance is cheaper than car insurance. Take it to the next level with these savings tips for getting the cheapest motorcycle insurance.
- Safety Course Discounts are available for those riders that want to demonstrate better skills and a commitment to safe riding. Taking a certified safety course proves your commitment to safe riding. The more comfortable you are on your bike the better driver you will be. Insurance companies recognize your dedication by offering a safety course discount.
- Riding Association Member Discounts are available on motorcycle insurance for members of many riding associations. Lots of associations are available and have several benefits. Usually for a low annual fee, memberships offer you discounts at some suppliers and rallies and a magazine subscription. Being an active motorcycle enthusiast makes you a more experienced rider, garnering you a lower insurance rate.
- Anti-Theft Device Discounts are available because motorcycle theft is not uncommon. Over 50,000 bikes are stolen annually according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau. Comprehensive can be an expensive portion of your insurance premium. Having an anti-theft device discount will help you get the cheapest motorcycle insurance possible.
- Good Driver Discounts are available because good drivers are always rewarded when it comes to insurance premiums. Not only do you avoid ticket surcharges but you receive a good driver discount, reducing your overall costs. Keep your driving record clean to get the best insurance rates. If you have less than a stellar record, become a better driver and have your insurance re-quoted after one year.
- Homeowner Discounts on both motorcycle and auto policies because homeowners’ often have stability. Insurance companies are looking for clients with stability since studies have proven stable clients have less claims.
- Multi Policy Discounts are available with most motorcycle policies and with auto and homeowners policies with the same carrier policies. The multi policy discount is one of the largest discounts available on any insurance policy.
- Multi Vehicle Discounts are available to those who insure multiple motorcycles and or cars with the same insurance carrier. The discount is well worth it and it just does not make sense to separate insurance carriers from both a billing and a savings standpoint.
- Claims Free Discounts for a claims free driver will allow them to pay less than a driver who has filed claims. Different insurance carriers have different specifications to receive the discount; however, usually you’ll need 2 to 3 years of no claims to qualify for the discount.
- Paid in Full Discounts should always be looked into if it is available as a discount. Not only will you save with the discount, but clients that pay through the mail are usually charged additional payment fees.
- Shop Insurance Carriers utilizing a broker. A Broker is not tied to one carrier and can shop competing carriers for you. A broker can search the available carriers without you doing the legwork yourself. A good broker can work with you to get around many of the situations that could cost you in increased premiums. In addition, they can help protect you from increasing premiums by watching the various companies and letting you know if there is a better alternative as the years go by. Some insurance companies specialize in motorcycle insurance and offer rates that are difficult to beat even when compared against a multi policy discount.