Choosing the right insurance policy is much like choosing the right motorcycle. You want it to fit your needs and lifestyle—and to be within your budget. Here's a guide to insurance coverage for your bike—and some tips to make your insurance ride more "easy" on your wallet.
In order to find out what coverage is best for you, it is important to understand all the options available.
Motorcycle coverage basics
Although most states require you to carry a minimum amount of liability coverage, other types of coverage are usually optional. Ask your insurance professional which laws apply in your state and understand all the coverage options available to best fit your needs.
- Liability insurance covers bodily injury and property damage that you may cause to other people involved in an accident. It doesn't cover injury to you or damage to your motorcycle. Guest Passenger Liability, which provides protection in the event that a passenger is injured on your motorcycle, may also be available to you, depending on state laws and the company issuing your policy.
- Motorcycle collision insurance 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 coverage pays for damages caused by an event other than a collision, such as fire, theft or vandalism. Like collision coverage, your insurance company will pay for damages, minus your deductible, and will cover only the book value of the motorcycle.
- Coverage for customized motorcycle parts. Many comprehensive and collision policies will only cover the factory standard parts on your motorcycle, or they will limit the coverage. If you decide to add on any optional accessories such as chrome parts, a custom paint job, trailers or sidecars, check with your insurer to understand the limits of coverage.
- Uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage pays for damages to you and/or your property caused by another driver who either doesn't have insurance (uninsured) or doesn't have adequate insurance (underinsured). UM/UIM policies typically pay for medical treatment, lost wages and, in some cases, property damage.
Factors that affect your motorcycle insurance costs
- Your age, your driving record and where you live
- Type or style of bike you ride—for example, sport bike, cruiser or custom motorcycle
- Age of the motorcycle
- Number of miles you ride a year
- Where you store your bike
Motorcycle insurance policies vary so, as always, shop around for an insurer and insurance professional with whom you feel comfortable.
Tips for the cost-conscious rider
As with auto insurance, maintaining a good driving record with no violations will help keep your premium costs down. In addition, some insurers offer driver discounts and other ways to save money on your motorcycle policy. While offerings may vary by state and insurer, following is a sampling:
- Training course discounts are offered to graduates of classes such as the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) rider course. This is particularly useful for riders under the age of 25, usually considered a higher risk. It’s also a good idea for riders who have already had accidents.
- Multi-bike discounts can deliver savings to riders insuring more than one motorcycle. If available, getting your policy from your auto or home insurer may qualify you for a multi-policy discount.
- Organization member discounts might be available if you belong to a motorcycle clubs or other associations.
- Mature rider discounts can help experienced riders save money.
- “Lay-up” policy savings. Available primarily in northern U.S. states, with a lay-up policy all coverage except comprehensive is suspended during the winter months when the bike is not being used, saving the driver money.
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