What you need to know about motorcycle insurance, safety, and saving cash

Riding a motorcycle is a lot different than driving a car. While cars aren’t without without their risks, motorcycles have an even more dangerous reputation. The motorcycles you see zooming by on the road might look cool, and yes, it might be more fun to ride a motorcycle than to be trapped inside a car. But the truth is that motorcycles are far more dangerous than cars, which is why you need motorcycle insurance.

If you’re a motorcyclist or if you’re thinking about buying your dream bike, you need to make sure that you have adequate coverage for all the risks that come with hitting the road with two wheels instead of four. We’ll go over the types of coverage you need for that shiny new bike. We’ll also give you some tips on how to save on your motorcycle insurance and how to stay safe on the roads.

What kind of insurance do I need for my motorcycle?

As you can imagine, insuring a motorcycle strongly resembles getting car insurance. The basic coverages you need are pretty much the same ones that you have for your car, including:

  • Liability coverage: Liability coverage helps take care of the cost of any damages you to do another person (up to the policy’s limit.) The main kinds of liability coverage that apply to motorcycles are:
    • Bodily injury: This helps cover the expense of any medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering that the other driver might face due to an accident.
    • Property damage: Property damage helps cover the expenses that come along with repairing or replacing someone else’s property if you crash into it.
  • Collision insurance: This helps cover the damage done to your motorcycle if you have an accident. However, keep in mind that you’re still responsible for paying your deductible before your insurance company will start covering expenses. Also important—insurance covers the book value of the motorcycle before the loss, not including anything you’ve added or invested in the bike.

Collision coverage is a big part of motorcycle insurance.

  • Comprehensive insurance: If something unrelated to an accident were to damage your motorcycle, comprehensive can help. Generally, losses like fire, theft, falling trees, and vandalism are covered. Again, you still have to pay your deductible, and again only the book price of the bike is covered.
  • Uninsured/underinsured motorist: If a driver without insurance were to cause damage to your bike (and you), uninsured motorist coverage helps protect you. It also applies if the other driver doesn’t have enough insurance to cover the damages they caused to you. Generally, this will take care of medical bills, lost wages, and damages.

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What if I’ve customized my bike and put a lot of money into it?

If you’ve made any significant, expensive changes or additions to your bike, it’s a good idea to get additional motorcycle insurance in the form of optional equipment coverage. Most comprehensive and collision coverage policies only protect the factory standard motorcycle parts. It would be a real bummer if you lost the money you poured into your bike to customize it.

What if I don’t ride in the winter?

Excellent question. Motorcycles are pretty much fair-weather vehicles. If there are any parts of the year in which you store your bike or don’t take it out, you don’t really need to have full-time full coverage.

Talk to your agent if you don't ride your bike in the winter.

Instead, you can think about getting a layup insurance policy, which will allow all coverages except for comprehensive to be paused for a certain amount of time.

How can I save on my motorcycle insurance?

There are a few things you can do to help lower the cost of your insurance. You can:

  • Raise your deductible. Choose the deductible that’s financially right for you. If you find that you’re able to raise it a bit, it’ll help lower the cost of your premium.
  • Keep a good driving record. Be safe on the roads.
  • Take a motorcycle safety class.
  • Use an anti-theft device. Motorcycles are often targeted for theft, so if you have an anti-theft device you might be able to cut that premium a little.
  • Ask your agent about a multi-policy discount. Sometimes bundling your home insurance and auto insurance can save you money.

What can I do to be safer on the road and reduce my chance of an accident?

Like we mentioned before, motorcycles perhaps aren’t the safest vehicles ever invented. That means that you need to do everything you can to be safe. Here are a few tips that you can keep in mind:

Don’t be too cool for school. Take a motorcycle training class and get a driver’s license that’s specifically for motorcycles.

Helmets are great. Wear a helmet and other safety gear when you ride.

Don’t indulge in alcohol prior to riding. Alcohol and cars don’t go well together. Be smart about how you drink.

Practice makes perfect. Turn off the bike, park it, and take the time to familiarize yourself with your bike’s gears and controls.

Being a safe driver can help you lower your motorcycle insurance premiums.

Speed limits are there for a reason. Stick to them. Yes, the wind against your face is exhilarating. Just don’t make it too exhilarating. 

Be aware. There are lots of hazards on the road that could trip up your ride. Potholes, bumps, or cracks in the road could spell doom for a motorcycle.

Be super careful if you have a passenger. You’re not just responsible for yourself if you have someone tagging along. 

Make sure that other drivers can see you. Many accidents happen because the other driver doesn’t see the motorcyclist. To make sure that you’re visible, use your turn signals, follow traffic laws, and don’t weave in and out of lanes (even though it might be tempting if traffic is slow or stopped.)

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Motorcycles can be fun. They can also be dangerous. Before you hit the road, make sure that you have the motorcycle insurance you need for your ride. And be sure to be safe while you’re behind the wheel—ah, handlebars. We can help you find the right insurance for your motorcycle, so call us or fill out our motorcycle insurance quote form if you’re interested in getting a free quote!