Best Motorcycle Insurance

Find the best motorcycle insurance policy for your needs with this comprehensive guide.
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man with a motorcycle

Written by Brian Greenberg

Last updated: June 7th, 2022

What Is Motorcycle Insurance?

Definition: A motorcycle insurance policy is a contract between a motorcycle owner and an insurance provider for protection against motorcycle-related risks at the cost of an agreed-upon premium. Such risks may include damage, injuries, theft, damage caused to a third party, fire, gear, special equipment, accidents, towing and roadside assistance, bodily injury coverage for a passenger, medical costs related to an accident, vandalism, weather events, falling objects, loss of income, and replacement.

Buying a motorcycle is often a precursor to some exciting days ahead. Whether you want a motorcycle to weave your way through traffic or for outdoor excursions, you’ll surely enjoy your new bike.

However, motorcycle riding isn’t all bliss. There are risks involved because motorcycles are:

  • Significantly less crash-proof than passenger vehicles
  • Not as stable as vehicles with four wheels
  • Less visible to other motorists and pedestrians

All of these factors not only put you at risk for an accident but can also intensify the consequences. As a result, beyond being cautious while on the road, you need a safety net in case the unthinkable should occur. That safety net is motorcycle insurance. While you may not be keen about piling on additional costs after buying a bike, it’s essential to have this coverage.

To satisfy state laws, at a minimum, liability coverage is required. This includes liability coverage for:

  • Bodily injury per person
  • Bodily injury per accident
  • Property damage

Motorcycle Insurance Liability Insurance Minimums by State

Bodily injury per person / Bodily injury per accident / Property damage

StateRequired Liability InsuranceRequired in Order to Ride?
California$15,000 per person
$30,000 per accident
$5,000 property
Yes
Alabama$25,000 per person
$50,000 per accident
$25,000 property
Yes
Alaska$50,000 per person
$100,000 per accident
$25,000 property
Yes
Arizona$25,000 per person
$50,000 per accident
$15,000 property
Yes
Arkansas$25,000 per person
$50,000 per accident
$25,000 property
Yes
Colorado$25,000 per person
$50,000 per accident
$15,000 property
Yes
Connecticut$20,000 per person
$40,000 per accident
$10,000 property
Yes
Delaware$25,000 per person
$50,000 per accident
$10,000 property
Yes
Florida$10,000 per person
$20,000 per accident
$10,000 property
No
You may obtain a self-insurance certificate
or financial responsibility certificate
Hawaii$20,000 per person
$40,000 per accident
$10,000 property
Yes
Idaho$25,000 per person
$50,000 per accident
$15,000 property
Yes
Illinois$25,000 per person
$50,000 per accident
$20,000 property
Yes
Indiana$25,000 per person
$50,000 per accident
$25,000 property
Yes
Iowa$20,000 per person
$40,000 per accident
$15,000 property
Yes
Kansas$25,000 per person
$50,000 per accident
$25,000 property
Yes
Kentucky$25,000 per person
$50,000 per accident
$25,000 property
Yes
Louisiana$15,000 per person
$30,000 per accident
$25,000 property
Yes
Maine$50,000 per person
$100,000 per accident
$25,000 property
Yes
Maryland$30,000 per person
$60,000 per accident
$15,000 property
Yes
Massachusetts$20,000 per person
$40,000 per accident
$5,000 property
Yes
Michigan$50,000 per person
$100,000 per accident
$10,000 property
Yes
Minnesota$30,000 per person
$60,000 per accident
$10,000 property
Yes
Mississippi$25,000 per person
$50,000 per accident
$25,000 property
Yes
Missouri$25,000 per person
$50,000 per accident
$25,000 property
Yes
Montana$25,000 per person
$50,000 per accident
$20,000 property
Yes
Nebraska$25,000 per person
$50,000 per accident
$25,000 property
Yes
Nevada$25,000 per person
$50,000 per accident
$20,000 property
Yes
New Hampshire$25,000 per person
$50,000 per accident
$25,000 property
Not required for first incident
New Jersey$15,000 per person
$30,000 per accident
$5,000 property
Yes
New Mexico$25,000 per person
$50,000 per accident
$10,000 property
Yes
New York$25,000 per person
$50,000 per accident
$10,000 property
Yes
North Carolina$30,000 per person
$60,000 per accident
$25,000 property
Yes
North Dakota$25,000 per person
$50,000 per accident
$25,000 property
Yes
Ohio$25,000 per person
$50,000 per accident
$25,000 property
Yes
Oklahoma$25,000 per person
$50,000 per accident
$25,000 property
Yes
Oregon$25,000 per person
$50,000 per accident
$20,000 property
Yes
Pennsylvania$15,000 per person
$30,000 per accident
$5,000 property
Yes
Rhode Island$25,000 per person
$50,000 per accident
$25,000 property
Yes
South Carolina$25,000 per person
$50,000 per accident
$25,000 property
Yes
South Dakota$25,000 per person
$50,000 per accident
$25,000 property
Yes
Tennessee$25,000 per person
$50,000 per accident
$15,000 property
Yes
Texas$30,000 per person
$60,000 per accident
$25,000 property
Yes
Utah$25,000 per person
$65,000 per accident
$15,000 property
Yes
Vermont$25,000 per person
$50,000 per accident
$10,000 property
Yes
Virginia$30,000 per person
$60,000 per accident
$20,000 property
Yes
Washington$25,000 per person
$50,000 accident
$10,000 property
Yes
West Virginia$25,000 per person
$50,000 per accident
$25,000 property
Yes
Wisconsin$25,000 per person
$50,000 per accident
$10,000 property
Yes
Wyoming$25,000 per person
$50,000 per accident
$20,000 property
Yes

Who Is Motorcycle Insurance For?

It is mandatory for motorcycle owners to have at least minimum insurance coverage in their home state. This applies to all street-legal bikes. As you can see in the table above, the minimum requirements vary slightly from state to state.

Since dirt bikes are classified as off-highway vehicles (OHVs), you can’t insure them with a typical motorcycle policy. Though it varies from one state to the next, the general requirement for dirt bikes is insurance for bodily injury and property damage. In some states, such as New Jersey, you also need to register a dirt bike.

If you want more coverage, insurance providers offer a wide range of packages. Motorcycle insurance is suitable if you want to limit your liabilities in terms of:

  • Injuries
  • Collision
  • Vandalism
  • Theft

The amount of liability coverage is usually stated in terms like “25/50/10.” In most states, motorcyclists must have at least $25,000 in bodily injury protection per person, $50,000 per accident, and $10,000 in property damage coverage.

Who Is It Not For?

Generally, motorcycle insurance is for individuals who own motorcycles, including dirt bike owners and motocross racers. The purpose is to protect the person who owns the motorcycle, their investment in the bike, and possibly passengers.

The only type of motorcycle that doesn’t require insurance coverage is a motor bike for small kids.

You do not need motorcycle insurance if you don’t own a motorcycle, even if there’s a risk of being involved in a collision with a motorcycle.

It’s important to note that an insurance company can deny you coverage for a motorcycle. This can happen if:

  • You have a record of riding recklessly
  • The insurer’s area of coverage does not include where you live
  • You are too young or too old (in states where age can be factored into insurance coverage decisions)

What Does Motorcycle Insurance Cost?

Nationally, the overall average cost for motorcycle insurance is $519 a year, according to J.D. Power’s NADA guides. Since that’s the average cost, the price you’ll end up paying could be higher or lower. And, if you want full coverage, the cost can go up by several hundred dollars or more, as that average is $1,773 annually.

The first thing you should know when buying coverage is that motorcycle insurance premiums are issued on an individual basis. As such, what you end up paying will likely differ from what someone else with a similar bike in your city pays. A key factor is the level of coverage you want. Insurers will also evaluate other information to determine the level of risk you pose.

If your risk factor is high, your premiums will be too. Some factors an insurer will consider when calculating a premium for you include:

  • Your driving history — This includes any violations you may have incurred, your history of accidents, and whether you’ve had your license suspended. Such factors indicate your likelihood of filing a claim, and blemishes on your record will increase your insurance rate.
  • Age — The more experience you have riding a motorcycle, the lower your chances are of causing an accident. Insurers assume that older riders have more experience. This is why riders in their teens and early twenties will pay a high premium. As you get older, your premium will gradually continue to decrease until you reach the age of 70 — unless other factors offset your older age.
  • Motorcycle usage — The more time you spend riding, the more likely it is that you will be involved in an incident. Your rates will go up or down depending on how much you use your bike.
  • Location — Your location can affect your motorcycle insurance premiums in two ways. First, there’s an increased risk of theft or accidents in some areas. Second,  weather patterns where you live will influence your riding habits. For example, you may need to keep your bike indoors for extended periods because of snow and ice.

Your bike is also a key factor in how much your insurance will cost. Insurers will take into account the type of bike, as well as its value, theft rating, safety rating, and engine size.

Generally, bikes intended for road use cost more to insure than other types of bikes. This is because dirt bikes and sport bikes are used on nature trails and racing tracks, away from other motorists, which reduces the risk.

This is why the average cost of insuring a dirt bike in the U.S. is $99 a year, while a standard motorcycle policy is $519 a year.

mechanic smiling while posed behind a motorcycle

How Does Insurance for Motorcycles Work?

The key to getting the most out of your motorcycle insurance coverage is understanding how it works. Its purpose is to protect you from liability if you cause an accident. Beyond this, it can also cover damage to your bike.

After your motorcycle insurance application has been reviewed, you’ll receive a quote. Once you sign the insurance policy, you’ll be required to pay the premiums for the duration of your coverage. Should any of the events your policy covers occur, the insurance provider will foot the bill. This reduces the risk on your part.

For the insurance company, this contract with you is an opportunity to make money — you pay the premiums whether an incident occurs or not.

But what if you are involved in an accident, and the cost of repairs exceeds your premiums? This is where the concept of pooling risks comes into play. When this happens, the insurance company will use the proceeds from other policy owners who have not been involved in an accident.

Generally, insurance providers price their policies in relation to the likelihood of such incidents occurring. As a result, even after paying valid claims, they are able to make a tidy profit.

What You Should Know

While you may be eager to take your new bike for a spin, getting insurance coverage first is advisable. Know that different coverage options are available. When making a choice, consider your needs and your intended use of the motorcycle.

Such options include:

  • Liability insurance — If you cause an accident, this policy will cover the cost of property damage and bodily injury to other people. It does not include injuries you sustain or damage to your motorcycle.
  • Collision coverage —  This insurance policy will provide compensation for damage to your motorcycle caused by an accident. The maximum compensation available is the book value of your bike before the collision, less your deductible.
  • Comprehensive coverage — This policy covers non-accident-related damages resulting from incidents such as theft, vandalism, or fire. Similar to collision insurance, the maximum compensation would typically be the motorcycle’s book value before the incident, less your deductible.
  • Uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage — This policy covers injuries and damage to your property resulting from an accident caused by another party if they do not have insurance, or if their insurance is not adequate to cover costs. UM/UIM policies can also cover costs such as lost wages and medical bills.
  • Personal injury protection (PIP) — This policy covers the cost of injuries to you, your passenger, or pedestrians, regardless of who causes the accident. While some insurance providers may include this in their basic package, it varies from one state to another. Usually, it’s separate in states where there’s a high rate of motorcycle accidents.

In addition to the options above, there are some other types of coverage you may be interested in, such as:

  • Coverage for custom equipment, parts, and accessories
  • Roadside assistance
  • Trip interruption coverage

    Modified Bikes Lead to Higher Insurance Premiums

There’s no denying that modified bikes have a unique appeal. However, before buying a modified bike or making modifications to a bike you own, remember that you’ll have to pay a higher premium. This is true for at least two reasons:

  • The repair costs of a modified bike are higher
  • Modifications make your bike more appealing to thieves

How to Choose the Best Motorcycle Insurance

Determining the right motorcycle coverage can be challenging, as there are many things to consider. Still, it’s a step you can’t afford to get wrong. Here’s a breakdown of why certain options may be suitable for you:

  • Minimum coverage — This is the bare minimum requirement, and it can vary from one state to the next. Generally, this option comes with a maximum coverage per person, for bodily injury, and per accident. Minimum coverage is a good option if you are not a frequent rider, live in a relatively safe area, or can’t afford additional coverage.
  • Collision coverage — It’s important to note that minimum coverage does not cover the cost of repairing your bike if it is damaged in an accident. If you want to avoid paying for those repair bills out of pocket, then you should get collision coverage.
  • Comprehensive coverage — Beyond damage from an accident, there are other threats to your motorcycle. These include theft, vandalism, fire, and natural disasters, such as floods. If you want your bike protected against such threats, then you’ll want a comprehensive coverage policy.
  • Uninsured and underinsured motorcycle coverage — While you may do your part to protect other parties by being insured, not all motorists do. This type of coverage ensures that you’ll be protected if you’re the victim of a negligent and uninsured motorist.

As you determine which insurance package to purchase, there are key considerations you should make:

  • How frequently and where you’ll be riding, to determine your risk
  • The value of the motorcycle, to know the appropriate policy value
  • How much you can afford to spend on repairs out of pocket

For many riders, a combination of minimum and collision coverage is a popular choice. If you want the cheapest option, go for just the minimum coverage. But for the highest level of protection, you’ll need a policy that also includes collision, comprehensive, and UM/UIM insurance.

How to Get the Best Deal

Beyond choosing the right insurance coverage for your needs, you also want to get as much value as possible. This may mean getting the best rate, additional perks, and a reliable provider. In this regard, you should know:

Where to Look

When it comes to motorcycle insurance policies, there are plenty of options and providers. Going in person to each company’s office would be tedious and time-consuming. Instead, you can search for providers and fill out forms online.

If you want to simplify the process even more, you can use an independent insurance agency. Another benefit of choosing an independent agency is access to special discounts.

What to Look For

While an affordable rate and some perks on your policy are excellent to have, they’re not the most important things to consider when purchasing insurance coverage. For you to get actual value from your policy, the provider must be reliable. In this regard, consider the following:

  • The claims process — Ask your insurance agent what’s involved in filing a claim and getting paid
  • Coverage terms — Review the policy thoroughly to make sure you understand exactly what is covered (and what isn’t)
  • Company ratings and reviews — You can check ratings from agencies such as A.M. Best and Demotech, as well as reviews from the company’s website and social media pages
biker holding a helmet; motorcycle visible in the background

What You Should Not Do

When applying for motorcycle insurance, it’s essential that everything is done correctly. Otherwise, your policy may become invalid, or it may not provide the necessary coverage. Some critical mistakes to avoid include:

  • Not doing enough research
  • Choosing low deductibles
  • Providing inaccurate details
  • Not renewing your policy on time
  • Failing to take advantage of the “no claim bonus” (a reduction on your annual premium for not making any claims in the previous year)

What You Should Do

In your search for motorcycle coverage, you want to get the right policy, from a trustworthy provider, and at the right price. To achieve all of this, you need to go about it methodically. Here are some steps you should follow:

  • Deepen your knowledge of the types of motorcycle insurance coverage
  • Determine your riding frequency and other coverage needs
  • Reach out to an independent insurance agency for options or do thorough research
  • Request quotes from several suitable providers
  • Contact your current home and auto insurance provider for a bundle discount
  • Choose a provider and initiate the process
  • Provide accurate details
  • Read the insurance policy carefully and ask for clarification or amendments if need be
  • Buy the coverage and enjoy your motorcycle!

At this stage, it’s important to keep your options open. Even if you have an insurance provider and they offer a decent discount, you should evaluate other offers too. You can also request bundled offers for all of your insurance needs from a new provider.

Frequently Asked Questions

When buying motorcycle insurance, people often have a lot of questions. Here are some of the most common ones:

1. Is it mandatory to have motorcycle insurance?

To put it simply, yes. In each state, there are bare minimum insurance requirements for motorcycle owners. If you want to know the specific state minimum motorcycle liability insurance requirements that apply to you, check out your state’s DMV or Department of Insurance website.

2. Do I need motorcycle insurance if I already have auto insurance?

Your auto insurance only covers accidents or damage involving your car or truck. However, you can call your auto insurance provider and bundle the policies to receive a better rate.

3. How much does motorcycle insurance cost?

The national average annual cost of motorcycle insurance is $519, but you could pay more or less than that. Among the factors that will affect the rate you’ll pay are your age, location, and driving record.

Key Takeaways

Although motorcycle insurance is mandatory, try to look at it as an opportunity to reduce or eliminate your liabilities. While you may be a careful rider, others on the road may not be. Each time you’re out on the road, there are risks.

Having motorcycle insurance, depending on the policy you choose, can cover the cost of repairs, medical treatment, and time off from work. It can even replace your bike if need be. So, it’s all about how much you want to protect yourself and your bike.

References

State Websites

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