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As a motorcyclist, several things may come to mind when you jump on your bike – helmet, leathers, boots, gas, tires – but insurance coverage may not be among them.
It should be.
“Insurance is an absolute when it comes to motorcycles,” says Ben Galbreath, an independent insurance agent with Wallace & Turner Insurance in Springfield, Ohio. “I recommend the maximum medical payment amount and advise clients to at least match their auto insurance bodily injury and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.”
Like car insurance, motorcycle insurance protects you from being liable if you’re in an accident. It is required in every state except Florida, Washington, Montana and New Hampshire. But it’s separate from car insurance, and it tends to cost less; the average motorcycle insurance policy is $519 across the U.S., according to data from J.D. Power’s NADAguides. Because of several factors that play into the cost of motorcycle insurance, your actual cost can range into the thousands, depending on the state you live in, your gender, your driving record, and the insurer.
Our Picks for the Best Motorcycle Insurance Companies
The company you choose to insure you and your motorcycle will make a big difference in your cost. That’s why every biker should compare rates before settling on a policy. Whether you are looking for your first motorcycle insurance or just shopping around, we think these companies are worth considering for motorcycle insurance.
For average prices, we used data from J.D. Power’s NADAguides, based on an 18-year-old rider in New York. Rates can vary significantly based on your personal needs and budget.
GEICO stands out for its affordability when it comes to motorcycle coverage. Not only does GEICO offer cheap coverage if you’re a daily motorcycle rider, but it also offers mobile tools to manage your policy. GEICO has standard motorcycle coverage options, as well as optional add-ons, such as accessories coverage and emergency roadside service. It also has an excellent rating from A.M. Best, which measures the financial solidity of an insurer and therefore its ability to pay out claims.
Plus, you can take advantage of seven different discounts with GEICO. For example, you can get 10% off your premium if you switch from a different carrier or a discount if you insure more than one motorcycle with GEICO.
Average Annual Premium: $345
A.M. Best Rate: A++
Number of Motorcycle Insurance Discounts: 7
Nationwide has a wide array of coverage options and plenty of discounts. Founded in 1926, Nationwide has been insuring motorcycles for a long time. Its rates are based on year-round coverage. With Nationwide, you also have the option to customize your policy and protect up to 12 bikes on one policy with coverage up to $50,000 per bike, custom parts (up to $30,000), custom bikes and trikes (up to $50,000), and motorcycle trailers. It also offers up to eight different discounts for motorcycle insurance.
Average Annual Premium: $367*
A.M. Best Rate: A+
Number of Motorcycle Insurance Discounts: 8
Progressive’s discounts and coverage add-ons, many of which are included at no additional cost, make it a great choice for people who ride their motorcycles often. All of Progressive’s motorcycle insurance policies automatically include full replacement cost and no depreciation for parts; $3,000 of coverage with comprehensive and collision to pay for upgrades, customizations, equipment, and accessories; and Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) parts during repairs.
Progressive also writes policies for a wide range of bikes, including regular motorcycles and mopeds, dirt bikes, sportbikes, performance bikes, autocycles, enduro bikes, touring bikes, trikes, collectibles, scooters, ATVs and UTVs.
Average Annual Premium: $704*
A.M. Best Rate: A+
Number of Motorcycle Insurance Discounts: 10
Markel may be the most costly of the list, but it claims to specialize in motorcycle insurance, and that shows through in its policy options. Besides standard offerings, Markel also has a variety of additional coverage options. Most notably, Markel’s mechanical breakdown coverage, rental reimbursement, and accident forgiveness program could be a massive help to frequent riders and isn’t as commonly available at other insurance companies. This company also makes it easy to bring the cost of motorcycle insurance down with its numerous discounts.
Average Annual Premium: $861*
A.M. Best Rate: A
Number of Motorcycle Insurance Discounts: 7
Types of Motorcycle Insurance
It’s required for motorcycle riders in most states to buy liability coverage, as that type of insurance compensates others for injuries and damages should you cause an accident. Outside of your state’s minimum requirements, motorcycle insurance coverage can be as broad or as small as you would like it.
“The hurdles you might run into is each insurance company underwrites motorcycle coverage differently,” says Galbreath. “They restrict certain coverages to a maximum they will make available, i.e. medical payment, liability coverage, or even possibly deductibles.”
Galbreath says riders should also consider coverage for people who ride with them, which is also known as guest passenger liability coverage. The coverage that comes into play is medical payments, and possibly bodily injury and or uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, depending on your state and insurer. Some insurers automatically include guest passenger liability coverage in their policies, and some sell it as a separate add-on.
Pay attention to discounts and benefits that can offer you more protection for less money. To do that, shop around and compare policies from different insurers at least once a year.
It’s important to understand the different types of motorcycle insurance, so you can buy the best coverage for your budget and needs. The most common types of motorcycle coverage are:
- Bodily injury liability: Standard coverage that protects you financially against the cost of damages to other vehicles and injuries to others and lawsuits if you’re at-fault in a motorcycle accident.
- Motorcycle collision: If your bike is damaged in an accident, this type of coverage pays to repair or replace it.
- Comprehensive coverage: This type of coverage pays to fix or replace your motorcycle for damages caused by theft, vandalism, collision with an animal, or fire.
- Coverage for custom parts: Most comprehensive and collision policies only cover original factory parts. Coverage for custom parts takes into account sidecars, chrome parts, and custom paint jobs, and other items.
- Uninsured/ underinsured motorist coverage: Standard coverage that protects you and your property if you’re in an accident with someone who doesn’t have enough insurance or doesn’t have insurance at all.
- Motorcycle medical payments coverage. This coverage can help pay for you and your passengers’ medical bills if you’re in an accident, regardless of who’s at fault.
- Roadside assistance coverage: If your bike is stuck or breaks down somewhere, a roadside assistance program can provide services and minor mechanical repairs to your motorcycle to make it operable again after a breakdown. For example, Progressive will tow your bike to the nearest repair shop for free.
What Factors Influence the Cost of Motorcycle Insurance?
When purchasing coverage, you will need to provide full transparency on your bike and how you ride. Your insurer will want to know where you tend to go, how far you tend to ride, whether you have other riders, your bike’s worth, and where you park your bike.
Most motorcycle policies come with a “lay-up credit,” which allows you to pause your coverage for part of the year. Most riders take advantage of this in the winter when they put their bikes in storage or in the garage. A lay-up credit can help build longevity and trust with one insurance company, and it could lower your rate over time.
Here are some of the factors that come into play when determining a premium:
- Age and riding experience
- Frequency of use
- Speeding and traffic tickets
- Accident and claim history
- Type of bike
- Your credit rating
- Coverage selection
- Amount of deductible
Frequently Asked Questions
Is motorcycle insurance cheaper than car insurance?
Motorcycle insurance tends to be cheaper than car insurance. The average cost of car insurance is $1,674 per year, while motorcycle policies average $519 per year. But what you pay for motorcycle insurance depends on many factors, particularly the bike’s worth, your driving history, and where you live.
Are there motorcycle insurance discounts?
Most major insurance companies offer motorcycle insurance discounts. All of our top picks for motorcycle insurance companies offer more than five discounts. Common motorcycle insurance discounts include multiple motorcycle discounts, multi-policy discounts, safe rider discounts, policy transfer discounts, and motorcycle organization membership discounts, among others.
Do I need separate insurance for my motorcycle?
Yes, most states require motorcycle owners to carry some amount of liability insurance. That’s the minimum amount of motorcycle insurance you need to legally ride a bike, but most experts recommend getting more than your state minimum amount. Motorcycle insurance lives on its own and is different from other types of insurance like auto, home, and life.
Can I bundle auto and motorcycle insurance?
Yes, you can typically bundle your auto and motorcycle insurance as long as your provider offers them both. Bundling your auto and motorcycle insurance can be a convenient way to save money. Insurance companies want your business, so the majority encourage you to insure multiple vehicles at once with the same company. They’ll even usually give you a multi-policy discount of up to 5% to 20% for bundling.