Motorcycle Insurance Basics


Do warmer weather and rising fuel prices have you dreaming of a motorcycle or motorized scooter? Before you buy, check out the cost of the most essential piece of equipment for your two-wheeler: motorcycle insurance. Don’t leave the dealer’s lot or the driveway without it.

Motorcycle insurance works pretty much like auto or car insurance, with some exceptions. Most notable is medical coverage. Some cheap motorcycle insurance policies may offer bare-bones medical coverage or no medical at all. If you own the bike outright, and depending on the state you live in, you may be legally required to carry only liability insurance – which covers damages to the other guy involved in an accident . But skipping medical coverage is not a smart place to economize on motorcycle insurance when even a 5mph accident on a bike can land you in the ICU. You should also be aware that your liability coverage may not cover injuries to your passenger.

If you financed your motorcycle or own a very valuable vehicle, you’re going to need comprehensive and collision insurance to cover replacement of a wrecked or stolen bike. Either way, be sure your motorcycle insurance pays the cost to replace your bike if it’s wrecked rather than only paying depreciated value.

As with  auto insurance , your motorcycle insurance premiums are going to be partly based on your driving record and credit score. If you’re reckless driving a sedan, the insurance company reasons that behavior will extend to your motorcycle driving habits.

Insurance for motorcyclists will also be based on the type of motorcycle you own and the type of equipment you’ve added to it. A 50cc scooter with a utility basket will be relatively cheap to insure. Motorcycle insurance for a customized chopper with a monster engine tarted up with lots of chrome bells and whistles will cost considerably more.

The distance you drive the motorcycle, what you use it for (e.g. daily commuting versus weekend pleasure trips) and the part of the country you live in can all have an impact on the price you pay for motorcycle insurance. Your age will affect your motorcycle insurance costs, too. But you knew that was coming.

Motorcycle insurance discounts may be available. Look for multi-bike, multi-vehicle or multi-policy insurance discounts. Membership in certain associations can bring your motorcycle insurance premium costs down a bit, too. Certain northern states, where winter weather precludes year-round riding, offer lay-up policies that suspend all but your comprehensive coverage for a period of time. And if your state doesn’t already require you to take a special training course to obtain a motorcycle license, take one anyway. Not only will it make you a better, safer cyclist, it may net you a 10 to 15 percent motorcycle insurance discount.

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