Motorcycle Insurance Guide
You probably know that motorcycle insurance will cover you, your passengers, and property damage if ever in an accident. What you may not realize, however, is that it’s legally required in addition to the policy you have on your car.
To better explain the insurance requirements for motorcycles, our team put together this handy guide. In it, you will get quick overviews of the many coverages, discounts, and provider options out there to choose from and why it’s so vital that you have a policy. Let’s get started!
A Complete Guide to Motorcycle Insurance
Motorcycle Insurance Requirements
Currently, every state in the U.S. has specific insurance coverage requirements for motorcycle riders. Florida is the only exception to this rule and allows bike owners to ride uninsured so long as they can prove their financial capability to pay for damages they cause. One must also carry at least $10,000 in medical benefits to cover injuries suffered from a collision in the Sunshine State.
While there are countless insurers to buy a policy from, the amount of coverage you must have is determined by the laws of your state. Most demand that riders carry a minimum of $25,000 in bodily injury protection per person with $50,000 in coverage per accident. In addition to these coverages, property damage requirements are typically around $10,000 per accident.
When looking up your state’s minimum motorcycle insurance coverage requirements, you may see it listed in an odd value. For example, California’s values appear as follows: 15/30/5. What does this stand for? That’s a great question! Let’s break it down.
Value 1: 15
This is the amount of insurance coverage you need to have for bodily injury protection for one person, which in this case is $15,000.
Value 2: 30
This number represents how much coverage per victim is necessary if more than one person is involved. This value is $30,000, the minimum required by California law.
Value 3: 5
This indicates how much property damage your insurance must cover in California, which is $5,000 in this example.
Now that you understand this breakdown, here are a few more examples:
$25,000 for death or bodily injury to a single victim
$50,000 for the same but with two or more victims
$20,000 for property damage
$25,000 for death or bodily injury to a single victim
$50,000 for death or bodily injury to two or more victims
$10,000 for property damage
You can see that these amounts can vary significantly, so make sure to do your research when shopping for a motorcycle insurance policy, so you have adequate coverage.
Motorcycle Insurance Coverage Options
Before you call an insurance company, browse their site and get familiar with the different coverage options for motorcycles. Below are some of the more common policies you can purchase:
This type of coverage should help with most things that don’t involve an accident. For example, if your bike were to be stolen. It likely covers up to the cost of your motorbike.
Bodily Injury Liability Coverage
This type of coverage should help with medical bills and lost wages the other driver incurs from an accident.
Property Damage Liability Coverage
When you damage another person’s property with your motorcycle, this policy pays for the loss.
Medical Bill Coverage
Insurers in California are required by law to offer policyholders the option of purchasing Med Pay coverage starting at a minimum of $1,000 in benefit. However, many carriers offer policies with higher limits. State Farm, for example, offers up to $100,000 in Med Pay coverage.
Underinsured Motorist Coverage
If you get into an accident with an underinsured/uninsured driver, you’ll want to have this coverage. Because California is not a no-fault state, you have the right to sue the liable driver. But, if they aren’t insured or don’t have the financial resources to pay for damages, you won’t have a way to recover your losses. This policy ensures you don’t end up in this situation.
Personal Injury Protection Coverage
This policy reimburses your medical expenses after a bike accident, regardless of who is at fault. Unfortunately, it’s not available in states like California, Missouri, or even Chicago, but if you live in a state that requires it or has insurers that can offer it, definitely consider buying this coverage.
Motorcycle Insurance Lay-Up Periods
If you live in an area that experiences a lot of rain or snow during the year, then lay-up periods are something you’ll want to consider. The lay-up policy allows you to suspend your coverages during periods of snow when you wouldn’t be going out on the road.
This option can also earn you a discount with your insurer and is an excellent option for those who can’t ride their bikes year-round. So, make sure you ask about this option.
Motorcycle Insurance Discounts
Many insurance providers offer discounts on their insurance, which everyone should look into since rates seem to rise every renewal period. If you also have a car, you might be able to bundle your insurance together to get deeper discounts.
California Good Driver Discount
If you are a good driver and a resident of California, you may qualify for this discount if you haven’t committed any serious traffic violations in the past 3 – 5 years. It’s a decent savings too, up to 20% off your premium!
Motorcycle Safety Course Discounts
Almost every insurer across the United States will offer some sort of a discount on motorcycle policyholders who have completed approved rider safety courses. For example, Geico will discount your policy up to 10% if you complete a Motorcycle Safety Foundation course or Military Safety Course.
States like California and New York have made it mandatory to wear a helmet while riding a motorcycle. While not true of every insurer, many offer some sort of a discount for riders who wear their helmets.
Motorcycle Riding Association Discount
Another easy way to slim down your motorcycle insurance premiums is being a member of an approved rider group. Some participants have reported getting 10% off their premiums for joining.
Some of the associations that often qualify for a percentage of savings include:
- Motorcycle Safety Foundation
- Harley Owners Group
- Road Rider Association
- Good Wing Touring
- American Motorcycle Association
- Motorcycle Touring Association
- BMW Motorcycle Owners of America
- Honda Riders Club of America
Insurance For Destroyed or Stolen Bikes
If you want to protect your bike thoroughly, we recommend that you get comprehensive coverage. This type of insurance can cover up to the value of your motorcycle, so you can make repairs or get it replaced.
To file a claim on a lost or stolen bike, you’ll need to give your provider the following information:
- Year, make, model of the bike
- Mileage on the bike
- Where and when it was stolen
- A police report number
(You need to contact the police and file a report about the stolen bike before contacting your insurance provider)
Where to Buy Motorcycle Insurance
There are so many different insurance companies out there to choose from that provide motorcycle insurance policies. To get the best deal, you’ll want to shop around and find the best coverage for your needs at the right price.
These are just some of the most popular providers for you to look into. You can also consider options that are local to your area.
- Harley Davidson
- David Jones
- Burns & Burns Insurance