Motorcycle Insurance

The more you know and understand about motorcycle insurance, accident coverage, and your own policy, the better off you are.

Ask the following "starter" questions to understand the types and extent of coverage (also ask about rate increase or decrease situations). You’ll think of more questions as you go.

Who or What is Covered?

  1. How long have you insured motorcyclists or scooter riders?

    WHN TIP: History Matters

    Make sure that this insurance company has a history with insuring motorcyclists. Do they know the difference between a hard bag and a soft bag? Are their customers satisfied?
    – Denise Maple, VaVaVroom, a company designs motorcycle wear for women riders
  2. Describe the different levels of coverage that are available for my motorcycle's make and model.
  3. What is the difference between liability, comprehensive, collision and full coverage insurance in terms of financial costs and also in terms of extent of coverage?

    WHN TIP: What Does That Mean?!

    Have the agent take the time and walk you through the insurance process. Ask them to go through the coverage terms and options for you to choose from. Don’t understand terms? Ask questions!
    - Thom D'Angelo, Motosport brokerage

    WHN TIP: Liability

    Pay particular attention to liability. Many states only require that you have a minimum of $20,000 of coverage. That’s not very much. If you ride your bike into a crowd of people and cause injuries, you will be held liable for their medical bills which could be a lot more than $20,000.
    – Dean Akey, Allstate insurance agent and founder and president of Rescue Riders
  4. Who is covered under this policy? Are other licensed drivers (friends, family members) covered if they drive my motorcycle?

    WHN TIP: Passengers

    Ask about “guest” liability. Will passengers be covered?
    – Dean Akey, Allstate insurance agent and founder and president of Rescue Riders
  5. Does the policy include roadside assistance?
    • If not, does the company offer it, how much is it and what geographic areas does it include?
    • Are there certain times and services (flat tire, towing, accident, etc.) that are/aren’t included?
  6. Does this insurance policy cover me anywhere in the country? What about outside of the country?
  7. Are personal items/features on my motorcycle covered in case of an accident or theft? Do I need a rider on certain items if I’d like that option?

WHN TIP: Add-Ons

If you make improvements or add extra features to your bike, upgrade your policy. I bought a new Road King for $17,000 but with all the work I put in it’s probably worth close to $40,000 today. Unless you add the new features to your policy, they won’t be covered
– Dean Akey, Allstate insurance agent and founder and president of Rescue Riders

How Much...

  1. How much is “basic” coverage for a motorcycle insurance policy?
    • Please give me a breakdown of the benefits I have, and how much it will be to insure myself at the level I’m comfortable with.

    WHN TIP: Get the Most Coverage You Can Afford

    You should be more concerned about liability insurance then protecting your motorcycle. If you’re held liable for damages, you have more to lose and your assets could be in danger.
    - Thom D'Angelo, Motosport brokerage
  2. Tell me where I fit in with national averages – am I paying average, more, or less, and what factors into your answers?
    • Are there certain models that cost more to insure? Do I have one?
    • What motorcycles/scooters get the lowest insurance rates?

    WHN TIP: Costs May Vary

    Your policy costs may vary depending on your age, the type of bike, your zip code, driving record, if it’s parked in a garage or carport, if it is financed or owned outright, and deductible levels. The bottom line is to do lots of homework and shopping around with various insurance companies or a good independent agent that represents multiple companies
    - Ron Arieli, president and owner of T.E.A.M. Arizona Motorcyclist Training Centers.
  3. What factors increase a policy cost?

    WHN TIP: Super Bikes

    Do you really need a high-performance machine? If so, you'll pay a ridiculously high rate just for basic coverage. A more sensible motorcycle may meet your needs.
    - Dave Mannato, sales agent at the Matador Insurance Agency, Latham, NY.
  4. What discounts do you offer? Many insurance companies offer a discount if you have multiple policies (home, theft, auto, business, etc.) or multiple bikes?

    WHN TIP: Safety Courses

    Many insurance companies offer discounts if you take a motorcycle safety course such as the ones offered by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF).
    - Denise Maple, founder and owner of VaVaVroom, a company that designs motorcycle wear for women riders

    WHN TIP: Winter Months

    In many northern states, riders may save money by buying a "lay-up" policy. With a lay-up policy, all coverage except comprehensive is suspended during winter months. Ask your agent about this option.
    – Insurance Information Institute
  5. What are my payment options? Annual payments, bi-annual, monthly, etc.?
  6. What is the length of time that the policy is in effect? What can result in the policy being canceled or premiums raised?

Visit your insurance company’s site for background information, descriptions and definitions of insurance terms. For any question, tell the agent to discuss options available to you, what situations warrant certain kinds of coverage and how much services add to your policy. They are always happy to help.

WHN TIP: After You Get Insurance

Don't forget to tell your agent if you make any upgrades to the vehicles, like new saddlebags, for example. They will not be covered if you don't have them included in the policy or with a rider. – Denise Maple, Va Va Vroom, a company that designs motorcycle wear for women riders

The information provided here is not meant to be a substitute for professional advice. These tips are from experts and people who have shared their real life advice; always check with appropriate professionals you trust in making your purchasing or life-related decisions.