- Fair value covered loss
*J.D. Power’s 2020 Insurance Shopping Study. Based on a 1,000-point scale.
Motorcycle Insurance: What You Need to Know
There are many different kinds of motorcycles, including:
- Cruisers: Common models where the rider places their feet forward and hands up high on the bars. This causes the rider to sit with the spine erect or slightly leaning back.
- Touring motorcycles: These models are generally “wider” with larger fairings and screens to offer better wind and weather protection during long rides. Seating posture is more relaxed, with most models also featuring panniers or saddlebags.
- Sportbikes: Focused more on speed and acceleration. Riders straddle the motorcycle with higher footpegs to curl the legs up closer to the body to improve ground clearance.
- Sport-touring motorcycles: Combines the comfort and luggage space of a touring motorcycle with the speed and handling of a sportbike.
- Dirt bikes: These off-road motorcycles are light and durable to handle travel over uneven surfaces that are not conventionally paved. Tires are knobby to improve traction.
- Trikes: Also known as motorized tricycles. Similar to a motorcycle, only with three wheels. The handling is also different with many models, featuring housing that encloses the rider almost like a car.
Knowing what kind of motorcycle you’re trying to insure will help you when it comes time to determine coverage, as each of these tend to have their own traits and risks that help insurance providers adjust policies accordingly.
Insuring a dirt bike might be less expensive than covering a brand-new cruiser. Once you know what you’re covering, you can have a better idea of what to expect when gathering quotes.
Essential Motorcycle Insurance Coverage
In most states, you’re legal to ride with only bare-bones liability coverage, which could potentially cost as little at $75 per year. Washington, Florida, Montana, and New Hampshire don’t require any motorcycle insurance. However, the agents and lawyers we spoke with agree that state minimums don’t reflect the reality of costs associated with an accident. They recommend five essential coverage options (with relatively high limits) to make sure you’re truly covered in the event of an accident or theft:
Covers damage caused by a collision with another vehicle. Most common accidents qualify as collisions, so this is the coverage you’ll likely use most.
Covers theft or damage caused by something other than a collision with another car or object. This includes vandalism, natural disasters, and damage caused by animals.
The amount your provider will pay out to the injured party if you’re at-fault in an accident. Experts recommend getting as much as you can afford, but 100/ 300/ 50 is a good starting point. (That’s $100,000 per person injured, up to $300,000 per accident, plus $50,000 in property damage.)
Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage
This covers your own repairs and medical bills if the person who hits you is un- or underinsured. As with liability, we suggest getting the highest limits you can — but at least 100/ 300 is highly recommended ($100,000 per person, or up to $300,000 total per accident).
Buy as much liability insurance as you can afford
While the more liability insurance you add to your policy, the more expensive your premium, poor coverage can really hurt you in the long run. If you hit someone and are underinsured, there’s a chance they may sue you to cover their losses — which could end up costing you your home or other assets. Attorney Chris Johnston suggests starting with at least 100/300 ($100,000 per person injured, up to $300,000 total per accident). However, with the right policy, it costs as little as a few dollars per year to get the most liability coverage your provider offers. That’s a small price for a lot of peace of mind.
With the right policy, motorcycle insurance can cover anything from repairs for your bike to replacement costs for your favorite leather jacket — you just have to choose a provider that covers what’s important to you.
Motorcycle insurance companies offer supplemental and add-on coverage, such as:
- Custom parts and equipment
- Roadside assistance
- Trip interruption
- Guest passenger liability
- Accessory, safety gear, and equipment
- Total loss coverage
- Vintage/antique bikes
Don’t settle for the first company you look at. Every provider has a unique underwriting process, meaning it’ll evaluate your “risk factors” (like age, bike model, and driving history) a little differently and come up with a personalized quote. You won’t know which one can offer you the best premium until you’ve looked at a few. That’s why we always recommend comparing quotes from multiple providers to find the coverage you need at the right price.
Don’t forget about medical coverage
Our insurance experts highly recommend an insurance policy with medical coverage. Brian Dunmire, motorcycle accident attorney, recommends PIP or medpay in the amount of at least $10,000. He points out that “oftentimes, these coverages can be added to your insurance policy for only a few dollars a month,” and they’ll be a huge help with medical bills.
The type of medical coverage offered with motorcycle insurance varies by state; typically you’re looking at personal injury protection (PIP) or medpay. PIP, or “no fault” insurance, is available in 24 states and required in 17 of them. It covers health insurance deductibles, medical copays, lost wages, and other costs — regardless of who is at fault in an accident. Medpay is similar to PIP but less comprehensive. It works with health insurance to cover deductibles and copays but won’t supplement lost wages, child care, or funeral expenses, like PIP will.
Does Motorcycle Insurance Cover Theft?
Motorcycle theft coverage is usually part of the comprehensive coverage on a motorcycle insurance policy. When your motorcycle is stolen, you need to file a motorcycle theft claim with your insurance provider after reporting the theft to the police. From there, you will need to provide your claims adjuster with all the pertinent information to make sure you are properly compensated. This information includes:
- Police report number
- Date, time, and location of theft
- Your motorcycle’s year, make, model, and mileage
- All existing photos and receipts for any custom parts or accessories
You will also need to sign over the title of your motorcycle to the insurance company. If you still owe money to a bank for a loan, you will need to get the bank to sign off.
Once you have done all this, it’s just a waiting game where one of two things will happen first:
- The authorities will recover your motorcycle
- The entire motorcycle theft claims process will finish and you’re compensated
In the event that your motorcycle is recovered, the comprehensive coverage will go toward repair costs. If your motorcycle turns up after you’ve gone through the motorcycle claims process, then it is now the property of the insurance company.
We evaluated motorcycle insurance companies based on discounts, coverage, claim filing, financial strength and customer satisfaction to determine Reviews.com scores and create our best motorcycle insurance reviews. To compare motorcycle insurance companies with other providers across the board, we calculate each Reviews.com score based on the following:
- Discounts: Motorcycle insurance companies that advertised more discounts received higher scores in our methodology
- Financial Stability: Reviews.com utilized AM Best ratings to assign a score based on each motorcycle insurance company’s financial stability.
- Customer Satisfaction: Because J.D. Power does not study motorcycle insurance customer satisfaction, we utilized J.D. Power’s 2020 Insurance Shopping Satisfaction Study for auto insurers.
- Coverage: Motorcycle insurance companies were awarded higher scores for advertised coverages beyond the body liability, property liability, collision and personal injury protection.
- Claims Filing: Reviews.com compared each company’s claims filing process — companies that had mobile claims filing scored the highest in this metric.