• December 20, 2017 - We’ve completely overhauled this review with a more rigorous evaluation of each provider’s coverage, discounts, and premiums. Progressive and Markel maintained their place at the top, but Nationwide's slightly better coverage beat out Foremost for the number three spot.

The 3 Best Motorcycle Insurance Companies

  • Progressive

    Most coverage options, great online tools

  • Markel Motorcycle Insurance

    Specialized insurance for everyday bikers

  • Nationwide Insurance

    The convenience of a big company at a pared-down price

Our top pick, Progressive, offers more coverage options than any other provider, so you can build a policy that's perfectly tailored to you and your ride. We’re especially impressed with Progressive’s dedication to specialty motorcycles: It’s the only company we looked at that insures antique, vintage, and custom motorcycles for their “actual agreed value,” meaning you’re covered for what they’re really worth — not a depreciated value. In addition, Progressive is a large, established company and as such brings certain amenities to the table. Its website is seamless, making it a breeze to get quotes and file claims. And you have access to a range of services, from 24/7 customer service and live chat, to a mobile app that lets you upload photos to your claim document in real time.

Markel, a close runner-up, specializes in motorcycle insurance. We can tell from its policy options that this company is dedicated to serious riders. Markel has a couple standout coverage options, like mechanical breakdown insurance and rental reimbursement, that are especially important if your bike is your main or only form of transportation. These options will have you covered in case of any breakdown or accident, and get you back on the road as soon as possible. You also have access to a 24/7 claims center and online filing with Markel, although its website is clunky and less intuitive to use than Progressive’s. And while Markel doesn’t offer the extensive list of discounts that Progressive does, it still might be the cheapest option for you.

Nationwide is also worth considering for its standard coverage: life, limb, and property for you and other motorists. The only drawback is that Nationwide has fewer “extra” coverages than our other top picks. It doesn’t have as many options for covering specialty bikes as Progressive, nor does it share those everyday rider protections we loved from Markel. Even so, Nationwide offers all the same big-company perks: 24/7 claim filing on the phone, online, and through the app, plus a quick and simple online quote process. It also has number of discounts you could qualify for, so it’s definitely worth getting a quote to see if Nationwide is right for you.

How We Found the Best Motorcycle Insurance

We started with 31 nationwide companies that offer coverage in every (or almost every) state, without any special eligibility requirements. We wanted to find providers that we could recommend to anybody.

There are plenty of smaller, niche companies like Riders Insurance or California Casualty, who cater to a regional customer base. However, it’s important to make sure that your provider will strike the right balance between affordability, good coverage, and great service. Larger companies tend to offer the tools that make claim-filing and policy-shopping as painless as possible.

“The old adage of ‘you get what you pay for’ often applies. It is usually a smoother, easier process to have claims handled by the more established companies.”

Special eligibility requirements knocked out a handful of carriers; most notably USAA, which insures active and retired US military members and their families. USAA consistently draws high praise, so if you are eligible, we highly recommend considering it as an option.

First, we cut out the middlemen.

A number of insurers don’t administer their own policies, but rather provide some combination of options involving customer service, brokerage, or claims reporting. These companies are essentially middlemen, and aren’t the ones responsible for shelling out when you’ve got a claim. Knowing and working with a provider that administers its own policy eliminates uncertainties - like what will happen to your policy if one of the companies involved goes out of business. To really evaluate the insurance options out there, we wanted to go to the source and focus on companies that are beginning-to-end providers.

Then we looked for strong financial ratings.

This is the meat and potatoes of what you’re paying for: The ability to file a claim and have your insurance provider actually pay up. If a company is ultimately unable to cut you a check, then you’ll be left paying out of pocket in the event of an accident. There are a number of independent agencies that rate insurance companies for their financial strength. In short, they verify that a company is solvent enough to be able to pay out on any claim that’s filed.

We only considered companies with “superior” financial strength ratings (A or higher) from A.M. Best, an independent ratings agency that focuses on insurance. Then, because the Insurance Information Institute recommends comparing scores from two or more agencies (sometimes they disagree), we required a “strong” (A) rating from Standard & Poor’s or a “high quality” (Aa) rating from Moody’s. Providers with sub-par scores, or with fewer than two ratings, were cut from the running. All of our top picks are guaranteed to have the means to pay out on your policy if and when you need them to.

We made sure these providers have you covered where it counts.

In most states, you’re legal to ride with only bare-bones liability coverage. This means you could pay as little at $75 per year in some places and still be legal to ride. A few states — like Washington, Florida, and New Hampshire — don’t require any motorcycle insurance at all. However, the insurance agents and lawyers we spoke with warn that state minimums generally don’t reflect the reality of costs associated with an accident.

"Buy as much coverage as you can afford — then a little more. Once an accident occurs, it’s too late."

If you hit somebody and you’re underinsured, the repercussions could be severe. John Espenschied, Agency Principal of Insurance Brokers Group, explained: “When talking about coverage, we always discuss what might be at stake financially, especially for homeowners,” he says, “the risk of losing not only your savings and your home, but the possibility of future income could be in jeopardy.”

The same is true even if you’re not at fault in an accident. Without proper insurance, you could end up paying thousands in medical care, lost property, and motorcycle repairs out of pocket. That’s why it’s critical to choose a plan with strong, all-around protection — think of it like head-to-toe safety gear. Based on the recommendations from seven insurance agents and lawyers, the best motorcycle insurance needed to include five crucial coverage options:

Liability Coverage

Liability is the money your provider shells out if you’re at-fault in an accident. Most of the providers we looked at max out around 250/500/100. In liability language, that means your provider will pay up to $250,000 per person injured / with a limit of $500,000 total per accident / and up to $100,000 in property damages.

Uninsured / Underinsured Motorist Coverage

UM/UIM kicks in if you get hit by someone who doesn’t have enough insurance to cover your repairs and medical bills. It looks a lot like liability coverage, only in reverse. 250/500 means your provider will cover you and your passengers at up to $250,000 per person or $500,000 total per crash. Joshua Wagner, a personal injury attorney, stressed the importance of this coverage. He says that lack of adequate insurance coverage for at-fault parties is one of the most common problems when a biker gets injured. UM/UIM is your only protection in that case.

Collision Coverage

Collision coverage pays to repair or replace you bike if its damaged or totaled in an accident. You should expect to have this with any insurance plan — the real question is how much of a deductible you’ll select. Higher deductibles generally mean lower premiums, but they also mean more money out of pocket in the event of a crash.

Comprehensive Coverage

Comprehensive covers any losses and damages that weren’t the result of an accident, from theft or vandalism to a flood of biblical proportions. No matter what the event, comprehensive insurance ensures that you won’t have to repair or replace your bike on your own dollar. Similar to collision coverage, you’ll have some freedom to choose a deductible you’re comfortable with.

Medical Payments or Personal Injury Protection

Medical insurance is — no surprises here — complicated. We discuss medical coverage in more detail below, but the important thing to keep in mind is that hospital and emergency room visits add up; “potentially tens of thousands of dollars of medical bills,” according to Brian Dunmire, a personal injury lawyer with Orlando Law Group. A provider that offers medical coverage (either Personal Injury Protection or MedPay) will supplement your copays and deductibles in case of a costly accident.

We cut any providers that don’t offer all five of these options. How much insurance you’ll end up selecting is up to you, but your provider needs to at least make the important coverage available.

We looked for providers that go the extra mile to cover everything you need protected.

While the five coverage options we listed above are the most essential for protecting you and others on the road, there are plenty of other things worth insuring too.

If you have a custom bike, for instance, you’ll want an insurance policy that covers the replacement of custom parts and equipment. Roadtrippers might look for a plan that offers trip interruption coverage, which will cover lodging and alternate transportation if your bike is damaged mid-trip. For antique or collector bikes, which grow in value rather than depreciating over time, actual agreed value coverage is really important. It allows you and your agent to agree on your bike’s projected value, so that you get an accurate payout in the event of an accident or theft.

Need help designing your policy?For more tips and a breakdown of the coverage we looked at, check out our guide below.

We scoured all the companies we looked at to find the ones with the best array of coverage options. Progressive, Markel, and Nationwide all stood out here. All three offer comprehensive coverage options, and let you craft a plan that’s personalized to your bike and your needs. We could tell that these providers have a good handle on what’s important to motorcycle riders and owners.

Requesting a quote and filing a claim should be painless, too.

The only way to find the best coverage at the cheapest price is to shop around. And since you have to get multiple quotes, the least these companies can do is make that easy for you. Our favorites — like Progressive, Nationwide, and Geico — had streamlined online quote processes. They asked a few simple questions and then spat out quotes immediately, without making us wait for an email or call back. They also gave us the choice to tinker with coverage options on-site so that we could make a perfectly-tailored plan and see exactly how much the premium would be.

We also combed through each providers’ services to feel out what it might be like to file a claim with them. While we didn’t actually file a claim (that would be insurance fraud), we did compare the tools they provide. The best providers, like Progressive and Nationwide, offer a variety of filing options, from calling your personal agent to real-time filing and photo uploading through a mobile app. In the event that you actually do have to file a claim, these companies allow you to pick the method you’re most comfortable with.

But which one’s the cheapest?

Many factors go into determining your premium: your age, your bike, where you live, how often you ride — the list goes on. The bottom line here is that premiums are really personal, so there isn’t one single “cheapest” or “best” provider for everyone. We selected our top picks based on their outstanding coverage options, quotes processes, and claims tools. They’re all great providers, but you’ll still have to compare quotes to find the best insurance policy for you.

We did think it was important to at least look at quotes to get a general sense of how these providers might stack up price-wise. In order to do so, we created profiles for a few “average” riders based on Foremost Marketing Research’s survey of 8,811 motorcycle insurance customers. He’s a middle-aged Montana resident, who owns his bike and home and has a clean driving record.

This gave us some insight into which providers tend to be cheaper or more expensive. It also cued us in on the companies drive up premiums for their top-tier plans. For example, we learned that Progressive offers the cheapest bare-bones policy, but quickly becomes the most expensive provider when you upgrade to its best coverage.

Better coverage always costs more — with some providers, a lot more

  • Bare-Bones Coverage Plan: Minimum Liability Coverage, and Collision and Comprehensive coverage at a $500 deductible
  • Limited Coverage Plan: Liability at 50/100/25, Collision and Comprehensive at a $500 deductible, UM/ UIM at 25/50, and MedPay at 1,000
  • Recommended Coverage Plan: Liability at 100/300/50, Collision and Comprehensive at a $500 deductible, UM/ UIM at 100/300, and MedPay at 10,000
  • Maximum Coverage Plan: Liability at 250/500/100, Collision and Comprehensive at a $500 deductible, UM/ UIM at 250/500 (or max offered), and Maximum MedPay offered

It’s worth noting that Nationwide generally offers better deals than Progressive, and that Markel is almost always the cheapest option. Again, the quotes we received aren’t hard-and-fast — but they can give you an idea of the trends you’ll be looking at with our favorite providers.

Our Picks for the Best Motorcycle Insurance

Progressive: Most coverage options, great online tools

Progressive_Motorcycle Insurance

Progressive offers comprehensive motorcycle insurance along with all the perks that a large, established company can provide. It covers the important stuff (your body, your passengers, others on the road) but really shines in its add-on coverage for specialty bikes. It's the only provider we found with actual agreed value coverage for vintage and antique motorcycles. This means if your bike is only becoming more valuable over time, you’ll be insured for its actual worth rather than its current or depreciated cash value.

It’s also one of only two providers that offers original equipment manufacturer (OEM) Parts coverage. Meaning, if a part breaks on your BMW, it’ll be replaced with BMW parts of the same or better quality. Same goes for custom parts. If you have an expensive or custom-built motorcycle, Progressive is the best place to start looking for a policy.

It has some nice perks, too. For instance, it’s our only top pick to offer small and large accident forgiveness. This means that if you have an otherwise clean driving record, any accidents under $500 (and your first accident over $500) won’t drive up your premium. Other providers could potentially up your premium anywhere from 20 to 40 percent after an accident.

Progressive is also the only company to offer enhanced injury protection, which pays out up to $250 each and every week for two straight years if you’re injured and unable to work after an accident. That’s a level of protection for customers that we didn’t see anywhere else.

There are also benefits to being with a big insurance company. For one, its website is one of the most user-friendly we found. It was a breeze for us to get a quote, and its coverage options were clearly laid-out in straightforward language. We could also customize our coverage options on the same page to see exactly how they affect price. Once you’re a customer, Progressive has both online and app-powered claim filing (along with the option to file over the phone) so you choose what you’re most comfortable with.

It’s also worth mentioning that Progressive offers the most discounts of any provider we looked at. It will reduce your premium for getting anti-lock brakes and an anti-theft device installed, for taking a safety course, for being in a motorcycle association, for paying off you policy in full — the list goes on. However, Progressive did quote us higher total premiums than our other top picks. Again, it’s important to shop around and see where you can find the best price.

Markel American: Specialized insurance for everyday bikers

Product Card alt logo for Markel

Markel is a niche, ‘specialty’ provider, and its thoughtful coverage options reflect the 40 plus years it’s specialized in motorcycle insurance. Its policies are tailored for bikers who use a motorcycle as their main form of transportation.

Markel has a wide range of coverage options — second in number only to Progressive. It’s also the only provider we found that offers two important extra coverage options: mechanical breakdown and rental reimbursement. Mechanical breakdown is basically an extended warranty on your bike’s mechanical components. It’ll help you replace essential parts like the engine or transmission if something goes wrong. Rental reimbursement will cover at least part of the cost of alternate transport while your ride is getting worked on. If your motorcycle is your main (or only) form of transportation, this coverage is critical. It’ll keep you mobile while your bike is down, and get you back on the road as soon as possible.

Markel is also one of two companies (along with Progressive) that provides total loss coverage. That means it’ll pay out the total appraised cost of your bike in the event that it would cost more to repair it than replace it. This company has clearly made it a priority to keep riders riding, no matter what happens.

Because Markel is smaller, it doesn’t have the same perks as a company like Progressive or Nationwide. For instance, it doesn’t offer an app for easy, real-time claim filing. You’ll have to call an agent directly or use Markel’s website — which is much less streamlined and user-friendly than our top pick, Progressive. Still, the company’s claims center is open 24/7, so you won’t be left hanging.

It also offers far fewer discounts than Progressive. The quotes we received were cheap enough that we didn’t miss the discounts, but you’ll have to see which company strikes the right balance for you.

Nationwide Insurance: The convenience of a big company at a pared-down price

Nationwide Insurance

Nationwide offers the same great service, quote process, and claims options as Progressive. It just has slightly fewer coverage options. In our experience, though, Nationwide does tend to be a budget-friendlier option. While it initially quoted us a pricier premium than other providers, it only cost a few dollars to upgrade to the best liability, medical, and un/underinsured motorist coverage available. By comparison, Progressive’s price skyrocketed when we selected more comprehensive coverage options.

Nationwide also has the highest automatic accessory and optional equipment coverage, with $2,000 included in your plan right off the bat. If you’ve invested in expensive safety gear and accessories, or if you carry valuables often (maybe you commute every day with a laptop), you’ll be able to replace those things easily in the event of an accident or theft.

You also get all the big-company benefits with Nationwide that you do with Progressive. It was easy for us to get a quote online and tinker with coverage limits and pricing directly on the website. You can file claim online or with a mobile app, too — a nice perk if you’d rather go through the claims process yourself than work with an agent over the phone. Finally, like Progressive, Nationwide insures everything from home to life to auto, and will give you just any many discounts for things like bundling your insurance and being a homeowner.

Nationwide only fell short of the competition for having slightly fewer coverage options. While it offers vintage and antique bike insurance like Progressive, it doesn’t explicitly cover actual agreed value. It also doesn’t insure against mechanical breakdown, rental reimbursement, or total loss like Markel.

How to Build a Strong Policy

The amount of coverage you’ll purchase ultimately depends on who you are and how you ride. But the insurance agents, lawyers, and bikers we spoke with agree on a few things when it comes to building your policy:

Buy as much liability insurance as you can afford.

Both the insurance agents and lawyers we spoke with agreed: This is the one that can really hurt you if you’re underinsured. The injured party may sue for damages, which could end up costing you your home and other assets. When looking for motorcycle insurance, Johnston recommends starting with at least 100/300 ($100,000 per person injured, and up to $300,000 total per accident). But keep in mind that, 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.

Stack your motorcycle and auto insurance.

When we looked at quotes and pricing, we noticed that upping uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage raised our premium significantly. Attorney Joshua Wagner recommends looking for an insurance policy that allows “stacking” for a more reasonable price. If you insure your car and motorcycle through the same company, and have 100/300 UM coverage on both, stacking gives you a $200,000 per person per accident on either vehicle.

Consider getting a “lay-up” or “garage policy” during the off-season.

It may be tempting to save money by canceling your insurance during the winter months, when you won’t be out on your bike. However, as Espenschied points out, there’s always a chance that the bike gets stolen or damaged while in storage. Not to mention, “you never know when you’ll have a nice sunny day and have the urge to go for a ride.” If anything happens to your bike while your policy’s not active, you’re out of luck. Our experts recommend maintaining coverage year-round, or looking for a “lay-up” or “garage policy” that at least insures your motorcycle against damage and theft during the off-season.

Don't forget about add-on coverage.

In our search for the best, we gave the heaviest weight to coverage options that protect the essentials: life, limb, and bike. But there are lots of other things worth protecting, too. The best insurance companies have a wide range of coverage options that allow you to personalize your policy. We scoured all of our top providers to see how many of these “extra” coverage options they offer. Here’s what they mean, and where you can find them:

= Covered by Progressive = Covered by Markel = Covered by Nationwide
  • Custom Motorcycle / Custom Parts and Equipment Coverage: Covers repair and replacements for any parts on your bike that weren’t installed by the original manufacturer.
  • Roadside Assistance: The provider will cover the cost of common roadside assistance services as a part of you insurance plan.
  • Trip Interruption Coverage: Covers up to a set amount for food, lodging, and alternate transportation if your bike breaks down mid-trip.
  • Guest Passenger Liability: Protection for any passengers on your motorcycle; includes bodily injury and property damages.
  • Accessory, Safety Gear, and Optional Equipment Coverage: Covers the replacement of safety apparel and other optional accessories in the event that they’re damaged or ruined in an accident.
  • Vintage/Antique Coverage: Coverage for a vintage or antique bike.
  • OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) Parts Coverage: OEM coverage ensures that any parts repaired or replaced on your bike will be done so with components from the original manufacturer. In other words, if your Harley’s engine dies, it’ll be replaced with another Harley engine.
  • Total Loss Coverage: Pays for a new bike in the event that the cost to repair yours is greater than its total cash value.  
  • Trike Coverage: Insurance specific to repairing or replacing a 3-wheeled motorcycle.
  • Enhanced Medical Coverage: Pays out a stipend every week for up to 2 years in the event that you’re injured and unable to work after an accident.
  • Accident Forgiveness: Accidents that cost the provider up to a certain amount will not affect the cost of your premium.
  • Transport Trailer: Covers repairs and replacement of a trailer specifically designed for towing your motorcycle.
  • Rental Reimbursement: The provider will cover a portion of rental costs in the event that your bike is inoperable for a period of time and you require alternate transportation.
  • Mechanical Breakdown Coverage: Covers repair and replacement of any mechanical components of your motorcycle, if they weren’t damaged in an accident.
  • Towing: The provider will cover towing costs.

Medical insurance is critical, too.

The type of medical coverage offered with motorcycle insurance varies by state, but generally you’re looking at either MedPay or personal injury protection (PIP). PIP, or “no fault” insurance, is available in a handful of states but generally not required for motorcycles. In the event of an accident, PIP can be used to cover health insurance deductibles, medical copays, lost wages, and other reparatory costs — regardless of who is at fault. MedPay is similar to PIP, but less comprehensive. It works with your health insurance to cover things like deductibles and copays, but won’t kick in to supplement lost wages, child care, or funeral expenses, like PIP will.

Whichever option is available to you, look into 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 “often times, 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 that would otherwise become overwhelming.

More Motorcycle Insurance Reviews

We’ve been looking into motorcycle insurance for a few years now. For a deeper dive into premiums, check out our other review: