There are plenty of ways to save on motorcycle insurance, but skimping on coverage shouldn’t be one of them. Sure, your state minimums might be low (or in some cases nonexistent), but that doesn’t mean it’ll protect you financially. It may be tempting to just grab the cheapest legal option, but doing so means risking big out-of-pocket costs later.

Our favorite provider is Progressive, which consistently quoted some of the cheapest rates we found no matter the coverage limit, rider profile, or type of motorcycle. However, as with all insurance, personal factors dictate premiums, so you’ll still need to shop around using your own profile and bike.

Our Picks for Best Cheap Motorcycle Insurance Companies

  • Progressive
    Best Overall
  • Markel
    Best for Older Bikers
  • Nationwide
    Best Standard Collision Coverage

Our Picks for Best Cheap Motorcycle Insurance

Best Overall — Progressive

Progressive Icon

For the most part, Progressive gave us the cheapest quotes across the board (the one exception was older riders of cruiser/standard bikes, where Markel was cheapest). While this is enough by itself to win “Best Overall,” it’s even more notable since Progressive has some of the best standard coverage out of all our finalists. Highlights include guaranteed OEM (original equipment manufacturer) parts in all repairs, and an automatic $3,000 of additional custom accessory/safety gear coverage when you buy collision and/or comprehensive. For vintage bike owners, Progressive was also the only finalist with an “Agreed Value” option. This matters if your bike is a collector’s item that doesn’t follow the normal rules of depreciation; you can insure it for an appraised value that’s agreed on by you and the company

Best for Older Bikers - Markel

Markel Icon

It’s not quite a household name, but Markel was very competitive in our quote comparison, particularly for older riders of cruiser bikes, where it was far and away the cheapest option. For the basic coverage option, Markel quoted $328/yr — 26 percent cheaper than the next lowest, Progressive, at $446/yr. For the higher value coverage, its quote of $604/yr was an even better discount on Progressive’s $972 — a full 38 percent lower.

As a smaller company operating in niche markets (including bicycles, jet skis, wineries, and exotic animals), Markel prides itself on offering “specialty insurance by real specialists.” Despite the slogan, there isn’t anything specialized about Markel’s coverage options: Its policies are similar to our other finalists. It does, however, have a perfect good egg for a 2015 complaint ratio; there were zero complaints against it last year. Since the number one complaint leveled against motorcycle insurers is higher-than-expected premiums, this speaks well to Markel’s communication with its policyholders.

Best Standard Collision Coverage - Nationwide

Nationwide Icon

For the most part, Nationwide’s quotes were only slightly pricier than Progressive’s (one glaring exception was collision/comprehensive coverage for supersport riders, which was much more expensive than either Progressive or Markel). However, Nationwide compensates a bit for those higher premiums with some nice perks on its standard collision coverage. With any collision deductible amount, you get an automatic $2,000 in safety equipment replacement coverage — double what our other finalists offer. Nationwide also excelled in our claims record comparison: It got the highest J.D. Power claims satisfaction score of any finalist and has a lower complaint ratio than Progressive (0.66 vs. 0.71).

Did You Know?

Young riders with sport bikes pay the most.

You probably don’t need us to tell you this, but our quotes confirm that young riders pay significantly more to insure a lighter, faster supersport than a heavier cruiser — in some cases double. But not every provider ranks that risk the same. Progressive’s rate hikes for supersports were significantly less than our other finalists’ — about 6 percent more for basic coverage and 38 percent more for enhanced, as opposed to Nationwide markups of roughly 3 and 77 percent, and the enormous markups from Markel of 81 and 106 percent. In general, young riders on fast bikes can expect their premiums to be on the high side, but Progressive seems to offer better value than most for quality coverage.

Insurance minimums vary by state.

It seems crazy, but three states — Montana, New Hampshire, and Washington — don’t require any motorcycle insurance at all, and several others with no-fault auto insurance laws exempt motorcyclists from the personal injury protection (PIP) coverage that’s required of other drivers (and pays medical bills after an accident). The most common type of required insurance is liability, with state minimums written in triple-slash format (e.g., 20/40/10). The first two numbers refer to bodily injury liability limits and the third number to property damage liability. For example, 20/40/10 means a limit of $20,000 for one individual and coverage for up to $40,000 for all persons injured in an accident — and $10,000 coverage for property damage. You can check your state’s minimum liability limits here.

Uninsured motorist coverage is even more important in states with low insurance minimums.

If your state doesn’t require motorcycle insurance of any kind, it’s technically your choice whether or not to buy it. But in states that require only a small amount of auto liability insurance, there’s a higher chance that if you get in an accident where you’re not at fault, the other driver’s policy won’t be able to cover the damages. In situations like these, your own uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM) coverage could be the only thing standing between you and a hard financial hit.

There are lots of ways to lower your premium.

You can’t control everything in your insurance profile, but there’s still plenty you can. As our quotes show, sport bikes like the Honda CBR650 are more expensive to insure than cruisers like the Harley Softail, even though the Harley itself costs almost twice as much. In general, bikes with engines under 600cc are cheaper to insure, as are older bikes. Your credit score and commitment to road safety (in the form of a clean driving record and safety course completion) also weigh in, so it pays to tighten up your profile in those areas.

Take Action

Beyond improving your driving record and credit, the best way to save money on motorcycle insurance is to compare quotes for the same coverage from different companies. Prioritize your coverage needs based on your state of residence and then start shopping. It’s also worth it to check the cost of adding more coverage; it might be less expensive than you think.

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