The Best Cheap Motorcycle Insurance

Good motorcycle insurance is more than a cheap rate. The best should have you covered, no matter what happens to you or your bike. Through our research, we found four top picks that strike the perfect balance between low premiums and great coverage. But because insurance rates are highly personal, you’ll need to compare quotes to find your best price.

The 4 Best Cheap Motorcycle Insurance Companies

  • Markel American — Most Affordable Premiums
  • Nationwide — Best for "High-Risk" Riders
  • Progressive —Best for Specialty or Vintage Bikes
  • Safeco — Impressive Discounts

Markel American — Most Affordable Premiums

Pros Lowest premiums
Wide range of coverage options
Mechanical breakdown coverage
Rental reimbursement
Cons Expensive for young riders
Fewer discounts

Why we chose it

Lowest premiums

Markel consistently quoted us the lowest premiums of any provider we tested — up to 73% less than the next cheapest option in some cases. To find average premium costs, we got quotes for a variety of rider profiles: a younger rider with a cruiser, an older one with a sports bike, and spotless driving records versus those with a history of infractions. No matter what kind of rider we threw in, Markel almost always came out with the cheapest premiums. While this should be taken with a grain of salt — factors like discounts and location will impact premiums, too — Markel is a great place to start looking.

Wide range of coverage options

Premiums alone would have kept Markel in the running for the best cheap motorcycle insurance, but we’re also really impressed with its thoughtful policies. The company has a wide range of coverage options, second in number only to Progressive. With standout features like mechanical breakdown and rental reimbursement, it’s obvious that Markel is dedicated to keeping you on the road at all times.

Mechanical breakdown coverage

Markel is the only company we saw that offers mechanical breakdown coverage, an optional add-on that pays for the cost of any parts that need to be repaired or replaced on your bike. While it will raise your rate by a few extra bucks, it could save you significant out-of-pocket expenses if your beak needs more regular repairs.

Rental reimbursement

In addition to paying for parts that need to be repaired, Markel also offers rental reimbursement, an add-on that will cover the cost of a rental car while your bike’s in the shop. It’s the only company we saw to offer what could be an essential perk for riders who use their bike as their primary means of transportation.

Points to consider

Expensive for younger riders

Young riders are the only exception to Markel’s cheap premium rule. Our 20-year-old biker was quoted exceptionally high prices when riding both a Harley Davidson cruiser and a Suzuki sportbike. Still, Markel charged very little to insure our cheap bike, a Honda Rebel (and was our only contender to do so). Ultimately, Markel is still worth a look for young riders, even if it scored a little lower in our test runs.

Fewer discounts

Markel doesn’t offer nearly as many discounts as our other top picks — only five compared to Nationwide’s eight and Progressive’s ten. The biggest omissions were discounts for being a member of a recognized motorcycle association, owning a home, or paying your entire year’s premium in full at the start of your policy. These were fairly standard with other companies and could significantly reduce how much you end up paying. That said, more discounts doesn’t necessarily mean lower premiums, and Markel consistently generated the lowest rates in our tests.

Nationwide — Best for "High-Risk" Riders

Pros Affordable upgrades
Cheapest for high-risk riders
Built-in accessory coverage
Customer resources
Cons No agreed value coverage
Fewer discounts

Why we chose it

Affordable upgrades

Nationwide has a distinct advantage when it comes to essential coverage: It’s really affordable to upgrade to its best plans. When we tinkered with our policy, we noticed that Nationwide charged only a few dollars more for its highest liability, UM/UIM, and MedPay limits. Other companies, like Progressive, bumped up our premium by as much as $500 for their top-tier plans. If you’re looking at a quote from Nationwide, make sure to experiment with your coverage options and see just how much protection you can add on for a modest upcharge.

Cheapest for "high-risk" riders

Although we found that Markel had the cheapest premiums on average, Nationwide did come in first for our riskiest test profile: a 20-year-old riding a Suzuki sportbike. When we spoke with insurance experts, they unanimously agreed that this would be the most expensive type of rider to insure. If you’re one of these “high-risk” bikers looking for a cheap premium, we recommend including Nationwide in your search.

Built-in accessory coverage

Every Nationwide policy includes $2,000 of insurance for any personal belongings you have on your bike, from luggage to safety equipment. Most other policies we looked at charge extra for this coverage and topped out at $1,000. If you’re planning on traveling with valuables — on a cross-country trip or commuting with a laptop, for example — this extra peace of mind is a huge bonus.

Customer resources

Along with Progressive, Nationwide has some nice perks that come with signing up with a bigger company. Its website is incredibly streamlined, making it a breeze to request a quote, customize your coverage, and take advantage of online claim filing. By contrast, we found Markel’s website clunky: It's harder to navigate, took longer to load, and glitched a few times when we used the “back” button. Nationwide also brings app-powered claim filing to the table, which allows you to easily upload photos and information to your claim document in real time. This is a level of convenience beyond the online and call-in options offered by Markel.

Points to consider

No agreed value coverage

Of our three top picks, Nationwide is the only one that doesn’t offer actual agreed value coverage, which means your bike is covered at an agreed-upon future price instead of its current cash value. This is a particularly attractive add-on 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 your insurance company. That said, most riders won’t miss this coverage; if you have a newer bike, insuring the actual cash value is the better option.

Fewer discounts

While Nationwide only has two fewer total discounts than Progressive, we thought it was missing a few key ones. It’s the only one of our top picks that doesn’t reduce your premiums for maintaining a driving record with no “at-fault accidents.” It also doesn’t have any discounts for “mature riders,” renewing your policy at the end of the year, or switching over from a different insurance company.

Progressive — Best for Specialty or Vintage Bikes

Pros Generous discounts
Specialty motorcycle coverage
Customer resources
Cons Expensive coverage upgrades

Why we chose it

Specialty motorcycle coverage

Progressive has the best protection we saw when it comes to vintage, antique and custom bikes. Some highlights include OEM (original equipment manufacturer) parts in all repairs, plus an automatic $3,000 of coverage for all your custom parts and equipment when you buy collision or comprehensive. Along with Markel, Progressive was also one of the only providers with an actual agreed value option, which lets you and your insurer agree on a value for your bike independent of its cash value.

Generous discounts

With 10 different discounts available, Progressive has more options than any other provider we looked at. Most importantly, Progressive will reduce your premium if you’re a member of a motorcycle association, can show a history of safe driving, and bundle with other types of insurance. It will also lower your premium if you own a home (which Markel does not) or if you come to them from another insurance company (unlike Nationwide). If you qualify for a few of these, they could have a big impact on your overall rate.

Customer resources

Like Nationwide, Progressive customers have the benefit of being covered by one of the largest insurance companies in the country. Along with a 24/7 phone line, you’ll have access to a mobile app that lets you view your policy and file claims, a nice tool for riders who want to check their coverage on the road. We also loved Progressive’s easy-to-navigate website full of resources to help you save money, particularly the Progressive Answers page, which goes over every conceivable insurance situation in simple and straightforward language.

Points to consider

Expensive coverage upgrades

Spend a few minutes on Progressive’s website and you’ll see a “$75 per year” figure touted over and over again. And although that might be technically true, it also represents the bare minimum liability insurance you could purchase — not a great idea. To get the protection you need, you’ll have to add things like un/underinsured motorist coverage, medical, and increased liability, which will all raise your premiums significantly.

After we started adding in our recommended coverage amounts, Progressive quickly became the most expensive of our top picks. Of course, insurance quotes are impacted by a number of personal factors, so you should always compare quotes from a few providers before committing.

Safeco — Impressive Discounts

Pro Generous discounts
Excellent roadside assistance
Con Not ideal for specialty bikes
No online quote tool

Why we chose it

Generous discounts

Safeco offers an impressive range of discounts on its motorcycle insurance— second only to Progressive. It has all the standard ones — discounts for a history of safe driving, membership in a motorcycle association, and bundling with other types of insurance — as well as some that were more uncommon. Safeco was the only one of our top picks to offer a discount for experienced riders. As long as you’ve been riding for more than a year, you qualify.

Excellent roadside assistance

While you can add roadside assistance to all of our top picks, Safeco goes above and beyond with this coverage, providing trip interruption benefits along with the standard towing and battery services. That means if you lose money on a trip because your bike breaks down (think flights or hotel reservations) Safeco will reimburse you for your loss.

Points to consider

Not ideal for specialty bikes

If you have a vintage or antique motorcycle, Safeco probably won’t be your best option. Like Nationwide, Safeco doesn’t offer actual agreed value coverage for your bike, so you might not get the correct reimbursement back if your specialty bike needs to be replaced. Along the same lines, Safeco doesn’t pay for original manufacturer parts, either. If this is a must-have for you, we’d recommend starting your search with Progressive.

No online quote tool

Currently, Safeco doesn’t provide a way to get quotes online. If you want to see how your premiums with Safeco would compare to our other picks, you’ll have to call the company and request a quote from an agent. It’s not ideal — we prefer companies that offer multiple ways to purchase a policy — but Safeco’s excellent policies make it worth taking that extra step.

Guide to Cheap Motorcycle Insurance

How to save on your premium

Bundle your insurance

Sometimes you can save on multiple types of insurance by bundling them together. John Espenschied, Agency Principal at Insurance Brokers Group recommends, “when it’s practical, combine as many policies as possible to receive the best multi-policy discounts.” This means insuring your motorcycle through the same company that covers your home, auto, or any other insurance you may carry.

Be aware, though, that bundling isn’t always the right choice. Espenschied also points out that motorcycle insurance is often standalone because it’s so specialized. You may want to purchase your bike coverage through a provider that has options like custom parts, accessory, and safety apparel coverage — your auto provider may not offer these, but all of our top picks do.

Hunt for discounts

Most discounts are pretty easy to qualify for if you’re aware of them ahead of time. To keep you in the know, we compiled a comprehensive list of available discounts and which of our top picks offer them:

= Covered by Progressive = Covered by Safeco
= Covered by Markel = Covered by Nationwide
  • Safety Course Discount: For taking an approved motorcycle safety course.
  • Anti-Theft Device Discount: For having an anti-theft device installed on your bike.
  • Anti-Lock Brake Discount: For having anti-lock brakes installed on your bike.
  • Motorcycle Association Membership Discount: For being a member of an approved motorcycle association (for example; Harley Owners Group or the American Motorcycle Association).
  • Bundling Discount: For combining your motorcycle insurance policy with another policy (home, auto, etc) from the same provider.
  • Paid-in-Full Discount: For paying your total annual premium at the time of purchase.
  • Homeowner Discount: For owning your home.
  • Safe Driver Discount: For not having been involved in any accidents, at-fault or otherwise, for a specified amount of time.
  • No At-Fault Accidents Discount: Applied at time of renewal if you have not filed for any at-fault accidents.
  • Vanishing Deductible: The longer you go without filing any claims, the lower your deductible becomes.
  • Renewal Discount: Applied when you renew your motorcycle insurance policy through your current provider.
  • Mature Rider Discount: For being above a specified age (usually 55, with a clean driving history).

Compare quotes

We’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: This is without a doubt the most important step you can take to save money on your motorcycle insurance premiums. Every company has their own process for evaluating your risk, weighting factors like age, driving history, and motorcycle according to their own unique formulas. The only way you’ll know which provider can offer the best premiums is to get multiple quotes.

Motorcycle Insurance FAQs

What affects motorcycle insurance rates?

“The biggest driving factors when buying motorcycle insurance are the type of bike and age of the rider,” Espenschied told us. And while each company evaluates risk a little differently, we did find that statement to hold up in our tests. The amount of coverage you opt for will have a huge effect as well — bare minimum liability insurance will be a lot cheaper than a policy with more comprehensive coverage. After that, factors like driving record and location come into play.

Does motorcycle insurance cover passengers?

It depends on which provider you go with, but for the most part, yes. All of our top picks cover your passengers if you get in an accident that’s your fault, even if they’re not explicitly insured on your policy, along with other major competitors like Geico, Allstate, and Safeco. There were some notable exceptions, though: Liberty Mutual, State Farm, and Foremost Insurance don’t cover passengers.

Is motorcycle insurance required by law?

While our experts counseled against going this route, riders only need to meet the minimum liability requirements in most states. That means you have enough insurance to cover someone else’s losses if you’re at fault in an accident. No medical coverage for you or your passengers, no protection for your own bike — just the bare minimum to cover any damage you might cause to others.

The Best Cheap Motorcycle Insurance: Summed Up

Markel American
Progressive
Nationwide
Safeco
The Best
Affordable Premiums
For "High-Risk" Riders
For Specialty or Vintage Bikes
Discounts
A.M. Best Financial Strength Rating
A
A+
A+
A
Total Number of Coverage Options
19
18
16
16
Total Number of Discounts
7
9
8
9
24/7 Claim Support
Online Quote Tool
Online Claim Filing