• December 21, 2017 - To keep things fresh, we've updated this review with a more in-depth explanation of what affects motorcycle insurance premiums. After reviewing our data, we're confident that Markel, Nationwide, and Progressive are still the best choices for cheap motorcycle insurance.

The Best Cheap Motorcycle Insurance Companies

  • Markel Motorcycle Insurance

    Most Affordable Premiums

  • Nationwide Insurance

    Good Premiums, User-Friendly Tools

  • Progressive

    Standout Coverage, Plenty of Discounts

We’ll tell you right off the bat: The best cheap motorcycle insurance is not the cheapest motorcycle insurance. Technically, motorcycle insurance isn’t even required in every state. And in some, you could pay as little as $75 per year for minimum liability insurance and be legal to ride. But by skimping on coverage, you run the risk of paying big money out of pocket after an accident. What’s really important is to strike the perfect balance between a low premium and great coverage.

“Keep in mind that the lowest price isn't always the 'cheapest' option. Make sure the company you choose is reputable, and that you're comfortable with the service you get from the insurance professionals you speak to.”

Our top pick, Markel, quoted us the cheapest premiums in almost every scenario. Its prices are stunningly low when it comes to middle-aged riders and owners of cruiser bikes or cheaper bikes in particular. Beyond being affordable, Markel also has great coverage options — especially if your motorcycle is your main form of transportation.

That said, if you’re a younger rider (think twenty-something) and you have a high-speed sportbike, we recommend you start your search with Nationwide. Its policies are a little friendlier towards “high-risk” bikers. Nationwide also comes equipped with a host of useful tools, like app-powered claim filing and a great online quote experience, that make buying and using motorcycle insurance simple.

We were also really impressed with Progressive's extensive list of coverage options and discounts. Progressive did quote us higher prices than our other top picks, but the profiles we used are just examples. Everyone’s premium will look a little different, which is why it’s important to compare quotes from multiple providers before you buy.

Our Top Picks for the Best Cheap Motorcycle Insurance

Markel American: Most Affordable Premiums

Product Card alt logo for Markel

Markel marries specialized motorcycle coverage and affordability in a way we didn’t see anywhere else. Despite being light on discounts, Markel consistently quoted us the lowest premiums — and we mean low — up to 73% less than the next cheapest option.

While premiums alone would have kept Markel in the running for Best Cheap Motorcycle Insurance, we’re also really impressed with its thoughtful policies; Markel has a wide range of coverage options, second in number only to Progressive. And with standout selections like mechanical breakdown (which pays to repair essential mechanical parts) and rental reimbursement (which covers you while your bike is in the shop) it’s obvious that Markel knows bikers pretty well. This company is dedicated to keeping you on the road at all times.

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 the Honda Rebel (and was our only contender to do so). Ultimately, this company is worth a look for anyone. Markel is likely to offer a reasonable premium, and its low prices aren’t dependent on qualifying for discounts.

Nationwide: Good Premiums, User-Friendly Tools

Nationwide Insurance

As far as sample quotes go, Nationwide offered the second cheapest premiums overall. It even out-bid Markel in one category: younger bikers on pricier bikes. If you’re a twenty-something on a high-powered sportbike, we recommend you start your search here.

As a larger company, Nationwide also offers some convenient tools that Markel lacks. It’s website, for instance, is extremely 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.

We’ll note that Nationwide has slightly fewer coverage options than our other top picks. It’s not as tailored to every-day bikers as Markel, and Progressive’s choices are better suited to unique motorcycles. But Nationwide has a distinct advantage when it comes to essential coverage: It’s really affordable to upgrade to their 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, jacked 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.

Progressive: Standout Coverage, Plenty of Discounts

Progressive - Homeowners Insurance

It should be no secret by now that Progressive didn’t offer us the lowest quotes of the group. However, premiums are personal; Progressive could end up cutting you a great deal. Keep in mind that this company has more discount options than any other provider we looked at. If you qualify, these could have a big impact on your overall price.

Progressive also offers the most coverage options of all our finalists. In particular, it has standout protection for vintage, antique and custom bikes. Some highlights include OEM (original equipment manufacturer) parts in all repairs, and an automatic $3,000 of coverage for all your custom parts and equipment when you buy collision or comprehensive. Progressive was also our only finalist with an “actual agreed value” option. AAV is important 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.

We absolutely recommend considering Progressive if you want the best protection for your antique, vintage, or custom bike. And if you’ve got a pretty standard ride, it’s worth getting a quote anyways. Between the coverage limits you choose and the discounts you qualify for, it could turn out to be your most affordable option.

Safeco: Another Provider to Consider

Safeco - Homeowners Insurance

Safeco Insurance was another one of our front-runners, up until quotes came into play. Unfortunately Safeco doesn’t have an online quote tool, so we were unable to include them in our pricing evaluation. What Safeco does have are excellent financial strength ratings, availability in 50 states, and all the essential coverage options. It also offers an impressive range of discounts — second only to Progressive. If you don't mind the extra work to get a quote, it’s definitely worth a call to see what kind of premium this company can offer you.

How to Save on Your Premium

Since you’ll have to shop around to find the best deal, it’s important to know which parts of your premium you can control. There are some variables, like your age and location, that are out of your hands (unless you want to move for cheaper insurance). But our experts shared some simple tricks for saving, if you know where to look.

Check with your current insurance providers to see if you can save money by combining policies.

Sometimes you can save on multiple types of insurance by bundling them together. Espenschied recommends, “when it’s practical, to 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 may not always be 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 - things your auto provider may not offer because they’re not applicable to cars.

Consider switching over to a “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 riding. But your bike can still be stolen or damaged while in storage, and if you don’t have insurance, replacements or repairs would be out of pocket.

Johnston recommends looking for a lay-up or “garage policy” instead of cancelling coverage completely. “It means, in essence, that your vehicle isn't going to be driven for a specified time but rather just sitting in a garage,” and you’ll still be protected against the possibility of theft or damages. Just remember that if you’re in the lay-up period and take your bike out on a nice day, you assume financial responsibility for any accidents that may occur.

With a little planning, you can earn a lot of 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 put together a list of all the discounts we came across 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).