By Law tigers
Updated by Peter Kaye
Riding is fun, researching motorcycle insurance is not. With so many insurance agencies vying for your attention by throwing around policies and plans with confusing insurance jargon, it can be overwhelming to decide which will be best for you – one that adheres to your needs, lifestyle and budget. It can even be tempting to forgo having insurance altogether simply because you don’t want to agree to something you don’t understand. While that is generally not good advice, you need to understand the basic terms and policies so you are comfortable with your insurance coverage. Remember that in the event of an accident, you will be penalized for being uninsured, and could possibly be financially responsible for the damage or medical bills of the other party as well. We know you’re probably tired of doing the research yourself, so we have condensed the most important information on motorcycle insurance into a simple, easy-to-understand guide. If you’d like to continue researching motorcycle insurance after our guide, you’re welcome to review the research from Consumers Advocate. You will have various coverage options depending on your needs, lifestyle and budget. How often do you ride? Is it for commute or pleasure? Do you ride in a rural or urban area? Your answers to each of these all factor into what coverage plan will suit you best. Most states require riders to have liability insurance, but the rest of the coverage plans are usually optional unless of course you have a loan on the vehicle/motorcycle which requires you to have insurance and protect the lien holder’s interest. Make sure you understand all your options because liability may not be sufficient.
- Liability insurance covers damage to property of others, medical coverage for others and lawsuits arising from an accident. You may ask, how much damage can I create to others on my motorcycle? Well… if you ride it through a store front quiet a bit of damage! And, there are always others on motorcycles and pedestrians. Having only this insurance, you are entirely financially responsible for your own injuries and damage to your motorcycle.
- Motorcycle collision insurance covers the damage to your motorcycle in the event of an accident. If the accident is your fault, your insurance company helps pay for the repair costs up to the current cash value of your bike’s cash value, minus the deductible. That includes hit and run or if you are hit by someone that does not have insurance. Keep in mind that the value of your motorcycle could be substantially less than what you originally paid to purchase it. This coverage is mandatory if there is a loan on your vehicle/motorcycle.
- Comprehensive coverage pays for damages caused by non-collision events such as fire, theft, vandalism or object on the freeway. Like collision coverage, your insurance company will pay for damages, minus your deductible, and will cover only the cash value of the motorcycle. This type of coverage is best for riders who spend a considerable amount of time and money customizing their bikes. If you live in Los Angeles or similar, and park your bike in the street you need this coverage. This coverage is also mandatory if there is a loan on your vehicle/motorcycle.
- Uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coveragepays for your injuries and/or damages to your motorcycle caused by another driver who is either uninsured or underinsured for the damages they caused you. THIS COVERAGE IS NOT FOR YOUR MOTORCYCLE unlike popular belief. In most cases, this will cover medical treatment, lost wages, pain and suffering, disability, and sometimes property damage. This type of coverage is best for everyone; if you can afford it, get it. When you hear people receiving “settlements” there is only two places the settlements are paid from: 1) the other person’s insurance policy if they are at fault and if they have high limits of coverage or 2) this coverage on your
The overall cost of your premium and deductible will vary by coverage plan and insurance company, but the following factors will impact what you pay no matter what:
- Driving record (tickets, license suspensions, etc.)
- Where you live
- Type of motorcycle you insure
- Age of the motorcycle you insure
- How many miles you ride per year
- Where you store your motorcycle
- Riding Association Memberships ie: H.O.G., AMA, etc.
- Motorcycle Endorsement on your drivers license
While you can’t control your age, location, age of your motorcycle, etc., you can take other steps to lower your insurance. For example, building and maintaining a good driving record not only makes your rides safer, it makes your wallet happier too. And if you’re already doing that, take advantage of these additional resources to further lower your insurance costs.
- “Lay-up” policy savings. Most bikers ride all year long. But for those of you who put your bike away for the winter, you won’t have to pay your insurance policy’s (except comprehensive) premium during the time the bike is not in use.
- Organization member discounts. Some insurance companies offer discounts to riders that are members of motorcycle associations or similar.
- Multi-bike discounts. Some policies offer discounts to riders who insure more than one motorcycle. As if you needed another reason to buy another bike!
- Multi-policy discounts. If the insurance company you have insured your auto and/or your Home (even if Renting) insure motorcycles, the motorcycle policy could receive an additional discount from the Home or Auto policy. Motorcycle policies do not offer discounts to other policies, but only receive discounts.
- Mature rider discounts. Are you a seasoned rider? Your experience could save you money.
- Training course discounts. Graduating a rider training course benefits you in two ways. You learn how to be a better rider as well as paying a lower insurance rate. This can make an especially significant impact on your overall insurance cost if you are under 25 years old and/or have accidents or tickets on your record.
You are now equipped to confidently get the motorcycle policy and coverage that’s best for you. We hope we have made the dull but important topic of motorcycle insurance simple easy to understand.
Ride safe! We’ll see you on the road.
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