AllAboutBikes Staff Writer
In this day and age of litigation, you simply cannot ride safely without motorcycle insurance. In many states, it is illegal to even be on a public road unless you have the minimum amount of insurance required by the state. Each state legislates what that minimum amount is, and it is in your best interest to always maintain at least that amount of coverage.
As a service to our readers, All About Bikes is providing a brief summary of the types of insurance commonly available. It is up to you, however, to check with your local authorities to get the most up-do-date and relevant information for your locale.
Liability insurance is usually mandatory because it covers bodily injury and property damage to other people. It does not, however, cover you or your bike. When you purchase this type of insurance always ask if it also includes guest passenger liability. This protects anyone who may be riding with you as a passenger on your motorcycle. Even if this added protection is not included in the standard liability insurance that you are required to have, it is a good investment to go ahead and get it.
Most people will also buy what is called collision insurance. This insurance covers damages to your bike should you be in an accident. When you have this type of insurance, your insurance carrier will pay for damages to your motorcycle, minus your deductible, as long as the damages were caused by a collision with another vehicle or object. Generally speaking, collision insurance covers the current book value of the motorcycle before the accident occurred.
This type of insurance is usually not required by any state law, but it may be required by the company that is financing your motorcycle. Comprehensive insurance coverage pays for most damages caused by something other than an accident. This might include events such as theft, fire, vandalism or flood. If the insurance company approves your claim it will pay damages, minus the amount of your deductible, and it will only cover the current book value of your bike.
One side note to both collision and comprehensive coverage: most insurance companies will price the value of what they will pay based on the standard parts of the motorcycle as it came from the factory. If you have customized your bike with other parts, such as chrome or custom paint work, side cars, etc; you will need to get added coverage in order to make up the difference.
Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage:
This type of insurance protects you and your bike in the event you are hit by someone who either does not have any insurance or who has too little insurance. Generally, this type of coverage only pays for medical costs, any lost wages you might lose, and some other damages. Make sure that you get this form of insurance with the property damage rider which will pay for any damages to your bike as well. You can ask your insurance agent if property damage is included in your policy or not.
Lastly, if you have a vintage bike you may want to get special insurance to help cover the costs of replacing or rebuilding the bike. It is always best to speak with your insurance agent about this special type of coverage.
You may know it, but you can often save a good deal of money on your motorcycle insurance by doing a few things. Some issues such as age, driving record, and where you live are what they are, but other issues can be modified in ways to decrease your insurance premiums. Here are a few ideas:
If you take and graduate from a rider train course, you can often save money. Some companies will reward you with a discount of as much as ten to fifteen percent on your premiums. The course offered by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) is a good choice, and this especially true if you are under the age of 25.
Maintaining a good driving record with no violations or accidents will often help decrease your premiums over time.
If you live in a hard winter area where using your bike during those months is not possible, consider buying a lay up policy for those down months. If you buy this type of insurance, do not drive your bike while it is under this coverage. This can also be thought of as storage insurance.
Ask your insurance agent what discounts they offer. They may be able to tell you things you did not know.
Lastly, if you already have automobile insurance with a carrier ask if you can get a discount if you insure your bike with them as well. You can often save a good bit of money by staying with the same company.