Shopping for cheaper motorcycle insurance

Written by Ryan Hurlbert on January 5, 2011 & Posted in Auto Insurance

Motorcycle insurance can be expensive, but there are ways to save money without sacrificing coverage.

Cool premiums for hot bikes.

Back in the good old days, insurance companies routinely classified motorcycles by engine displacement and not much else. That all changed in the 1980's. Motorcycles became more specialized, and insurance companies began to differentiate by much more than engine displacement. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), collision losses by super-sport bikes are four times higher than for touring bikes, and six times higher than for cruisers. Differentiating drives cost down for cruisers, and makes owners of other styles pay a premium that better reflects the risk. So how do you find the cheapest motorcycle insurance for you?

Shop around, and around

You can purchase motorcycle insurance from many carriers. Your current auto insurance provider may cover your bike, making it convenient and easy to arrange coverage. Sometimes, auto insurers aren't interested in getting into the motorcycle insurance market and will price their policies a little higher to discourage customers from buying. But you just may stumble upon a company that still rates motorcycles by engine displacement and little else. This could save you hundreds of dollars if you are insuring a super-sport bike.

Several companies offer specialized coverage just for motorcycles. They offer coverage for accessories and custom motorcycles, roadside assistance, towing, riding gear--a full array of protection aimed at the motorcycle rider. Some offer "lay-up" policies that cancel all coverage but comprehensive in the winter months, or they offer an annual policy with a lower premium in northern climates with a limited riding season. A lay-up policy might save you money, but you can't take out your bike on a nice warm day in the off-season.

Get all you have coming

There are many types of discounts, so make sure to ask for every possible discount when you are getting a quote. Check on things like:

  • Rider Course--Completing either the Motorcycle Safety Foundation or a Military Safety Course could earn you a discount, especially if you are a new rider.
  • Stolen Motorcycle Recovery Device--Motorcycles are easy to steal, and you can get a great discount by making it easier for police to recover.
  • Multi-bike Discount--Some companies realize you can't ride more than one at a time and cut you a significant break on additional motorcycles.
  • Clean Record--No tickets or accidents means lower rates. Take it easy out there.

A trio of critical components

The IIHS reports that per vehicle mile traveled, motorcyclist are 37 times more likely to die in an accident than occupants in a passenger car, and nine times more likely to be injured. Make sure your policy provides adequate protection by looking for these key coverages:

  • Medical Payments- Regulations vary by state, but if you have no other medical insurance you may want to add medical payments protection to help pay your medical bills.
  • Guest Passenger Liability- Extends Bodily Injury Liability to pay for injuries your passenger suffers in an accident.
  • Uninsured/Underinsured Bodily Injury- Don't scrimp on your limits to save money, since odds are good that even in a not-at-fault accident your injuries could be substantial and you want to be sure to have the financial resources to pay for your recovery.

Shop around. Not every company rates motorcycles the same way; one man's super-sport is another man's sport-touring. Motorcycle insurance discounts vary and so do policies, extra coverage, and features.


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