Is cheap motorcycle coverage worth it?

Last updated: January 1

Carrying the bare minimum motorcycle insurance might cover someone else’s injuries or damage to someone else’s property, but it likely won’t cover damage to your motorcycle, or your injuries. While having cheap motorcycle insurance might save you on premiums, you could end up paying a lot out of pocket if you get in an accident.

Here are a few things to think about when purchasing motorcycle coverage.

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What are your legal requirements?

Most states require you to carry a minimum amount of liability insurance. It helps pay for someone's property damage or medical bills when you cause an accident. Some states require additional coverages. Talk to your insurer about what's needed.

If you're financing your bike, your lender will likely require you to purchase comprehensive and collision. These cover the bike itself. Your lender will also want you to get gap coverage, which helps pay the difference between what you still owe on the motorcycle and how much it’s depreciated in value.

Comparing motorcycle insurance

In order to make an accurate comparison of several motorcycle insurance quotes, make sure you select the same coverages and limits for each quote.

A limit is the maximum amount your policy will pay for a covered loss. Typically, higher coverage limits mean higher premiums. For a motorcycle policy, there will be limits on how much the insurer pays for injuries or someone else’s property damage.

For instance, there are two types of liability coverage, and each sets its own minimum requirements. As an example, the Illinois Secretary of State requires drivers to have the following:

  • Bodily injury liability coverage limits:
    • $25,000 for injury of one person in an accident
    • $50,000 for injury of more than one person in an accident
  • Property damage liability coverage limits:
    • $20,000 for damage to another person's property

Keep in mind that you can purchase additional liability coverage by increasing your liability limits. That’s why it’s important to consider how much you would be able to pay out of pocket if you injured someone in a crash, and their medical bills exceeded your liability limits. You may decide that it makes sense to increase your liability limits.

In addition to liability coverage, here are some common motorcycle coverage options and how coverage limits work for each:

Comprehensive and collision
Comprehensive helps cover the cost to repair or replace your motorcycle if it’s stolen or damaged by non-collision incidents. For instance, vandalism, theft or hail damage. Collision helps pay to repair or replace your bike if it’s involved in a crash with a vehicle or object.

The limits for collision and comprehensive coverage are typically up to the actual cash value of your motorcycle.

Uninsured and underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage
If you or a passenger are injured in an accident caused by an uninsured or underinsured driver, this coverage may help pay for expenses related to your injury.

Some states have minimum requirements. In states where this coverage is optional, you typically choose your policy's limits. If you're unsure of the amount of coverage to choose, speak with your insurer.

Medical payments coverage / personal injury protection (not available in all states)
These coverages may help pay for medical expenses and other associated costs if you or a passenger are injured in an accident.

Some states may require motorcyclists to carry these coverages with mandatory limits. In states where it is not required, you select your coverage limits.

Compare deductibles

Certain coverages, such as collision and comprehensive, typically have a deductible. The deductible is what you pay before your insurer covers the rest of a covered claim. You select your deductible when purchasing coverage.

For example, if you need $1,500 worth of covered repairs to your bike and your deductible is $500, your insurer would likely pay $1,000 towards your claim.

Typically, a higher deductible means lower premium payments for you, says the Insurance Information Institute.

As you're comparing motorcycle insurance rates, the deductible you choose should be the same for each quote you get.

How to save on motorcycle insurance

Just as a number of variables factor into the pricing of a motorcycle policy (including your age, the type of bike, etc.), there are a number of ways to save on your premiums.

Discounts
You may receive a break for insuring multiple bikes, or for buying your policy from the same company that insures your home or car. Your insurer can tell you if other discounts apply, too.

Rider courses
A motorcycle safety course may be another way to save. Some insurers offer discounts between 10 and 15 percent if you enroll in one.

Remember, cheap motorcycle insurance may have in-the-moment appeal, but it's important to have the right coverage to properly protect you against the risks on the road.