What determines the cost of motorcycle insurance?
Last updated: January 1
The cost of motorcycle insurance depends on several factors including but not limited to:
- Your state laws
- Your age
- The type of motorcycle you own
- Where you store the motorcycle
Another factor that contributes to the overall cost of motorcycle insurance are the types of coverages you purchase for your policy.
Type of coverage: minimum vs full coverage
In the vast majority of states, motorcycle drivers – just like car drivers – are required to purchase at least bodily injury and property damage liability coverage.
You may’ve also heard the term “full coverage” – as applied to both car and motorcycle insurance. While it’s not technically an insurance term, it often refers to a policy that carries minimum liability plus coverages like comprehensive and collision.
Comprehensive covers non-collision-related incidents – for instance, vandalism, theft, damage from fallen objects, weather-related damage and more. Collision covers damage resulting from crashes – with another vehicle or object.
It may be considered a “full coverage” policy in this case because it covers not only your liability but also repairs to your own vehicle regardless of fault. But again, you likely won’t find an insurance policy with the term “full coverage” anywhere in it.
Purchasing a policy with bare minimum coverage will likely get you a lower monthly premium but you’d be on the hook for repairs to your own motorcycle if you were to get into an accident – which could cost you a lot more in the long run.
Motorcycle insurance varies by state
Among the many variables that determine the cost of motorcycle insurance are the specific laws in your state. They dictate the minimum amount of coverage you’re required to purchase in order to legally ride your motorcycle.
The vast majority of states require motorcycle insurance. And state requirements can vary from state to state in terms of the types of coverages and their limits, explains the Information Insurance Institute (III).
For instance, most states at least require liability insurance – but some states, like Maryland, also require uninsured motorist coverage, which helps protect you if you’re hit by an uninsured driver, according to the Maryland Insurance Administration. Consult your state’s department of insurance to understand which coverages you will be required to have.
If the state you’re in does not require you to purchase motorcycle coverage, you will be held financially responsible for any accidents you may cause.
Other factors that impact motorcycle policy costs
As mentioned above, age, experience, your state’s laws and the type of bike you own help insurers calculate your motorcycle insurance premium. Additionally, factors like driving history, your location, insurance history and the type of motorcycle you’re insuring play an important part as well, according to the III.
Your driving – or in this case “riding” – history gives insurers an idea of how safe or experienced you are as a rider. Fewer speeding tickets and traffic incidents could indicate that you are a lower-risk rider. Additionally, if you’ve taken safety courses, some insurers may offer a discount on your premium, according the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF).
Insurance companies also look at your insurance history. If you make payments on time, for instance, and have avoided lapses in coverage, you could potentially get a better rate than someone who hasn’t.
Where you live may affect your motorcycle insurance rate. That’s because premiums are based in part by rates of accidents, vandalism, theft, etc. in your area. A major city, for instance, is likely to increase motorcycle insurance rates compared to a rural area where there may be fewer vehicles on the road.
The type of bike you own
The type of motorcycle you ride can affect how much you’ll pay for insurance. Motorcycles come with crash ratings, says Business Insider, and the higher the crashworthiness, the safer the bike – and the lower your premium may be.
Additionally, bikes with greater horse power increase accident risk and may be more expensive to insure than a bike with lower horse power.
Other factors related to your motorcycle that can affect your premium include the motorcycle’s value, any safety features and the theft rate for your particular make and model of bike. Also, if your bike has an upgrades or customizations, insurance will typically only cover the base model unless you purchase extra coverage.
How to lower your motorcycle insurance
As mentioned above, safety features can help bring your premium down – for example, locks, ground anchors and alarms, which help reduce the chance of theft or vandalism.
Many motorcycle insurance companies also offer an array of motorcycle insurance discounts. If, for instance, you’re already using another insurance company for, say, your vehicle or home, bundling your motorcycle with that same insurer could earn you discount. Same goes for insuring multiple motorcycles with one insurance company.
- Join an eligible motorcycle organization
- Set up automatic payments
- Pay your policy in full
Find the right motorcycle insurance that fits your needs
There’s no-one-size-fits-all formula when it comes to motorcycle insurance premiums and coverages. The best way to find the right motorcycle insurance is to talk with insurer about their coverages and costs or get quotes online. Many insurers can give you an idea of the right coverages for you based on the answers you provide. Just remember, when comparing motorcycle insurance, be sure to select the same coverages, limits and deductibles so that you can make an accurate comparison.