Updated: January 2017
Whether it's your weekend escape or the way you get to work every day, there's nothing quite like taking your motorcycle out for a ride. You know you need to help protect your bike with motorcycle insurance, but how do you choose a policy that fits your needs?
There are a few steps to consider as you shop for motorcycle insurance, and the Insurance Information Institute (III) suggests you start by getting several quotes from different companies. For an accurate comparison, take a look at motorcycle quotes that have similar coverages, limits and deductibles.
Once you have a few quotes in hand, the following information may help you decide which policy best fits your needs.
Most states require motorcyclists to carry a certain amount of liability coverage. If you're at fault in an accident, liability coverage may help pay expenses related to another person's injuries or their damaged property.
While liability coverage is usually required by law in each state, the III says additional motorcycle coverage is typically optional — although you should check with your agent about the insurance requirements in your state. In order to make an accurate comparison of several motorcycle insurance quotes, make sure you select the same coverages for each quote.
In addition to liability coverage, here are some common motorcycle coverage options that may be available for you to purchase:
Collision coverage: If your bike is damaged in a collision, this coverage may help pay to repair or replace it.
Comprehensive coverage: This coverage may help pay if your bike is stolen or damaged due to a covered peril, such as vandalism or hail.
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 related to your injury.
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.
As you're comparing the quotes, take a look at the limits for each coverage you select. 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 out for repairs or for medical bills after an accident or to help reimburse you for a stolen bike.
The limits for the following coverages typically work as follows:
Liability coverage — There are two types of liability coverage, and most states set minimum limits that drivers must purchase. For example, the Illinois Secretary of State lists the following required liability coverage limits for Illinois drivers:
- 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. For example, 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.
Collision coverage and comprehensive coverage — The limits for collision and comprehensive coverage are typically up to the actual cash value of your motorcycle.
Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage — In some states the limits for this coverage may be dictated by state law. 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, talk to your agent.
Medical payments coverage/personal injury protection — Some states may require motorcyclists to carry these coverages and the state determines the mandatory limits. In states where it is not required, you select your coverage limits.
Certain coverages, such as collision and comprehensive, typically have a deductible. The deductible is the amount you select when purchasing coverage, and it is what you'll pay out of pocket toward a covered claim.
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 III.
As you're comparing motorcycle insurance rates, the deductible you choose should be the same for each quote you get.
Comparing the key components of motorcycle insurance quotes may help you choose the coverage that best fits your needs. Need help? Contact a local agent, who can help explain the options.