Updated: January 2017
Purchasing a motorcycle can be a dream come true. But there's an important step to take before you hit the road on your new bike — making sure you have a motorcycle insurance policy.
It's a good idea to start with the basics. As you start shopping for motorcycle insurance, take a look at this overview of the common types of coverage.
Most states require motorcyclists to carry liability insurance. Each state sets minimum liability limits that drivers must purchase.
Liability coverage typically does not pay for your medical expenses or repairs to your bike. Instead, it may help pay for expenses related to someone else's injuries or damage to their property if you're at fault for an accident. There are typically two types of required liability coverage:
- Bodily injury liability. If you're at fault for an accident that injures another driver or pedestrian, bodily injury liability coverage may help pay for expenses related to their injuries. In some states, bodily injury liability coverage automatically helps protect passengers on your bike, while in other states you must pay an additional premium for the coverage to apply to your passenger.
- Property damage liability. If you cause an accident that damages another person's property, this type of coverage may help pay to repair it.
: Bikers: You Have an Accident and It's Your Fault — What Insurance Coverage Should You Consider?
While coverage for your bike is not typically mandatory, collision and comprehensive coverage may help you avoid paying out of pocket for repairs or a new bike after an accident or theft. If you are financing or leasing your bike, be sure to check with your lender or dealer to see if they require either or both of these coverages.
Collision coverage.This coverage may help pay to repair or replace your bike if it's damaged in a collision with another vehicle or object.
Comprehensive coverage. Collisions aren't the only way your bike can be damaged, and that's where comprehensive coverage may help. It may help pay for your bike if it's stolen. Comprehensive coverage also may help pay to repair your bike if it's damaged by a covered event, such as fire, hail or vandalism.
Both collision and comprehensive coverage typically come with a deductible, which is the amount you pay out of pocket toward a covered claim before your insurance benefits begin.
Learn more: Collision and Comprehensive Coverage: Motorcycle Insurance That Protects Your Bike
The following coverages are designed to help protect you against paying out of pocket for medical expenses resulting from an accident on your motorcycle. The laws around insurance coverage for medical bills vary from state to state, but you'll need to have at least the minimum coverage if it is required in your state.
Medical payments coverage. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, motorcycle riders have a greater chance of injury in an accident because they lack the protection of an enclosed vehicle. That's why this type of coverage is important for bikers. Medical payments coverage may help pay for your or your passengers' medical expenses after an accident.
Personal injury protection. While it's only available in some states, personal injury protection may help pay for expenses related to an injury from an accident, regardless of fault. Personal injury protection also may help cover expenses related to your injuries, such as lost income or child care costs.
Learn more: Medical Payments Coverage and Personal Injury Protection for Motorcyclists
Uninsured and underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage.This coverage may help pay for your medical treatment and lost wages if you are injured an accident caused by an uninsured or underinsured driver. Some motorcycle insurance policies may also include coverage for uninsured motorist property damage, or it may be available as additional coverage.
Finally, all of the standard coverages mentioned above have limits. A limit is the maximum amount your insurer will pay for a covered loss.
Have questions about your motorcycle insurance options? Talk to a local agent, who can help you pick the policy that fits you and your new bike.