Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Laura Walker graduated college with a BS in Criminal Justice with a minor in Political Science. She married her husband and began working in the family insurance business in 2005. She became a licensed agent and wrote P&C business focusing on personal lines insurance. Laura serviced existing business and wrote new business. She now uses her insurance background to help educate drivers about...

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Reviewed by Laura Walker
Licensed Agent for 10 Years

UPDATED: Jun 17, 2019

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The exact cost of motorcycle insurance will depend on your unique profile but insuring a motorcycle certainly is a lot less than almost any car or truck.

Most drivers pay anywhere from $500 to $1500 annually for motorcycle insurance.

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All states require mandatory motorcycle insurance and if you are caught riding without proper insurance, you may face hefty fines and/or loss of your driving privileges – remember, it is a privilege to operate a vehicle, not a right!

Your bike can also be impounded and if you are involved in an accident you might be personally responsible for damages and medical payments. Many courts automatically assign fault if you are uninsured which means you will have court costs and attorney fees as well.

Understanding how motorcycle insurance works will help you find the best policy for your budget. Choosing an insurance company or policy is an important decision and with more knowledge on how insurance works you can often find much better rates and policy coverage.

What factors affect the cost of motorcycle insurance?

Several different factors affect how much a motorcycle insurance policy will cost. Just like with any insurance policy, understanding how companies factor premiums will help you shop for the best rate.

Age and driving experience are a major factor. Older drivers and people with longer experience can be offered lower rates because they statistically are better drivers. Young drivers or newly licensed will usually pay higher premiums for the same coverage.

Just like age, your driving record provides insurance companies an idea of what kind of risk you are. If you have a clean driving record, they will give you a lower rate. On the other side, past violations will cost you more.

Auto insurance companies look at your history to calculate the chance you will be involved in an accident. The good news is most companies only go back three to five years so you can improve your record with time and careful driving.

Taking a state offered safety course may also get you a discount on insurance.

Most areas offer some type of motorcycle safety or riding refresher courses although not all motorcycle insurance companies accept these courses, some even only accept state approved courses or programs completed at a short list of “approved” driving schools set by the insurer.

The type of motorcycle you own will also affect your premiums. Motorcycles range in sizes, styles and prices (just like cars) so do not expect to pay the same rate for a $30,000 Harley Davidson as you would for a 1976 Kawaski.

Where you live and work can also affect the price of your premium. Auto Insurance companies use area statistics to determine risk factors for accidents and theft and if you live in an area which has a greater risk of car accidents or auto theft then expect to pay more.

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What types of motorcycle insurance coverage are available?

Just like car insurance, there are different types of motorcycle insurance available. Each has different levels of protection, different deductibles and additional coverage options you can attached to a basic policy.

Basic coverage is referred to as liability insurance. Liability will cover damages and medical bills to other drivers in the event of an at-fault accident.

At-fault means you were found to be responsible for the accident and basic liability will not cover and damage/injuries sustained to you or your motorcycle.

Comprehensive and collision insurance is commonly referred to as full coverage because it is combined with liability. With this insurance, you also get protection from vandalism, theft, or fire. In the event of an accident, you and your motorcycle are also covered even if you are at-fault.

If you have a loan on your motorcycle, you will probably be expected to carry comprehensive and collision coverage. Auto loan companies require this to assure that in the event your motorcycle is declared a total loss, they will still be able to recoup payments owed them.

Other available packages may include roadside assistance, towing or additional coverage for modifications. These are often added on to your policy for a small fee.

Roadside assistance and towing may be added for only a few dollars in most cases but many times you may already have this through the bike manafacturer, a AAA membership or other source.

Coverage for modifications or customization will be based on the value of these items and not necessarily covered under a typical motorcycle insurance policy.

If you plan on doing any custom work or modifying your bike even slightly its best to contact your insurance company and see (a) if they will cover the change and (b) what impact a modification may have on your insurance rates.

How do I shop for motorcycle insurance?

Shopping around for motorcycle insurance is certainly the best way to compare providers however where do you start? Doing a little research can save you time and money and knowing exactly what kind of coverage you need and want can help identify the best coverage for your unique needs.

When speaking with potential motorcycle insurance companies be prepared to share some information such as your driver’s license number, the make and model of the bike, the motorcycle VIN and how the bike is stored.

Many time when applying for insurance we forget about the list of small questions they need to give an accurate quote so it’s best to have these details close by before making a call.

Always get quotes from several companies. The company you use for car insurance may not necessarily offer you the best deal on motorcycle insurance and shopping around will insure you have the best chance finding the most affordable insurance.

However, before you decide on a company, check them out. Look for independent or consumer reviews. New insurance companies are opening up all the time and many smaller companies offer the same level of coverage and service as big name companies for lower prices.

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