Motorcycle Insurance 101
Riding a motorcycle can be a thrilling way to travel from place to place, but there is more to it than the feel of the wind in your hair. If you are going to be riding your motorcycle, you need to have motorcycle insurance. Second only to wearing a helmet, carrying robust motorcycle insurance is one of the best ways to protect yourself and your bike in the event of an accident.
Do I need motorcycle insurance?
Everyone who rides a motorcycle needs to carry liability insurance. Whether or not the law in your state requires it, you need to carry insurance to protect yourself financially.
Motorcycle insurance is required by law in almost every state, with some states like Florida and Montana only encouraging you to carry a minimum amount of coverage. The state requirements for motorcycle insurance are often extremely low — some states require as little as $5,000 in property damage liability and $15,000 in bodily injury liability. Liability limits this low could leave you responsible for tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages if you are at fault for an accident, which is why Goosehead recommends carrying the highest limits available.
Typical Motorcycle Insurance Coverages
You can purchase many different coverages available for your motorcycle, including:
- Bodily injury and property damage liability: These are the most important coverages you can purchase and are typically included in basic insurance policies. These coverages pay for damages you may cause to others on the roadway, including medical bills, emergency aid, lost wages and vehicle damage if you are found at fault in an accident. Your liability will also provide coverage if the damages result in a legal battle. Purchasing high liability coverage is important for protecting your financial wellbeing.
- Collision: Considered part of a full coverage plan, collision coverage pays for damages to your motorcycle in the event of an accident, whether or not you are at fault.
- Comprehensive: Considered part of a full coverage plan, comprehensive coverage pays for damages to your motorcycle that aren’t caused by an accident, such as flooding, fire or theft.
- Uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM): If you are the victim of a hit and run accident or someone else is at fault in an accident but they don’t have high enough liability levels to cover the damages they caused, UM/UIM coverage helps pay for things like medical bills, lost wages, and possibly even property damage, depending on the plan details. There are 20 states that require UM/UIM coverage as part of their mandatory motorcycle insurance laws.
- Personal injury protection (PIP): PIP coverage provides a specific amount of coverage to pay for your medical expenses after an accident, whether or not you are at fault. PIP coverage is required as part of the mandatory motorcycle insurance laws in 14 states.
- Roadside assistance: If your motorcycle breaks down, roadside assistance coverage can help by providing a tow, bringing you fuel, or jumpstarting your battery. Roadside assistance may be included in a basic insurance policy, but it is more likely to be considered an add-on benefit for an additional fee.
- Accessories: Most full coverage motorcycle insurance policies usually include a benefit for accessories, meaning that if your helmet or other motorcycle accessories are damaged in a covered accident, they will be repaired or replaced.
Full Coverage vs Liability Only Coverage For Motorcycles
Liability only coverage includes bodily injury and property damage liability, both of which pay for damages you cause to other people and their property. It is possible to cause significant damage, even on a motorcycle, which means it is important to carry levels of liability coverage that will protect you in a worst case scenario. What if you hit a Range Rover, or you cause an accident with a car that has three children in the back seat? You need to be prepared to pay for significant liability costs, which means choosing the highest level of liability coverage you can afford.
Full coverage includes liability insurance as well as comprehensive and collision coverage. These coverages will pay to repair or replace your motorcycle and any riding equipment and accessories that are damaged in the event of an accident, no matter who is at fault. This type of coverage is almost always required for people who have a loan on their motorcycle. Full coverage may also include roadside assistance or other benefits, depending on the details of the plan you choose. You can work with our experts at Goosehead Insurance to make sure your insurance includes the coverages best for you.
What States Require PIP or UM Motorcycle Coverage?
Each state has their own unique requirements when it comes to motorcycle insurance. Some states require motorcyclists to carry some amount of PIP coverage, while others require you to carry uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. Some states require you to carry both coverages, while other states have no minimum coverage requirements for motorcyclists at all. Because regulations vary from state to state, it is important to keep up-to-date on the requirements for motorcyclists in your state.
Is it possible to get cheap motorcycle insurance?
While motorcycle insurance is typically cheaper than auto insurance, it can still be pricey, especially for sport bikes or young riders. Many companies offer a variety of discounts for motorcycle riders, including bundling discounts, responsible rider discounts, and pay in full discounts, all of which can help reduce your rates.
Comparing quotes is often the best way to make sure you are getting the lowest price on your insurance. Our experts at Goosehead Insurance will help you compare quotes and recommended the best possible motorcycle insurance coverage for your needs.
Fun Fact: NHTSA estimates that helmets saved the lives of 1,872 motorcyclists in 2017. If all motorcyclists had worn helmets, an additional 749 lives could have been saved.
The contents of this article are for informational purposes only. You should not act or refrain from acting based on this information without first consulting a Goosehead licensed agent at firstname.lastname@example.org. We disclaim all liability for actions taken or not taken by you based on the contents of this article which is provided "as is." Goosehead makes no representation that this content is error-free.