Motorcycle Insurance Guide

July 10, 2009
By Motorcycle USA Staff

If you are in a motorcycle accident in Colombia you will find yourself having to prove your innocence  the legal system being based on Napoleonic Law: guilty until you prove yourself innocent.
Accidents can happen at any time when you least expect it. Don’t be caught unprepared by not having Motorcycle Insurance.

Motorcycling is inherently dangerous. You never know what might be around the bend. So the last thing you want to worry about in an accident is insurance, so don’t ride without it. Besides, it’s required by law, and getting a ticket for not having insurance is expensive. Some states won’t even let you buy a bike without proof of motorcycle insurance.

Whatever your riding pleasure, be it cruisers, sportbikes, touring motorcycles, ATVs, or scooters, there is an insurance plan to meet your needs. But there are a few factors that will dictate your rate, including your age and driving record (and yes, they will look at your driving record behind the wheel of a car), the type of motorcycle you ride (obviously that Ducati 1198 is going to cost way more than that Honda Rebel), where you live and how you store the bike, and will vary based on the whether you choose simple liability or a comprehensive plan. Most states have a minimum limit for motorcycle insurance and require riders to at least possess liability coverage. If you already have auto insurance with a company you particularly trust, check to see whether they offer motorcycle insurance as well. Often they will extend you a discounted price if you bundle coverage.

Dont make eye contact. Bow your head maggot! Not really  Duke and Donny B were encouraging to our newbie test crew.
Taking a Motorcycle Safety Foundation course can not only help you avoid accident situations but it can also earn you a discounted insurance rate.

Most research can be done online these days. Three provisions to consider when buying motorcycle insurance are theft coverage that will at least replace the bike if it is stolen, enough medical coverage to compensate for expensive hospital stays, and ask for safety discounts if you’ve taken a safety course, are an older rider, or park your motorcycle in a parked garage.

Riders who have taken a Motorcycle Safety Foundation or Military Safety Course are frequently eligible for a discounted rate. If you live in an area where the riding season only lasts a couple of months, let the insurance company know so that they can find the plan that’s best for you. Here’s a helpful breakdown of some of the things to consider before you buy motorcycle insurance:

Property Damage Liability and Bodily Injury covers property damage and bodily injury expenses to others in an accident where you are at fault. Sometimes liability will even cover court fees if the case goes to trial. Basic liability doesn’t usually extend to passengers, so you will want to look into getting Guest Passenger Liability Coverage as well. This will pay for any injuries a passenger sustains while riding with you.

Here’s a breakdown as an example. If your limits are 15/30/10, this means: 
    – Insurance will pay up to $15,000 toward Bodily Injury to another person. 
    – Insurance will pay no more than $30,000 per accident for Bodily Injury. 
    – Insurance covers Property Damage up to $10,000.

Motorcyclists should at least have liability in case you are in an accident that injures somebody else.

Even if the accident was your fault, Collision Insurance will have you covered and get your ride repaired after that wipeout on your 2010 Ducati Streetfighter.

Comprehensive and Collision pays to repair or replace your motorcycle if it is stolen or damaged in an accident, regardless of who is at fault. As a policy holder, you will be responsible for paying a deductible out of pocket, but the insurance company will pay the balance on the remaining damage. Comprehensive coverage protects against damages to your bike from incidences like fire, theft, vandalism, or storm damage. Collision coverage will pay to have your motorcycle repaired if it is totaled or damaged in a collision.

Protect your investment. If you’ve spent a lot of money on custom parts, make sure they are insured, too. Custom Parts and Equipment/Accessory coverage extends to accessories, enhancements and changes, other than those that the manufacturer originally installs, that alter the appearance or performance of a motorcycle or off-road vehicle. Got an expensive GPS or stereo system? Rest assured. This includes electronic equipment that is permanently installed using bolts or brackets, including slide-out brackets. Other motorcycle accessories including sidecars, trailers, trike conversion kits, custom paint, custom exhaust, and even safety riding apparel are covered.

Uninsured Motorists is not always mandated by law but is a smart move to protect you against drivers whom don’t have insurance. Uninsured motorist insurance pays for any bodily injury or property damage caused in an accident with someone who is uninsured. Otherwise, you could have to foot the accident-related bills, even if you’re not at fault.

rider in ambulance...
Medical bills add up very fast and having the right insurance can put your mind at ease while you recover.

Roadside Assistance is another helpful coverage. If you break down on the side of the road, the plan will have your motorcycle towed to the nearest repair facility and usually covers labor costs incurred roadside. This includes circumstances like mechanical breakdown, a dead battery, flat tire, or something as simple as running out of gas. The coverage extends to trailers being towed by a motorcycle. Roadside Assistance is sometimes included in comprehensive insurance policies. Even if it isn’t, if you’re a true road warrior that logs plenty of road miles, then the nominal fee is worth the extra piece of mind.

Medical Payments coverage pays the cost of medical care you receive as a result of a motorcycle accident and can be used regardless of who is at fault. Medical Payments are usually only good for a limited number of years after the accident and covers a specific dollar amount.

Most motorcycle insurance providers will customize a program around a rider’s needs. Companies like Progressive, GEICO, Allstate, State Farm, and Esurance all offer coverage, so be sure to shop around for the best price. But start with the company that insures your car first to see if they will strike a deal for insuring multiple vehicles.