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Motorcycle Insurance

Amy Danise

If you own a motorcycle, most states require some form of "financial responsibility," such as motorcycle insurance.

You can register a motorcycle without liability insurance in two states:


Florida does not require motorcycle riders to have liability insurance (unless they've caused an accident) and personal injury protection (PIP) is not available for motorcycles. But if you want to ride without a helmet in Florida you must have at least $10,000 in medical benefits. This could come from health insurance. If a motorcyclist without liability insurance causes an accident, they will need to buy liability insurance for the next three years.

Washington state

In Washington, you just have to take a motorcycle safety course or pass a knowledge and riding test to get an endorsement to your driver's license or a permit to learn to ride.

What motorcycle insurance can cover

Type of insurance What it covers
Liability insurance Pays for injuries and damage you cause to others.
Guest passenger liability Covers a passenger who's injured. Some states require that motorcycle policies include this.
Custom parts & equipment Covers aftermarket modifications, such as equipment or accessories that change the appearance or performance of the motorcycle.
Collision insurance Pays for repairs to a motorcycle from crashes into objects such as fences.
Comprehensive insurance Covers repairs to or replacement of a motorcycle damaged by:
  • Fire.
  • Vandalism.
  • Flood.
  • Falling objects.
  • Natural disasters.
  • Crashes with deer and other animals.

    Comprehensive insurance also covers theft.

Total loss coverage Pays the manufacturer's suggested retail price of the current model of your motorcycle if yours is totaled.
Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage Covers your medical bills if the driver who caused the accident has no insurance or not enough insurance.
Personal injury protection (PIP) Covers injuries to you and and your passengers, regardless of who caused an accident.
Medical payments (MedPay) Like PIP, covers injuries to you or your passengers, regardless of who caused the accident. MedPay can also supplement health insurance by covering a health insurance deductible, copays and home health care.
Optional equipment coverage Covers bike customizations.
Trip interruption coverage Pays for meals and hotels if your trip can't continue.
Roadside assistance Pays for towing due to a breakdown, flat tire, dead battery or lack of a fluid such as oil.

Types of motorcycle insurance payouts

You'll want to understand how you'll be reimbursed if your motorcycle is totaled in an accident or stolen.

Actual cash value

Pays the value of the bike at the time of the accident. This takes depreciation into account.

Stated value

Coverage cost is based on a bike value you state when you buy the policy. If the motorcycle is totaled, the insurer can pay either the stated value or actual cash value, whichever is less.

Agreed value

If the motorcycle is totaled, the insurer pays the agreed value.

Motorcycle insurance cost

Motorcycle insurance quotes are generally based on:

  • Where you live.
  • Whether the motorcycle is stored in a garage overnight.
  • Age of the motorcycle and engine size.
  • Your age and driving record.
  • Your years of cycling experience.
  • Whether you're single or married (married folks generally pay less).
  • Past motorcycle insurance claims.
  • Your prior motorcycle insurance limits.
  • The coverage types you buy and deductible chosen.
  • Whether you've had continuous motorcycle insurance on your bike (gaps in coverage are bad and can mean higher rates).
  • Whether you've made modifications, such as adding a turbo kit or modifying the frame.

Finding cheap motorcycle insurance quotes

Here are common ways to lower your bill:

  • Anti-theft or recovery device: Ask your insurance company which anti-theft devices will get a discount.
  • Belong to a motorcycle riders association. Ask your agent which associations will qualify you for a discount.
  • Bundling: If you also have a car, you can likely get a discount by buying both your auto and motorcycle insurance from the same company (or motorcycle insurance plus homeowners or renters insurance).
  • Lay-up period: If you live in a state with a cold season, you probably store your motorcycle for some of the year. A lay-up insurance policy allows you to pause insurance coverage and reduce your cost.
  • Low-mileage: Discounts for bikers who don't go long distances.
  • Motorcycle safety course: These courses prove to an insurer that you know how to ride safely. Contact your insurer to see how a Motorcycle Safety Foundation course can lower rates.
  • More than one motorcycle: Discounts for insuring more than one vehicle (including motorcycles) are common.
  • Ownership: You could get a discount if you've owned the bike for a certain number of years.
  • Pay in full: You can often get a price break by paying for the full policy term up-front rather than monthly.
  • Shop around: Just as you'd want to compare car insurance quotes from multiple insurers, it can pay off to compare motorcycle insurance quotes.

Motorcycle riders' associations

Membership in one of the following associations could lead to a discount on motorcycle insurance. Check with your insurance agent to see what memberships make you eligible for a price break.

American Legion Riders (ALR)
American Motorcyclist Association (AMA)
Blue Knights
BMW Motorcycle Owners of America (BMWMOA)
Christian Motorcyclists Association (CMA)
Desmo Owners Group
Ducati Desmo Club
Gold Wing Road Riders Association (GWRRA)
Gold Wing Touring Association (GWTA)
Harley Owners Group (HOG)

Indians Motorcycle Riders Group
Moto Guzzi National Owners Club (MGNOC)
Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF)
Red Knights International Firefighters Motorcycle Club
Riders Association of Triumph (RAT)
Star Touring and Riding Association (RSTAR)

United Sidecar Association (USCA)
Vulcan Riders Association (VRA)
Women on Wheels (WOW)