Motorcycle Insurance: Everything You Need to Know

Motorcycle insurance is as important as your helmet, jacket, and gear. But choosing the right insurance can be a bit tricky. You want it to be like your motorcycle — to fit your needs and lifestyle, but also, to be within your budget. 

To find out what motorcycle insurance coverage is best for you, you need to understand all the available options. Standard motorbike insurance policies include bodily injury and property damage liability insurance. Also, most states require these policies from riders. Here’s what you need to know about choosing the best motorcycle insurance for you. 

How Does Motorcycle Insurance Work?

Like car insurance, motorcycle insurance covers bodily injuries and damages that occurred while driving your motorbike. Usually, a motorbike insurance policy includes liability insurance that covers any damages that the driver causes to others. However, it can also cover for the driver’s motorbike and injuries.

In case you own more than one motorcycle, you can purchase a motorcycle insurance policy and often get a discount from motorcycle insurance companies. But if you are riding a different motorbike, for example, when you are traveling or borrowing a bike from a friend, keep in mind that you may not be fully covered. That said, you should always make sure what your insurance covers with your insurer.

Types of Motorcycle Insurance Coverage 

Most states require motorcycle drivers to carry a minimum amount of liability coverage. However, other types of coverage are usually optional. So besides motorcycle insurance price, you should also ask about the laws that apply in your state and understand all the coverage options that fit your specific needs. Here are some types of motorcycle insurance and what they cover. 

Motorcycle Liability Insurance

Motorcycle liability insurance covers bodily injury and property damage that you may cause to others or damage you may cause to a third party while driving the motorcycle. Bodily injury and property damage liability doesn’t cover the rider or the motorcycle itself. 

Typically, when an accident occurs, a third party files a liability claim against your insurance company for whatever damages you are believed to be responsible for. That’s why sometimes liability insurance is referred to as third-party insurance. 

Every motorcycle insurance policy has a limit to the amount of money it will pay out to others for bodily injuries and property damages. For example, if a motorcycle insurance policy covers up to $20,000 per person, that means if a driver injures two people in an accident, they would each be covered up to $20,000, and the rider would still be under the limit of the policy. 

Another good example is a motorcycle crashing into the side of the third party’s car and damaging it. In this case, a claim limit for personal property liability would cover the cost of the repairs up to whatever limit the rider chose. 

Guest Passenger Liability Coverage

The only difference between motorcycle and car insurance is that some motorbike insurance policies include guest passenger liability insurance as an addition. Guest passenger liability insurance protects any injured passenger on your motorcycle. 

Some states require guest passenger liability coverage that protects anyone who is riding on the back of your bike. However, motorcycle insurance companies that don’t already include passenger liability usually offer it as an additional option. If you are frequently riding with others on your bike, this insurance policy is something you should consider as additional protection. 

Medical Payments and Personal Injury Protection (PIP)

Like health insurance, medical payments coverage is a type of motorcycle insurance that covers the cost of medical bills for you if you get injured on your motorcycle. This motorbike insurance covers the rider, regardless of whether the accident was their fault. For example, if you crash into another bike or a car hits your bike, medical payments insurance covers the medical bills up to the limit of the policy. 

Medical payments coverage is optional, and it provides riders a wide range of claim limits. In some states, motorbike rides can purchase PIP insurance. PIP is similar to medical payments coverage, but it covers a variety of costs due to injury, such as funeral costs, child care expenses, or lost wages. 

Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Insurance

Uninsured/underinsured insurance is another optional motorcycle insurance on this list that isn’t generally required in all states. Instead, motorcycle riders can add this type of coverage to their motorcycle insurance policy. 

Uninsured/underinsured insurance covers you as a rider and the damages that another driver who is inadequately insured caused to your bike. In case the other driver doesn’t have any liability insurance, or if the cost of your damages was beyond the limits of their policy, uninsured/underinsured insurance covers everything else their coverage doesn’t. 

Usually, uninsured/underinsured coverage pays for medical bills, lost wages, and other damages that might occur in case the other driver is not insured. In some cases, this type of motorcycle insurance doesn’t include personal property damage, which means you would have to include uninsured/underinsured motorist property damage coverage as well. 

Collision and Comprehensive Motorcycle Insurance

The main difference between comprehensive and collision insurance and property liability insurance is that the first two cover your own damages if you are involved in an accident or your bike is damaged. If you have a new or relatively new bike that would be expensive to repair, these two policies are something you should consider as they are probably worth the cost.

Let’s say you were involved in an accident with another vehicle or you hit an object — collision coverage pays for the cost to repair or replace your bike (your deductible is not included). 

On the other hand, comprehensive motorcycle insurance covers repair or replacement costs to your motorcycle in any other case except a collision. For example, if your motorcycle was damaged in a storm or someone stole it, these events would fall under comprehensive coverage. Even if you are not riding the bike so often, this insurance is a good idea as it covers many situations you can’t control or influence. 

Motorcycle Repair Insurance

Also known as mechanical breakdown insurance, motorcycle repair insurance covers certain repairs to your bike. Similar to an extended warranty, if your motorcycle needs a repair such as transmission or fixing its engine, this policy covers all the fixes that a repair shop makes. However, you should know that, depending on the policy, you might need to pay a deductible per visit. 

Total Loss Coverage for Motorcycles

Some motorcycle insurance companies offer total loss coverage for motorcycles that were totaled in an accident. Regardless of the value of the bike, the insurer will cover the suggested retail value for its replacement (without deductible).

Insurance companies may offer total loss insurance for the bikes that are new or almost new, as many motorcycle insurance companies won’t replace bikes that are worth considerably less as they age. That said, if you have just bought a new motorcycle, this type of motorbike insurance is a good idea for you to consider. 

Roadside Assistance and Towing Insurance

Roadside assistance and towing coverage are optional for motorcycle insurance policies. Usually, motorbike owners can add them in exchange for a higher premium. Roadside assistance programs often tow a motorbike to the nearest shop for free or at a discounted rate. Usually, these policies also cover flat tires, battery failures, and electrical or mechanical breakdown. If you consider this coverage, you should make sure you don’t already have these benefits as a part of your existing coverage. 

Carried Contents and Personal Belongings Coverage

Carried contents and personal belongings insurance covers all the possessions you carry while riding your motorcycle. For example, if you lose or damage your cell phone or motorcycle gear, you can relax because they will be covered.

Also, contents and personal belongings don’t necessarily have to be damaged in a crash to qualify for a claim. If they accidentally fall off a motorcycle and are therefore considered lost, the insurance will cover them. 

A motorcycle driver and a guest passenger ride on a bike.

What Does Motorcycle Insurance Not Cover?

Depending on the type of motorcycle insurance you choose, certain uses of your bike may not be covered. In these cases, you can extend your policy’s coverage through an endorsement, or buy a separate policy. Here’s what basic motorcycle insurance policies usually don’t cover:

  • Commercial Use of Your Motorcycle: If you are driving your motorcycle for business purposes, your individual insurance may not cover you while you are on the job. If you regularly use your motorcycle for work, consider a commercial vehicle insurance policy
  • Track Days: While some motorcycle insurance companies cover track days and competition, this isn’t always the case. So if you plan to ride your bike on the track, it is a good idea to ask your insurer if your policy covers these situations. 

How to Lower Motorcycle Insurance Price

There are ways to save money on your motorbike insurance, so whether you are planning to talk to your insurer or you a looking for motorcycle insurance quotes online, here are the best ways to lower your policy price:

  • Shop Around: Check several motorcycle insurance companies and compare prices on the market to find the best coverage at the best rates. 
  • Increase Your Deductible: If you can afford it, a higher deductible can reduce the price of a policy.
  • Ask For Discounts: Ask your current insurer if they can reduce the price of your policy by bundling it with your car and home insurance.
  • Have a Clean Record: Experienced riders and those with a clean driving record usually get lower premiums. 
  • Don’t cancel in the winter: If you cancel your insurance policy in the winter, you won’t save on premiums, and your motorcycle won’t be covered if anything happens to it while it’s in storage. 

East Insurance Group’s Motorcycle Insurance

With East insurance Group’s motorcycle insurance, you can have the kind of protection a bike like yours deserves:

  • Up to 12 bikes on one policy
  • Enjoy up to 35% savings
  • Coverage up to $50,000 per bike
  • Guest passenger liability automatically included with the selection of Bodily Injury Liability
  • Coverage for most trikes, limited production bikes, vintage bikes, custom bikes, and assembled or kit bikes

Finally, the type of motorcycle insurance coverage you choose to buy will depend on your bike and its value, and whether you want coverage for your own injuries, and whether you want to protect your belongings.

Interested in finding out why so many riders are making the switch to Nationwide? Get a free motorcycle insurance quote today.