Insurance likely isn't the first thing you think about regarding your new motorcycle. Freedom, adventure, the open road – that's more like it. Still, slowing down long enough to consider coverage for your ride will give you the peace of mind to enjoy it to the fullest.
So, how much motorcycle insurance do you need? It depends. Motorcycle insurance is as varied as the bikes themselves. You can customize your coverage just as you customized your chosen machine. Sometimes, getting the coverage you want is as simple as asking the right questions.
Here are eight questions you'll want to address before you purchase motorcycle insurance.
- What does my state require? As they do for auto insurance, most states require you to carry a minimum amount of liability coverage for your motorcycle. You'll probably want more than the minimum, but it's worthwhile to know the legal requirements for motorcycle insurance.
- Does liability include guest passenger liability coverage? If you cause an accident, standard liability coverage helps pay for bodily injury expenses, such as hospital bills and medical care, and property damage costs that you may be held responsible to pay. Guest passenger liability extends that coverage to a passenger riding with you on your motorcycle.
- What more do I need? Collision, comprehensive, uninsured/underinsured? Collision and comprehensive cover damage to your motorcycle from an accident or from an event such as fire, theft or vandalism. Uninsured/Underinsured covers damages to you and your property caused by another driver who either doesn't have insurance or doesn't have adequate insurance.
- Is replacement cost coverage available? This will vary depending on the insurer or the policy. While most collision and comprehensive coverage pays "book value," some insurers will pay replacement cost for machines less than a year old or for certain specific makes and models.
- Are custom parts and accessories covered? How about safety apparel? Motorcycle owners spend a lot personalizing their machines, and standard coverage may not extend to custom parts. You may want to buy optional coverage. On the other hand, some policies include coverage for damaged or stolen safety apparel, such as helmets, jackets, boots and gloves, at no extra cost.
- Do I want medical payments coverage? This covers the cost, within a specified limit, of medical care you receive as a result of a motorcycle accident, regardless of who is at fault.
- Is roadside assistance available? Typically, this covers towing to the nearest qualified repair shop and other basic emergency services. It may also include trip interruption benefits.
- What discounts might be available? Start by checking with your current home or auto insurance agency. Many carriers offer a discount for bundling policies. Another common way to save is completing an approved safety course from a group such as the Motorcycle Safety Foundation. Other discounts may be available for such things as having a good driving record, being a member of an approved riding club or association, or storing your bike in a locked, secure structure.