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Motorcycle insurance: How to get coverage

Motorcycle insurance is made up of different types of coverage that financially protect you if you get into an accident while on your motorcycle. Get covered by talking to an agent or submitting a request online.

Andrew Hurst

By

Andrew Hurst

Andrew Hurst

Senior Editor & Licensed Auto Insurance Expert

Andrew Hurst is a senior editor and a licensed auto insurance expert at Policygenius. His work has also been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, USA Today, NPR, Mic, Insurance Business Magazine, ValuePenguin, and Property Casualty 360.

Edited byAnna Swartz

Anna Swartz

Senior Managing Editor & Auto Insurance Expert

Anna Swartz is a senior managing editor and auto insurance expert at Policygenius, where she oversees our car insurance coverage. Previously, she was a senior staff writer at Mic.com, as well as an associate writer at The Dodo.

Updated|5 min read

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If you’re a motorcycle owner, you need motorcycle insurance for your ride. Most major car insurance companies sell motorcycle insurance, so it’s not hard to get covered.

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Any company that offers motorcycle insurance will ask questions about you and your bike before you can buy a policy. To get motorcycle insurance, you’ll have to give your name, engine size, and license information, and be able to verify that your license has a motorcycle endorsement (if that’s required in your state).

How to get motorcycle insurance

Even though they’re different types of insurance, you get motorcycle insurance by following the same five steps that you would to get auto insurance:

  1. Decide how much motorcycle insurance to get: You have to get the same amount of insurance for a motorcycle as for a regular car, but you can choose to get more than the minimum amount required in your state, plus endorsements to cover your gear or accessories.

  2. Compare quotes: To get quotes, you’ll need to give your name, address, and driver’s license number, and verify that you have a motorcycle endorsement (if one’s required near you) and that you’re legally allowed to ride. Shopping online or with a broker means you can compare quotes from multiple companies at one.

  3. Pick a policy: If cost is your top priority, you can choose whichever company offers you the cheapest quote. But you may want to consider things like company reviews or available coverage options when you’re choosing the best motorcycle insurance. 

  4. Choose a start-date for your policy: When you’re ready, finalize your policy and select a start date. Some companies offer discounts for shopping ahead of time, so it might be worth requesting a quote before your existing insurance policy (if you have one) ends.

  5. Cancel your existing policy: Once your new motorcycle insurance is all set up, you can cancel your old policy without worrying about being uninsured. You can cancel a policy any time, though some companies make you pay a small cancellation fee.

Where to buy motorcycle insurance

Most car insurance companies also offer motorcycle insurance. That means that it’s easy to find coverage through carriers that you know. 

It also means there’s a good chance you can get insured from your current auto insurance company — and earn a bundling discount in the process.

Some of the most well-known insurance companies that offer motorcycle insurance include:

There are also a few smaller companies that are known for offering motorcycle insurance, like Dairyland, Foremost, Harley-Davidson, Markel, and Plymouth Rock. 

If you choose an insurance company that actually specializes in motorcycle insurance, it might be more likely to offer less common coverage options and perks for serious riders.

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What does motorcycle insurance cover?

Motorcycle insurance covers many of the same things as a regular car insurance policy. The basic parts of a motorcycle insurance policy are:

  • Bodily injury liability insurance: Covers injuries to other drivers or riders if you’re responsible for an accident.

  • Property damage liability insurance: Covers other people’s damaged vehicles or after an at-fault accident.

  • Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage: Covers damage to your own motorcycle if you’re in an accident caused by someone who doesn’t have their own insurance, or who doesn’t have enough coverage.

  • Personal injury protection (PIP): Pays for medical expenses if you and your passengers are injured in an accident, regardless of fault.

  • Collision insurance: Covers the cost of repairing or replacing your motorcycle if it’s damaged in an accident, regardless of fault.

  • Comprehensive insurance: Covers the cost of repairing or replacing your motorcycle if it’s damaged by something other than a collision, like vandalism or flooding.

There are also a few types of insurance add-ons for motorcycle policies that may be good options for extra protection, including: 

  • Apparel coverage: This endorsement covers safety wear, like your helmets, boots, gloves, and jacket if they’re damaged in an accident.

  • Personal belongings coverage:This covers any belongings that are with you as you drive, like your gear bags and phone.

  • Custom parts and accessories coverage:This pays for damage to any part of your motorcycle that weren’t original, like a seat you added.

  • Trailer coverage:This add-on can cover either a trailer that your motorcycle pulls, or a larger trailer that carries your motorcycle behind a full-size vehicle.

  • Roadside assistance coverage: Covers the cost of roadside services after a breakdown, like fuel deliveries, battery replacement, and towing.

Does motorcycle insurance cover mopeds and scooters?

Motorcycle insurance can cover mopeds and scooters. States have different insurance requirements for mopeds and scooters based on their engine size, so check to be sure you’re following the laws where you live. Motorcycle insurance can also cover dirt bikes, ATVs, snowmobiles, and trikes, depending on the requirements in your state.

How does motorcycle insurance work?

Motorcycle insurance works just like a car insurance policy does — you make your monthly or annual payments to keep your policy active, and your motorcycle insurance company will pay out if you’re in an accident or your bike is damaged and you file a claim. 

The most important part of a motorcycle insurance policy, your liability coverage, covers the cost of other people’s medical bills or property damage if you’re responsible for an accident.

A full-coverage motorcycle policy just means one that also includes comprehensive and collision coverage, which pay for damage to your own motorcycle.

After an accident (or if your motorcycle is damaged by something like a fire or hurricane), you’ll notify your motorcycle insurance company and start the claims process. The insurance company will investigate the damage and talk with any other drivers involved to figure out who was at fault. 

If your claim is successful, your motorcycle insurance will cover costs of the losses, up to the limits in your policy.

Do you need motorcycle insurance?

Yes, most people who own a motorcycle do need to get motorcycle insurance. Nearly every state requires drivers to have a certain amount of insurance for their motorcycle before they can drive.

Even though they’re smaller than four-wheeled cars, motorcycles have to have the same amount of insurance as a typical vehicle. Additionally, if you don’t own your motorcycle outright you’ll probably have to get comprehensive and collision insurance, even though neither type of insurance is required by any law in any state.

You might not need to get motorcycle insurance for less powerful two-wheeled vehicles, like a non-street-legal dirt bike. If you own a recreational vehicle that your state doesn’t allow on public roads, you won’t be required to get motorcycle insurance.

How much motorcycle insurance do you need?

The amount of motorcycle insurance that you need depends on your state laws and your own coverage needs, like whether you’re willing to pay out of pocket to repair or replace your bike if it’s damaged or stolen.

Nearly every state requires drivers to have a minimum amount of motorcycle insurance. But the minimum amounts in most states are low and won’t be enough to pay for the damage caused by a serious accident.

For this reason, most drivers actually need more insurance for their motorcycles than what the law requires.

State

Bodily injury liability

Property damage liability

Uninsured motorists coverage

Underinsured motorists coverage

Personal injury protection

Alabama

$25,000/$50,000

$25,000

Optional

Optional

Not required

Alaska

$50,000/$100,000

$25,000

Optional

Optional

Not required

Arizona

$25,000/$50,000

$15,000

Optional

Optional

Not required

Arkansas

$25,000/$50,000

$25,000

Optional

Optional

Not required

California

$15,000/$30,00

$5,000

Optional

Optional

Not required

Colorado

$25,000/$50,000

$15,000

Optional

Optional

Not required

Connecticut

$25,000/$50,000

$25,000

$25,000/$50,000

$25,000/$50,000

Not required

Delaware

$25,000/$50,000

$10,000

Optional

Optional

Not required

District of Columbia

$25,000/$50,000

$10,000

$25,000/$50,000/$5,000

Optional

Not required

Florida

Optional

$10,000

Optional

Optional

$10,000

Georgia

$25,000/$50,000

$25,000

Optional

Optional

Not required

Hawaii

$20,000/$40,000

$10,000

Optional

Optional

$10,000

Idaho

$25,000/$50,000

$15,000

Optional

Optional

Not required

Illinois

$25,000/$50,000

$20,000

$25,000/$50,000

Must match UM if driver purchases more than state minimums

Not required

Indiana

$25,000/$50,000

$25,000

$25,000/$50,000 unless rejected

Optional

Not required

Iowa

$20,000/$40,000

$15,000

Optional

Optional

Not required

Kansas

$25,000/$50,000

$25,000

$25,000/$50,000

$25,000/$50,000

$4,500 PIP

Kentucky

$25,000/$50,000

$10,000

$25,000/$50,000 unless rejected

Optional

$10,000 PIP

Louisiana

$15,000/$30,000

$25,000

Optional

Optional

Not required

Maine

$50,000/$100,000

$25,000

$50,000/$100,000

Must match UM coverage

#N/A

Maryland

$30,000/$60,000

$15,000

$30,000/$60,000/$15,000

$30,000/$60,000

#N/A

Massachusetts

$20,000/$40,000

$5,000

$20,000/$40,000

Optional

$8,000 PIP

Michigan

$50,000/$100,000

$10,000

Optional

Optional

$50,000-$250,000 PIP

Minnesota

$30,000/$60,000

$10,000

$25,000/$50,000

$25,000/$50,000

$40,000 PIP

Mississippi

$25,000/$50,000

$25,000

Optional

Optional

Not required

Missouri

$25,000/$50,000

$10,000

$25,000/$50,000

Optional

Not required

Montana

$25,000/$50,000

$10,000

Must be rejected in writing

Optional

Not required

Nebraska

$25,000/$50,000

$25,000

$25,000/$50,000

$25,000/$50,000

Not required

Nevada

$25,000/$50,000

$20,000

$25,000/$50,000 unless rejected

Optional

Not required

New Hampshire

Optional

Optional

Must match liability limits if purchased

Must match UM if driver purchases more than state minimums

Not required

New Jersey

$15,000/$30,000

$5,000

Must match liability limits

Must match liability limits

$15,000

New Mexico

$25,000/$50,000

$10,000

Optional

Optional

Not required

New York

$25,000/$50,000

$10,000

$25,000/$50,000

$25,000/$50,000

$50,000

North Carolina

$30,000/$60,000

$25,000

Must match highest liability limits

Must match UM if driver purchases more than state minimums

Not required

North Dakota

$25,000/$50,000

$25,000

$25,000/$50,000

Must match UM coverage

$30,000

Ohio

$25,000/$50,000

$25,000

Optional

Optional

Not required

Oklahoma

$25,000/$50,000

$25,000

Optional

Optional

Not required

Oregon

$25,000/$50,000

$20,000

$25,000/$50,000

$25,000/$50,000

Not required

Pennsylvania

$15,000/$30,000

$5,000

Optional

Optional

$5,000

Rhode Island

$25,000/$50,000

$25,000

$25,000/$50,000 unless rejected

$25,000/$50,000 unless rejected

Not required

South Carolina

$25,000/$50,000

$25,000

Must match liability limits

Optional

Not required

South Dakota

$25,000/$50,000

$25,000

$25,000/$50,000

Must match liability limits

Not required

Tennessee

$25,000/$50,000

$15,000

Optional

Optional

Not required

Texas

$30,000/$60,000

$25,000

Optional

Optional

Not required

Utah

$25,000/$65,000

$15,000

Optional

Optional

$3,000

Vermont

$25,000/$50,000

$10,000

$50,000/$100,000/$10,000

$50,000/$100,000

Not required

Virginia

$25,000/$50,000

$20,000

Must match liability limits if purchased

Must match liability limits if purchased

Not required

Washington

$25,000/$50,000

$10,000

Optional

Optional

Not required

West Virginia

$25,000/$50,000

$25,000

Must match liability limits

Optional

Not required

Wisconsin

$25,000/$50,000

$10,000

$25,000/$50,000

Optional

Not required

Wyoming

$25,000/$50,000

$20,000

Optional

Optional

Not required

These states don’t require drivers to get motorcycle insurance, but drivers who do get insured may have to carry a certain amount of coverage.

It’s also worth it to get other forms of motorcycle insurance that the law doesn’t require. 

Even if you don’t have a lienholder or lessor that requires you to get comprehensive or collision insurance, that doesn’t mean these coverages aren’t worth adding, especially since motorcycle accidents are, unfortunately, fairly common.

And remember to take into account all of the gear you’d need to replace after an accident. If you own a lot of accessories, you might need extra coverage to be sure that all it would be covered after an accident.

How much is motorcycle insurance?

We compared motorcycle insurance costs at five large companies and found that the average cost of motorcycle insurance is $906 per year, or $76 per month. 

The amount of insurance that you get (and your policy’s deductible) will also change what you pay for motorcycle insurance.

Company

Liability only

Full coverage (with $500 deductible)

Full coverage (with $1,000 deductible)

Progressive

$75

$479

$300

GEICO

$99

$1,375

$1,058

Allstate

$144

$462

$428

Dairyland

$368

$1,296

$1,161

Plymouth Rock

$532

$920

$863

Costs for a Honda Rebel owned by a rider in Pennsylvania

Motorcycle insurance is usually cheaper than car insurance. We found that, on average, motorcycle insurance is $746 cheaper than the average car insurance policy. That’s partly because motorcycles are smaller than cars and there’s less chance of them inflicting the same damage as a full-sized car.

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Factors that affect motorcycle insurance costs

There are many factors that affect what you will pay for motorcycle insurance. Your premiums may change based on:

  • Your age and driving experience: Young, less-practiced riders have higher rates than experienced riders who have owned a motorcycle for many years. 

  • The amount of coverage you have: The more insurance that you get, the higher your rates will be. A full-coverage policy will be more expensive than one with only enough coverage to meet your state’s minimum insurance laws.

  • The type of bike you own: Motorcycles with larger engines and more expensive parts will cost more to insure than smaller, cheaper bikes. That’s because higher-value motorcycles would cost more to repair or replace.

  • Where you live: The cost of motorcycle insurance varies by location. Insurance will be more expensive in places where motorcycle thefts are more common and roads are more crowded.

  • Your driving record: Drivers who have a past driving violation on their record or have been in an accident and had to make a claim will have more expensive motorcycle insurance, on average, than those with clean records.

How to save on motorcycle insurance

If you’re having trouble finding affordable motorcycle insurance, there are some steps that you can take to get lower rates. You can get cheaper motorcycle insurance by:

  • Comparing quotes when you shop: The best way to save on your motorcycle insurance is by comparing quotes from multiple companies to find the cheapest insurance for your ride. 

  • Bundling your auto and motorcycle insurance: Motorcycle owners can lower their insurance costs by bundling their auto (or home) insurance with their motorcycle policy.

  • Reducing the coverage you have on an older bike: If you own your motorcycle outright and it’s an older model you could afford to replace yourself, it might be worth dropping your full-coverage to lower your insurance premiums.

  • Driving safely and avoiding tickets: Insurance is much cheaper for people with clean driving records. Avoiding accidents and traffic tickets means you’ll pay less over time.

  • Getting the right insurance for your motorcycle: If your motorcycle is an antique that you don’t use often, you need a collectors insurance policy for your bike instead of a regular motorcycle policy. It will be cheaper and provide better coverage for your motorcycle’s needs.

Motorcycle insurance discounts

Another way that you can lower the cost of your motorcycle insurance is by taking advantage of the discounts offered by insurance companies. 

Most motorcycle insurance providers offer at least a few discounts. You can usually save by:

  • Insuring more than one motorcycle on the same policy

  • Switching to one insurance company from another

  • Getting new coverage before your old policy expires

  • Joining a partnering riding club or organization like TK name

  • Completing a motorcycle safety course

  • Signing up for automatic payments

  • Paying your entire premium at once

  • Having a certain number of years of experience riding a motorcycle

Frequently asked questions

Is full coverage on a motorcycle worth it?

Yes, it’s worth getting full-coverage insurance for your motorcycle even if you own your bike outright. If your motorcycle is damaged or totaled, or if it’s stolen, you don’t want to have to pay for a replacement out of pocket.

Are motorcycles more expensive to insure?

Motorcycles tend to be cheaper to insure than cars. That’s because they’re smaller and won’t do as much damage in a crash, which brings down the liability claims that other drivers make against you. However, some high-value motorcycles may be more expensive to insure than a typical car.

What states have no motorcycle insurance?

Florida, Montana, and New Hampshire don’t require motorcycle insurance to register your bike. However, there might be minimum coverage requirements if you do decide to purchase motorcycle insurance.

What do you need to get motorcycle insurance?

When you shop for motorcycle insurance, be prepared to tell the insurance company your name, address, and driver’s license number. The company will also ask whether you have a motorcycle endorsement or not. You’ll also have to enter information about your bike, like its model-year, engine size, and any customized parts it has.

Author

Senior Editor & Licensed Auto Insurance Expert

Andrew Hurst

Senior Editor & Licensed Auto Insurance Expert

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Andrew Hurst is a senior editor and a licensed auto insurance expert at Policygenius. His work has also been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, USA Today, NPR, Mic, Insurance Business Magazine, ValuePenguin, and Property Casualty 360.

Editor

Senior Managing Editor & Auto Insurance Expert

Anna Swartz

Senior Managing Editor & Auto Insurance Expert

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Anna Swartz is a senior managing editor and auto insurance expert at Policygenius, where she oversees our car insurance coverage. Previously, she was a senior staff writer at Mic.com, as well as an associate writer at The Dodo.

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