Motorcycle insurance vs. car insurance

Motorcycle insurance is usually cheaper than car insurance, but this depends on a number of factors, including where you live and what type of motorcycle you own.

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By 

Rachael Brennan

Rachael Brennan

Senior Editor & Licensed Auto Insurance Expert

Rachael Brennan is a senior editor and a licensed auto insurance expert at Policygenius. Her work has also been featured in MoneyGeek, Clearsurance, Adweek, Boston Globe, The Ladders, and AutoInsurance.com.

Published January 28, 2022 | 4 min read

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In some ways, motorcycle insurance is really similar to car insurance. They have similar types of coverage, you can usually get them from the same insurance companies, and both policies are designed to protect you financially in the event of an accident.

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However, this is where the similarities end. Each vehicle has very different uses, with different expectations for mileage, average speed, passengers, and custom equipment, creating different insurance needs for cars and motorcycles.

Key takeaways

  • Motorcycle insurance is generally cheaper than car insurance, but not always.

  • Montana, Washington, and Florida have no minimum insurance requirements for some or all motorcycle owners in those states.

  • The cheapest car insurance for liability-only coverage is through USAA at $369 per year, while the cheapest motorcycle insurance for liability only coverage is through Progressive at $75 per year.

Do cars and motorcycles have different minimum insurance requirements?

Yes, some states have different required minimum levels of coverage for cars and motorcycles, but each state is different, so it is important to research your state to find out exactly what is required for motorcyclists in your area.

For example, Montana and Washington don’t have minimum insurance requirements for motorcycles, while Florida riders who have certain minimum amounts of coverage are legally allowed to ride without a helmet, but riders who choose to wear a helmet aren’t required to carry a minimum amount of insurance. [1]

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Does car or motorcycle insurance cost more?

Motorcycle insurance is usually cheaper than car insurance. Cars can be used year round, but motorcycles typically can’t be driven in snow, rain, or other types of inclement weather, which is a big part of the reason motorcycles are cheaper to insure.

Motorcycles are also less likely to damage someone else’s property and cause less damage than cars when they are at fault in an accident, making liability coverage for motorcycles more affordable than liability coverage for cars. Motorcycles are also generally cheaper to repair or replace than cars, which means comprehensive and collision are more affordable for a bike than they are for a car.

However, people with high-end motorcycles that are expensive to repair or replace may find that motorcycle insurance is more expensive than car insurance.

Most affordable car insurance coverage

The chart below shows the average rates for ten of the biggest insurance companies in the country:

InsurerMinimum coverageFull coverage (50/100)Full coverage (100/300)
GEICO$402$1,179$1,261
State Farm$475$1,240$1,333
USAA$369$1,128$1,191
Allstate$750$1,991$2,097
Progressive$737$1,814$1,967
Erie$370$1,157$1,201
Nationwide$624$1,569$1,671
Travelers$683$1,586$1,690
Farmers$781$1,968$2,109
Auto-Owners Insurance$327$1,209$1,255

USAA and Erie have the lowest rates for all three levels of coverage, while Farmers and Allstate are the most expensive across the board.

However, your car insurance rates are determined by a number of factors, including your age, your ZIP code, your driving history, and what type of car you drive, which means your insurance could be more or less expensive than the averages presented in the chart above.

Most affordable motorcycle insurance coverage

The chart below shows the average rates for motorcycle insurance with five of the biggest motorcycle insurance companies in the country:

Insurance companyLiability onlyFull coverage (with $500 deductible)Full coverage (with $1,000 deductible)
GEICO$99.00$1,375.23$1,058.37
Progressive$75.00$479.00$300.00
Allstate$144.00$462.00$428.00
Dairyland$367.60$1,295.54$1,160.80
Plymouth Rock$532.00$920.00$863.00

Motorcycle insurance rates can vary widely from company-to-company, so the best way to make sure you are getting the lowest possible rate is to compare quotes from multiple companies.

Is it easier to find insurance for a car or motorcycle?

There are more options for car insurance than for motorcycle insurance, but motorcycle coverage is sold in every state. Some companies, like USAA, don’t have their own motorcycle insurance but partner with another company that does so that their customers can still bundle their coverages.

Bikers who are having trouble finding decent motorcycle coverage can work with an independent broker to find out what coverage options are available in their state and compare quotes to get the lowest available prices.

Why is coverage different for cars vs. motorcycles?

Coverage is different for cars and motorcycles because they are radically different types of transportation.

Motorcycles are faster than cars, but they don’t come with the protection of a metal cage to protect the driver and passengers inside. According to the NHTSA, “Per vehicle miles traveled in 2019, motorcyclists were about 29 times more likely than passenger vehicle occupants to die in a motor vehicle crash and were 4 times more likely to be injured.” [2]  

Cars usually move much more slowly than motorcycles, but they are bigger and heavier, which means they can cause a lot more damage to other people and their property. Motorcycle accidents are much more likely to involve a fatality than a car accident, but a car accident is likely to cause significantly more property damage, with higher claim payouts for insurance companies.

These differences mean that insurance for cars and motorcycles isn’t a one-size-fits-all type of situation. Motorcycles come with unique features and issues, which means motorcycle riders need insurance coverage that is tailored to their needs.

Frequently asked questions

Is motorcycle insurance the same as car insurance?

Motorcycle insurance and car insurance have some similarities and some differences. For example, they both can include liability, comprehensive, and collision coverages. However, only motorcycle insurance offers accessory coverage and guest passenger liability insurance.

How can I lower my motorcycle insurance?

Comparing quotes is an important part of saving money on motorcycle insurance, but you can save even more by bundling your motorcycle coverage with your car and homeowners insurance. Taking certain certification courses can also help you reduce the cost of your motorcycle coverage.

How can I lower my car insurance costs?

To lower your rates, you can compare quotes from multiple companies to make sure you are getting the best price on car insurance. You can also work to clean up your driving record and improve your credit score to help you reduce your car insurance costs.

Methodology

Policygenius has analyzed car insurance rates provided by Quadrant Information Services for every ZIP code in all 50 states, plus Washington, D.C. 

For full coverage policies, the following coverage limits were used:

  • Bodily injury liability: 50/100

  • Property damage liability: $50,000

  • Uninsured/underinsured motorist: 50/100

  • Comprehensive: $500 deductible

  • Collision: $500 deductible

In some cases, additional coverages were added where required by the state or insurer.

Rates for overall average rate, rates by ZIP code, and cheapest companies determined using averages for single drivers age 30, 35, and 45. Our sample vehicle was a 2017 Toyota Camry LE driven 10,000 miles per year.

Rates for driving violations and “poor” credit were determined using average rates for a single male 30-year-old driver with a credit score under 578.

Motorcycle rates were based on quotes for a single 36-year-old-woman living in Pennsylvania.

Some carriers may be represented by affiliates or subsidiaries. Rates provided are a sample of insurance costs. Your actual quotes may differ.