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How To Buy Motorcycle Insurance

Congratulations. You finally bought that brand new motorcycle you’ve been longing for. But before you take it out for a spin on Tail Of The Dragon, you need to get the bike – and yourself — insured..

“A lot of factors determine how much your bike insurance will cost,” says Elliot Bigman, general insurance agent for North Carolina and Florida. “Factors include your age, your driving history, where you live, how you store your bike, and of course the type of bike. Even your credit history can affect your cost of coverage.”

And if you are under age 25 and unmarried, Bigman says it is better get an insurance quote before you buy a high performance bike. Your real rates, even for minimum coverage, may surprise you.

Where You Can Cut Costs

Bigman suggests a number of areas where smart shoppers can cut their motorcycle insurance costs. He suggests several categories where you may be able to save:

– Check for discounts offered to members of organizations such as American Motorcycle Association, BMW Motorcycle Owners of America, Gold Wing Road Riders Association, Gold Wing Touring Association, or Harley Owners Group. If you don’t already belong to one, it might be worthwhile to join.

– Successfully graduate from one of the street-riding courses of the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (which you may need to refresh every three years).

– Ask about discounts for including your bike in your existing home or automobile policy.

– Make sure your financial house is in order. If you have a record of paying your bills on time, you may get a significantly lower insurance rate.

– Skip the comprehensive and collision coverage if your bike is older or you plan to do your own repairs.

– Also skip medical coverage if you are covered by a comprehensive health and medical policy through an employer or spouse. (Even if you do opt for this coverage, it is considered a secondary policy and pays only those expenses not covered by another primary medical policy you may have.)

– If you never ride with a passenger, you can avoid guest passenger liability coverage (unless you live in a state where this coverage is required).

Where You Shouldn’t Skimp

Don’t try to cut costs across the board. Bigman cautions buyers to ensure they have full coverage in two critical areas:

1. Uninsured motorist coverage. In some areas, an estimated one in every five drivers is uninsured.

2. Incident medical liability coverage. Get the same coverage for your bike as you carry for your car, normally $100,000/person, $300,000/vehicle.

No-Fault Insurance? Not Likely

Don’t look for no-fault insurance for your bike. Traditional liability insurance covers losses you inflict on others in an accident, while no-fault insurance covers your losses regardless of who inflicted them. Even in no-fault states, though, you probably won’t find this available for your bike because bike riders more often are seriously injured or killed in a crash than car drivers. Therefore insurance companies generally write their bike coverage as traditional liability.

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