Some of the references may refer only to American insurance, whereas some terms may differ from Australia, for example third-party. However, the general tips are very useful.
Our overriding tip would be to shop around and don’t re-insure with the same insurer every year until you have shopped around again as prices and conditions may have changed in the past 12 months.
The best motorcycle insurance providers will also offer a variety of coverage options in addition to the required liability or third-party coverage. You should look into purchasing collision, comprehensive, uninsured/underinsured motorist, and roadside assistance coverage.
Be sure to keep an eye out for the most important:
- Comprehensive coverage covers damage to your bike from non-accident-related incidents, such as theft, fire, vandalism, or severe weather.
- Collision coverage will help pay for repairs if your bike is damaged in an accident.
- Guest passenger (compulsory third-party) liability protects you financially if you’re found to be responsible for the medical expenses or death of a passenger of your vehicle.
- Medical payments coverage helps cover your medical expenses if you’re injured in a motorcycle accident. While your health insurance should also kick in, this coverage can go toward co-pays or your deductible.
- Property damage liability covers costs if you’re found to be at fault in an accident that results in damage to other people’s property.
- Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage pays for losses in an accident where the other driver is at fault, but they don’t have insurance, or don’t have enough insurance to cover your costs.
Collision coverage is more important than, say, Actual Agreed Value, a coverage option that’s mostly useful to folks with a vintage or collectible ride.
While your individual premium cost will ultimately be determined by all kinds of details, such as the make of your bike, your age, and your experience level, there’s another factor at play: discounts. Motorcycle insurers, just like auto insurers, often offer a number of discounts to shave dollars off your premium.
These discounts can take a buck or two (or 20) off your bill:
- Safe driver discount
- Safety course discount
- Motorcycle association membership discount
- Bundling discounts
- Theft device discount
- Paid-in-full discount
- Anti-lock break discount
- Renewal discount
- Mature rider discount
Take steps to stay safe on the road. If you have completed a safety course, it will actually reduce your premium.
Art Friedman, former editor of Motorcycle Cruiser magazine and member of the Motorcycle Safety Foundation’s Technical Working Group, told us he always recommends safety courses.
“I take them regularly, and I always come away with something — a reminder, or something that I realize I could be doing better,” he said.
Friedman pointed out that, statistically, taking a safety course is not proven to make riders safer over time. The most impactful safety measures a rider can take are things like always wearing a full-coverage, appropriately certified helmet, and wearing brightly coloured gear to be more visible when riding, Friedman advised. But still, he thinks riders should take the course — it can’t hurt, and it can definitely help when it comes to premiums.
A lot of the insurers offer a discount for riders who complete a safety course. There are plenty to choose from — beginner courses that last two or three days and involve 15 hours on-cycle, to advanced courses involving complex traffic scenarios, and even e-courses you can take online.
Motorcycle insurance is not one-size-fits-all
By this point, you get it: You should get more than the minimum liability coverage that your state requires. So what exactly does that mean for you? Figuring that out can feel like ordering off an a la carte menu: a little guest passenger liability here, a little medical coverage there, and I should be set — right?
Friedman, who’s been riding motorcycles for more than 50 years, says he turns to an independent insurance agent to talk through his needs, and explain his best options for coverage. Chatting about your situation with an independent insurance agent can help make sure you’ve got the right coverage for you.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Shop around for your best premium rate, but remember to also evaluate your providers coverage options, discounts, and claims process. Also, buy the most insurance you can afford — not just what your state’s minimum liability coverage requires.
Our American readers should click here to read reviews of the best motorcycle insurance available.