There’s a sense of freedom you get when you’re on a motorcycle. The wind ripples through your hair. (Shouldn’t you be wearing a helmet?) Your hand twists the throttle. (Where are your gloves?) The sun warms your skin. (Probably oughta be wearing leathers).
Well. Maybe not quite as much freedom as you’d like. You still have some responsible adulting to do when you ride. That includes proper safety equipment, making sure your bike’s in good working order, and actually learning how to ride the thing properly! And of course, whether your riding style is Peter Fonda or something more akin to Robert Pirsig, you’re gonna need insurance before you hit the open road.
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According to a recent survey by the Motorcycle Legal Foundation , the average cost to insure your motorcycle nationwide is just over $500. The Foundation was nice enough to get an idea of what a middle-aged motorcycle rider in each state can expect to pay for an average full coverage policy. We rearranged their numbers to easily see which states are cheapest, and which are more expensive:
|State||Average Cost of Motorcycle Insurance|
So clearly, if you want to save a lot of cash on motorcycle insurance, move from Baton Rouge to Bismark!
As with any vehicle insurance, your age is going to affect how much you pay. A 17-year-old is going to pay more than someone who’s 40, all other things being equal. Of course, things are rarely equal, so if you’re a middle aged guy who’s caused 20 wrecks, don’t be surprised if the kid gets away with better rates than you.
When you think about it, insurance is really gambling. You’re betting the insurance company that you’ll be involved in a wreck. They’re betting you that you won’t. Insurance companies don’t like to lose money any more than you do, so they spend a lot of time and effort calculating the likelihood of you getting in that wreck.
That means there are a lot of factors that can change how much you pay to insure that motorcycle. Like we said above, age is a big one. Kids tend to have more wrecks than older people, so they pay more. Your accident history is another; if you’ve already caused 6 wrecks, odds are better that you’re a lousy driver, so you’ll pay more because the insurance company thinks it will have to pay more.
The kind of bike you choose will also impact your rates. A high-powered sport bike will have a higher cost factor than a bike that’s meant for cruising. At the same time, the motorcycle’s value will influence what you pay. It’ll cost more to repair or replace a $25,000 Goldwing than it will a $5,000 Ninja 400. Insurance companies will even look at how often the kind of motorcycle you pick gets stolen. If that’s high, your premiums will go up accordingly.
Of course, the type and amount of coverage you select will determine how much you pay. A liability only policy at state mandated minimums will be cheaper than a comprehensive policy with high coverage limits. Deductibles also impact premiums. A low deductible will translate to higher premiums, and vice versa.
Onboard safety and anti-theft equipment can change your premiums too. If your bike has ABS or a stolen vehicle tracker, you’ll likely spend less to insure it than if it didn’t.
One thing that influences insurance prices that’s a little harder to change is your location. As you can see above, some states’ insurance rates are a lot lower than others. But it’s not just the state - it’s where in the state you live. Someone in a big city where wrecks and theft are more common will usually pay more to insure a motorcycle - or any other vehicle - than someone in a rural area with few accidents and low property crime rates.
One easy way to get a discount if you have enough cash up front is to pay for an entire year’s worth of coverage at once instead of paying monthly installments. Companies will often reduce the total price if they get their whole payment at once.
The absolute minimum you should look for in motorcycle insurance is what’s mandated by the state in which you live, where the motorcycle will be registered. This is easy; insurance companies won’t sell you a policy that doesn’t meet state minimums. But here at Car Talk, we think in many cases, state minimums aren’t enough. A typical minimum required coverage for a motorcycle is around $30,000 per person in bodily injury liability. If you stick with the minimum, and you cause more than $30,000 worth of damage to the person you hit, you could be on the hook for the overage.
Just to give you a small idea of how quickly you could find yourself blowing past your coverage limits, if the guy you hit needs to be airlifted to the hospital, the flight alone can easily cost more than $30,000. And that’s before he even gets a hospital room!
That’s why we usually recommend getting coverage that’s well above state minimums. The cost of that extra coverage is often fairly minimal. But even if it’s not, the cost of not having that coverage could put you in debt for years.
How to Get Motorcycle Insurance Discounts? There are lots of ways to get motorcycle insurance discounts. Some of them are very easy. Growing older will lower your rate, and all you have to do is have birthdays! Others take a bit more effort, and sometimes expense on your part, like taking a motorcycle safety course.
Here’s a helpful list of some things you can do to try and lower your motorcycle insurance rates:
Compare quotes from multiple providers to get a good deal.
It depends on what you buy. Most will cover your liability if you cause a wreck. More expensive plans will also cover your losses if you get in a wreck, up to an agreed-upon amount.
Depending on where you live, sometimes it’s not! But motorcycles are usually cheaper than cars, and do less damage to other people and things in wrecks. That means you pay less because the insurance company figures it will pay less if you crash.
There’s no one cheapest motorcycle insurance, since there are so many factors to consider. Some companies are cheaper for some people and places than others, but not all. Your best bet is to get quotes from several companies. And do your research.
The best motorcycle insurance policy is one that fits your needs and gives you enough coverage if you have a wreck. That’s going to be different for everyone, so we recommend getting your own quotes.