What You Need to Know About Motorcycle Insurance

For motorcycle enthusiasts, a weekend trek with the motorcycle community is many rider’s idea of paradise. Don’t have the right motorcycle insurance? Paradise can quickly turn into something else.

To stay in motorcycle bliss, make sure to protect yourself, your precious bike and others.

Before selecting or renewing motorcycle insurance coverage, here’s what you need to know. First, you need insurance. Most riders are required by law to — at a minimum — to purchase liability coverage.

Motorcycle Liability Coverage: Bodily Injury and Property Damage

For motorcycle liability coverage, there are two different types: bodily injury liability and property damage liability.

Bodily injury liability helps cover costs for others if you cause the accident. It addresses medical costs, loss of income, as well as funeral costs in event of a fatality in an accident.

Property damage liability covers the damage to another motorist’s property.

Minimum liability insurance requirements vary by state. And while the minimum might get you by, only purchasing it could really hurt your financial situation if you’re at fault in an accident. 

Consider additional liability coverage:

  • To protect your financial assets from creditors. If you’re sued, your minimum liability may not cover all the legal costs and claims.
  • To protect your passengers. In some cases, bodily injury liability insurance will cover passengers. But check your coverage. You may need passenger liability coverage if you intend to have a friend or family member hop on the bike with you.
  • To protect yourself from others. Ever been in an accident with someone who didn’t have insurance and they’re at fault? Some states require you to carry uninsured/underinsured coverage. This will help provide coverage for injuries and, in many cases, property damage when a less conscientious rider can’t cover the liability expense.

Finally, some states also require a minimum medical benefit. Your health insurance may qualify, but let’s review the topic further.

Motorcycle Medical Payments Coverage

Required in some states and not available in others, medical payments coverage will pay for medical services — in many cases, up to one year from the accident — if you are injured in an accident. 

It’s not based on fault. It will pay for medical bills for you and, in many cases, a passenger if one or both are hurt while riding your motorcycle.

Medical services covered often include:

  • Hospital stays and visits
  • X-rays
  • Dental expenses
  • Prescription drugs
  • Nursing services

A word of caution for motorcycle medical coverage. While coverage can benefit riders, you should view it as a supplement, not a replacement, for health insurance.

Motorcycle Collision Coverage

Motorcycle collision coverage will cover the costs to repair or replace a bike, minus your deductible, if involved in a collision.

Collision coverage is not required. But if you love your bike, you might as well as treat it as required. One thing that can catch riders by surprise: the replacement value. Make sure to purchase enough coverage to replace your bike in case it’s totaled.

This is especially true of classic or custom motorcycles. Most insurers offer special coverage for these specialty bikes. With these motorcycles, you want to ensure you receive the actual value of the bike if you’re in accident or it’s damaged in some other way.

Which brings us to motorcycle comprehensive coverage.

Comprehensive Coverage for Your Motorcycle

Comprehensive coverage will pay the expenses for damage not related to a collision with another car or motorcycle. As with collision coverage, a deductible will apply.

Comprehensive coverage protects you and your bike in situations such as:

  • Theft
  • Fire damage
  • Weather damage
  • Vandalism
  • Animal collisions

Like collision coverage, with comprehensive, you will want enough coverage to pay for the total cost of the bike if you need to replace it.

Other Motorcycle Insurance Considerations

In addition to core motorcycle insurance coverage, insurers can offer options such as roadside assistance, trip interruption and custom parts coverage. 

Furthermore, if you live an area where you can’t make use of your bike year-round, ask about lay-up insurance. If you store your motorcycle in the winter, you pay a reduced insurance premium during those months. 

Finding The Right Motorcycle Insurance Coverage

When it comes to motorcycle insurance coverage, there is plenty to think through. We can work with you to find the right insurer and tailor a policy to get you on the road.

But even before connecting with us, consider doing the following to help reduce your insurance premiums:

  • Maintaining a good driving record with your auto policy
  • Taking a motorcycle safety class
  • Joining a motorcycle riders association
  • Limiting theft and non-use accident risks for your bike by installing an alarm and securing it a garage

What You Need to Know About Insuring A New Teen Driver

Even though more teens are putting off getting their driver’s license and delaying hopping behind the steering wheel, they’ll start driving at some point. And that means that your new teenage driver will need auto insurance. 

Here’s a six-point checklist for insuring that new driver (teenager or not):

Create a Budget

First things first. Determine how much you can spend (read: would like to spend) on your new driver. In this overall budget estimate, include annual costs for insurance, another family car — if that’s part of the plan — and auto maintenance. 

An item to note: Simply adding a single teen driver to an existing policy can cause the premium to increase, on average, by almost $700. 

Though parents can initially show reluctance to adding their teenager to an existing policy, it is often cheaper than excluding them from your policy and creating a new policy on a child’s car.

However, in certain circumstances it can make sense to exclude a teenage driver from your own car. Say you own a luxury or classic vehicle. By adding an endorsement of a “named exclusion” to your existing policy, you agree the new driver is not covered and will not drive the car under any circumstances.

As a result, any accident caused by that driver in that vehicle wouldn’t be covered. If your teenage driver has a friend named Ferris Bueller, you have much to consider.

Finally, if you happen to have a shared custody arrangement of your child, auto coverage approaches vary by insurance carrier. You will need to reach out to your insurance company to determine who will need to cover the new driver. In some cases, it is both parents.

Adding a New(ish) Car? Choose Wisely 

If you already own a few cars, you could add your teenage driver to the cheapest one to insure, allowing them to drive only it. Then, you would exclude them from the other vehicles.

Still need your teen’s car? The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety shares a list of cars recommended for teenagers. The list criteria factors in affordability and safety, including:

  • Vehicle crash safety ratings
  • Safety features, such as anti-lock brakes and electronic stability control (ESC) 
  • The weight of the vehicle — the list favors bigger, heavier vehicles, which crash data indicates to be safer
  • The car’s horsepower — the list prefers lower horsepower vehicles that may not tempt teenagers to test the car’s limits

Furthermore, the vehicles with better safety ratings also will typically have lower auto insurance losses. Thus, rates could be lower.

Ask About Possible Discounts

Those safety features can lead to lower insurance rates and discounts. Other features, such as anti-theft devices, could help too.

Is your new teenage driver a good student? There are potentially a couple of different ways to save here.

First, if your child maintains a good grade point average, many car insurance companies offer a good student discount. Second, consider a driver’s education course. Your insurer may offer a discount if your teen completes a driving school. Note: When selecting a school, make sure they’re credentialed and well-established.

Finally, bundling multiple insurance policies, such as your homeowners with your auto, also could save you money.

Undistracted Driving: There’s an App For That?

Insurance companies and technology developers alike are creating devices that can monitor and influence different aspects of your child’s driving. The features recently introduced to the market are varied and address everything from notifying you when the vehicle is speeding or being driven aggressively to providing real-time feedback to the driver.

Furthermore, mobile device manufacturers and app developers have introduced technology options that can help minimize distracted driving (e.g. using the phone for text messaging).

Master The Level of Involvement

The best way to keep your claims down and protect your loved ones? Even after they obtain their full license, stay involved as a driving coach.

First, it could help prevent the leading cause of death for teens. Second, same as adults, the better their driving record, the more likely you can effectively manage costs.

And, as your child ages and heads off to college, pay attention to key factors that may save you money. If your child attends college away from home and doesn’t have a car on campus, you could receive a discount because of their limited vehicle use.