Getting Motorcycle Insurance
Some motorcycles simply cannot be insured depending on the rider, the location and the bike. Others can only be insured at extortionist rates. Wouldn't you be surprised if you buy one of these bikes before finding out you can't insure the beast? Are you a first time buyer, male, under 26, not married, buying a crotch rocket? Do you have a few traffic transgressions on your driving record? Are you buying a Harley and living in a low income neighborhood? Be smart. As with financing, the savvy motorcyclist shops around for insurance before purchasing a bike.
There are eight basic flavors of motorcycle insurance. These are: liability, passenger, uninsured motorist, comprehensive, collision, personal injury protection, no-fault and road service.
- Liability coverage includes bodily injury and property damage for damages you cause to other people or property. A motorcycle can do just as much damage to human flesh as a car. You should carry enough liability insurance to fully rehabilitate a victim. This means several hundred thousand dollars of coverage. Anyone who has been hit by a punk knows that no amount of money fully restores the body, mends the spirit, recovers lost time or compensates for pain. At the very least you must carry enough liability insurance to restore the body of someone you annihilate. (It is too common for motorcyclists to carry very little liability insurance. It is too common for some stupid little jerks to ride with no insurance at all!)
- Passenger insurance covers claims by your passenger when you are at fault. In some states this is included in bodily injury liability, but it may be an option (or you may increase the limits separately).
- Uninsured motorist coverage pays you and your passenger for injuries caused by other drivers. [Note: Most collisions between motorcycle and car are the fault of the car driver.]
- Comprehensive covers your bike from damage due to such things as fire, theft, vandalism, acts of God, etc.
- Collision coverage will cover damages to your bike caused by an accident regardless of fault. It generally covers driver and passenger.
- No-fault insurance is offered in some areas. It covers the property damage and medical bills of a motorcycle rider involved in an accident despite fault.
- Road service protection covers the cost of on-site repairs and towing when your motorcycle is disabled.
Most states require drivers to have some minimum level of liability insurance. Others also require uninsured motorist insurance. Lenders will insist on comprehensive insurance for bikes they finance if the bike represents collateral. Be realistic about motorcycle insurance. The deductibles are often quite high for comprehensive coverage. The market value of your bike is often much lower than you would imagine, so you won't get a lot if your V-twin Russian 1200cc Ish is totaled. However, even the smallest parking lot incident can result in over a thousand dollars in damage. Mix and match the various insurance types as you will, but you must have enough insurance to cover the damage you do to others. It is the fair thing and the right thing.
If you have not yet read enough reasons to take a Motorcycle Safety Foundation novice or experienced rider course, how about this: Many insurance companies offer discounts to riders who take these courses.