The open road is full of thrills…
…but the same open air that gives you that feeling of freedom can make riding risky, and makes Motorcycle Insurance essential.
Do I need Motorcycle Insurance?
Car liability insurance almost never covers you in any vehicle that has less than four wheels, so a separate motorcycle insurance policy is necessary to be sure you are protected.
Unless you live in Montana, Florida, or Washington (as of 2021), your state requires proof of motorcycle liability insurance or financial responsibility before you can ride the bike; and riders from those states can still get fined if they ride through neighboring states with different regulations. Just like with helmets or lane splitting, the law of the state you are in needs to be followed.
Riders are required to carry Motorcycle Insurance in Colorado, Nebraska, and Wyoming. However, even if your state doesn’t require it, we highly recommend keeping yourself protected.
What’s the Difference between Motorcycle Insurance and Car Insurance?
Motorcycle Insurance operates just like car insurance, in that it combines Liability Coverage, to make sure that you are protected if you are found legally liable in an accident, with various other insurance products that can help cover the cost of repairs to the motorcycle (Collision and Comprehensive Coverage), the cost of your medical bills (Medical Payments or Personal Injury Protection Coverage), or the cost of your bills when the person legally liable can’t pay them (Underinsured Motorist Insurance), as well as various other add-on policies depending on the company.
These policies are often covered at different rates for motorcyclists than they are for car insurance policies – for instance, motorcycles are generally less expensive than cars, so less collision or comprehensive coverage is needed.
Guest Passenger Liability in Motorcycle Insurance
The major difference between car insurance and motorcycle coverage is Guest Passenger Liability coverage, an add on policy which provides insurance protection for anyone riding on the back of your motorcycle. Not all states require it, but most insurers will offer it as an option.
Even if your state doesn’t require Guest Passenger Liability, it is highly recommended if you EVER ride with a passenger. Even if you don’t plan to, if your motorcycle has a second seat you should be sure you are covered in the event of a lawsuit.
Personal Injury Protection/Medical Payments
Injuries are much more common in motorcycle accidents than in car accidents, and Medical Payments Coverage can cover your medical bills if you are injured in a motorcycle accident, regardless of fault. There is a range of coverage limits available, and an insurance agent can help you find the limit that is right for you.
Comprehensive coverage protects your motorcycle from non-collision related damage or theft. While most of the vehicles covered under Motorcycle Insurance are less expensive than cars, they also tend to be easier to steal and are popular targets of theives, which should be a consideration when deciding on coverage.
Do I need Motorcycle Insurance for Scooters and Mopeds?
Scooter and Moped insurance is, generally speaking, considered a type of motorcycle insurance, so the basics of the policy are the same.
However, scooters and mopeds are regulated differently than motorcycles in most states, depending on their size and top speed, so it’s best to ask an agent in your area what coverage is required.
Do I need special insurance if I have a sidecar or drive a Trike?
Motorcycles with sidecars and most trikes are covered by traditional motorcycle insurance policies. Your insurance agent can tell you for sure what policies best fit your ride. And if you have a sidecar, Guest Passenger Liability is a must!
Does Motorcycle Insurance cover ATVs or UTVs?
Most insurance companies cover ATVs and UTVs or side-by-sides under motorcycle policies, even though they are primarily used off-road. Government lands and parks will often require that riders have insurance; but it isn’t required on private land (just be sure you have permission to be there). It may still be a good idea to carry some coverage, especially if you are taking passengers. Of course, you will need to list all vehicles you want covered under their own policies.
What Does Motorcycle Insurance Not Cover?
Your motorcycle or ATV policy will generally not cover accidents that were the result of dangerous or illegal activities – for instance, driving ATVs on roads where they aren’t permitted, or in any type of track or organized racing events that would be covered by a specialty insurance.
If you use your motorcycle for work purposes, for instance, as a courier, your policy may not apply to accidents that occur during work activities. A commercial vehicle policy may be necessary.
Can I cancel my policy in the off season?
You can – but it isn’t recommended. If an unseasonably nice day comes up, you don’t want cancelled insurance keeping you off the road, or on the wrong side of the law. Not to mention that theft, fire, vandalism and snow can still result in damages in the offseason.
That said, some policies have a lay-up option for the offseason, or will let you make changes to your deductible, or pause certain coverages to save a little. This may not be worth the hassle, but you can ask your insurance agent to be sure all of your bases are covered!