Choosing the right insurance policy is much like choosing the right bike. You want it to fit your needs and lifestyle, but at the same time be within your budget. Although most states require you to carry a minimum amount of liability coverage, other types of coverage are usually optional. Always ask your insurance representative about which laws apply in your state.
The key to finding which coverage is best for you involves learning about all the options available.
Liability insurance covers bodily injury and property damage that you may cause to other people involved in an accident. It doesn't cover you or your motorcycle. Find out if your coverage includes Guest Passenger Liability, which provides protection in the event that a passenger is injured on the motorcycle. Whether or not this is included depends on the laws of your state and the company issuing the policy.
Collision insurance covers damage to your motorcycle if you are involved in an accident. Your insurance company pays for damages, minus your deductible, caused when you collide with another vehicle or object. Collision insurance usually covers the book value of the motorcycle before the loss occurred.
Comprehensive coverage pays for damages caused by an event other than a collision, such as fire, theft or vandalism. However, just like collision coverage, your insurance company will pay for damages, minus your deductible, and cover only the book value of the motorcycle.
Keep in mind most comprehensive and collision coverages will only cover the factory standard parts on your bike. If you decide to add on any additional optional accessories such as chrome parts, a custom paint job, trailers or sidecars, you need to look into obtaining additional equipment coverage.
Uninsured motorist coverage
Uninsured motorist coverage pays for medical treatment, lost wages and other damages if a driver who has no insurance hits you. If your uninsured motorist coverage includes property damage, then your cycle would also be covered under the same circumstances. Check with your insurance professional to see if property damage is included or needs to be purchased separately.
Underinsured Motorist Coverage
Underinsured motorist coverage is similar to uninsured motorist coverage, except it applies when the other party has lower coverage limits than you do and damages exceed the other party's limits.
Tips for the cost-conscious rider
Many factors can play a role in determining what your insurance costs will be, such as being a graduate of a rider-training course, your age, your driving record, where you live and the type of motorcycle you own.
- Many companies offer discounts from 10 to 15 percent on motorcycle insurance for graduates of training courses, such as the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) rider course. Riders under the age of 25, usually considered a higher risk, may see some savings by taking this course. It’s also a good idea for cyclists who have already had accidents.
- Maintaining a good driving record with no violations will also help reduce your premiums.
- In many northern states, riders may save money by buying a "lay-up" policy. With a lay-up policy, all coverage except comprehensive is suspended during winter months.
- Find out what discounts your insurance representative offers. Multi-bike discounts for those insuring more than one bike; organization discounts, if you’re a member of a motorcycle association; and mature rider discounts for experienced riders, are just a few possibilities. Discounts can range anywhere from 10% to 20%, depending on the company and your state. Availability and qualifications for discounts vary from company to company and state to state.
- Keep in mind that the type, style (such as a sports bike vs. a cruiser), age of the motorcycle, number of miles you drive a year and where you store your bike may also affect how much you pay for your premium.
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