Common Motorcycle Insurance Questions Answered

Aug 26, 2015 View Comments by

Decoding Motorcycle Coverage –

One of the most common questions I hear regarding motorcycle insurance is, “What is the average cost of a motorcycle insurance policy?” Another common question: “What do I really need on my policy, and what can I do to drop my overall insurance cost?”

Here are some answers to motorcyclists’ most common questions:

What is the average cost of a motorcycle insurance policy?

Rates for motorcycle policies vary from person to person, state to state, and bike to bike. A premium for an experienced motorcyclist riding a commuter-type motorcycle may be vastly different from a young rider on a sport model.

Some states require certain types of coverage, while others do not. The two types of coverage you should always make sure you have, however, are Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage (at least $100,000 per person/$300,000 per occurrence) and Bodily Injury Liability (at least $100,000 per person/$300,000 per occurrence). A lot of people have lower levels of coverage on their motorcycle because they ride it less frequently than they drive a vehicle, or they think they’re more careful when they ride their motorcycle. You need the same amount of coverage, because an accident can occur at any time. If you’re responsible for an accident and another person brings a claim against you, the situation is the same. You’re going to be liable for the same amount of compensation.

How do insurance companies determine my motorcycle insurance rate?

Each insurance company is different, but here are a few factors that go into determining your motorcycle insurance rate:

  • Type of motorcycle
  • Your age
  • Where you live
  • The types of coverage you must have under state law
  • How much coverage you have
  • Whether you’re a first-time motorcycle owner
  • Your driving history, whether you’ve been involved in accidents previously
  • Whether your motorcycle has an anti-theft device
  • Your financial history

Are discounts available for bikers?

If you’re looking for ways to reduce your premium, know that many bikers may qualify for discounts. You may be eligible for discounts if you are a member of any of the following:

Insurance companies will likely give you a discount if you are a graduate of a training course provided by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation.

Here are a few more ways you can reduce your financial burden when it comes to motorcycle insurance:

  • Some states don’t require passenger coverage. If you live in a state that doesn’t require it, you can forego this coverage if you never carry passengers.
  • Choose a higher deductible for certain types of coverage. It will mean paying more out-of-pocket if you’re in a collision, but it can save you some money every month in the meantime.
  • Ask for a low-mileage discount if you only ride your motorcycle occasionally.
  • Pay your bills. Insurance companies may look at your financial history and consider you a ‘lower-risk’ rider if you don’t take risks with your money.
  • If at all possible, insure your motorcycle with the same provider that covers your other vehicles.

Motorcycle insurance policies seem mysterious and confusing to many motorcyclists. The biggest thing you can do to help protect your rights and lower your insurance rates is to be aware. Know the types of coverage you’re required to have in the state where you live, understand what each type of coverage entails and why you may need it, and be aware of the discounts available to you. For more information on motorcycle insurance laws, visit

Photography: Liz Jansen


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About the author

Attorney Michael H. Rosenzweig has over 20 years of experience helping bikers injured in motorcycle accidents. He is a partner and litigation manager at Edgar Snyder & Associates. The Edgar Snyder & Associates Harley-Davidson makes appearances at bike nights and rallies throughout the riding season.