You can picture it now: cruising along an open stretch of highway with the wind whipping through your hair. When riding your motorcycle, there’s nothing between you and the open air—or the asphalt, or that tree, or that car. Motorcycles are exhilarating for many people, but there are some additional safety precautions that come along with riding a motorcycle. As such, there are some extra expenses when it comes to insuring your motorcycle.
It’s important to consider all your options when shopping for motorcycle insurance and to do your research before you sign on the dotted line with a company. Although you don’t want to under-insure yourself or your bike, you want to be sure you know how to find the best insurance. It’s important to understand what insurers take into account when determining the premium and how to keep your insurance costs down.
Don’t Buy the Most Expensive Bike
Like most car insurance policies, motorcycle insurance varies from bike to bike. Insuring a small or commuter motorcycle will be much less expensive than insurance for a high-end bike that has high horsepower. When purchasing your motorcycle, consider your budget not only for what you’re willing to pay for the bike up front, but also for how much you can afford when you have to pay the premium every year. You can also avoid paying for collision and comprehensive coverage if you buy an inexpensive bike. However, it’s important to remember that the safer your motorcycle is, the less expensive your policy will be.
Are you an extremely safe and meticulous driver? Some insurance companies will give you a discount if you don’t file any claims for a year—some as much as 40 percent. Obviously, nobody wants to get in an accident, but if you play it extra safe and always stick to the rules, you’ll have a greater chance of being accident-free. Having no accidents may entitle you to a no-claims bonus. The qualifications for this bonus vary between insurance companies so be sure to do your research.
“Guest passenger” coverage is a type of coverage category that only pertains to motorcycles. This is different from automobile policies, which generally cover other passengers in the vehicle. If you’re a fan of being one—and only one—with your motorcycle, or if you’re willing to become a fan of solo riding, this might be a good way to save some money on your insurance coverage. Be sure to do some research on policies and requirements in your home state because some states do require guest passenger coverage regardless of whether you plan to ride alone.
Join a Motorcycle Association
There are several motorcycle associations out there, including the American Motorcycle Association, Harley Owners Group, Motorcycle Safety Foundation and BMW Motorcycle Owners of America, to name a few. The BMW Motorcycle Owners of America organization offers rider safety programs and driver training, and some insurance companies may offer discounts to members of these organizations. Be sure to ask insurance providers if such discounts are available.
Cap Your Mileage
For a lot of people, their motorcycles aren’t their primary mode of transportation. Some riders just use their motorcycles during spring and summer months, while others tend to take them out only on the weekends. If your motorcycle is more like a toy or a hobby, you may want to consider capping your mileage. Some insurance companies may offer a lower premium for lower annual mileage.
Have Good Credit
According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, in most states, “insurers can use your credit-based insurance score to determine your premiums.” Each insurance company uses different criteria to determine how you would manage your risk exposure, i.e., if you seem responsible with your money, you’ll be responsible for your own safety. Insurance companies also figure that you will pay your premiums on time if you have no history of being delinquent on a bill.