We hope our site helps everyone make informed financial decisions.
To keep our service free our partners pay us. This may impact what products we review or how they appear, e.g. the order or color in which companies appear, but our opinions are our own and partners cannot pay us for favorable reviews.
We review many financial companies and their products but are unable to cover them all. If you'd like us to review a company or product please let us know at .moc.ogitulp@kcabdeef
The Progressive Corporation
Higher than most
Lower than most
All bike types
Lower than most
Middle of the road
Nearly all bike types
The Allstate Corporation
Higher than most
Lower than most
Standard bikes and scooters
Motorcycle insurance – how to protect yourself and your bike
Not all motorcycle owners are created equal. Maybe you ride simply because it’s a cheap and convenient way to get around town. Or maybe you’re a true aficionado and love taking your baby(s) out on the open road to feel the wind in your face. Whatever your reason for riding, you know you have to protect yourself, your passengers, and your machine. And that’s where motorcycle insurance comes in.
Most people are familiar with car insurance, but if you’re a first-time motorcycle owner, insuring a bike may be new territory for you. Fortunately, there is not a major difference between the two types of insurance coverage. And just as we teach consumers to comparison shop for the best car insurance policies and rates, we have the same advice for motorcycle owners. Getting quotes from multiple companies is a quick and easy way to get the most for your insurance dollar.
As with most purchases, price isn’t everything when it comes to motorcycle insurance. Finding the best deal means finding a company that has good customer service, is easy to deal with, will stand behind the promises it makes, and offers a reasonable price that you can live with. This may not be the absolute lowest priced policy you come across, but it will be the highest value coverage for you and your needs.
Motorcycle insurance works pretty much the same way as car insurance. The minimum coverage requirements vary by state, but almost all of them require liability insurance, which helps pay for others’ expenses if you cause an accident. Some states also require uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.
Beyond these bare minima, there are a host of optional coverages offered, giving you the freedom to tailor your protection to your personal needs. Note that there are some differences between motorcycle and car insurance. For example, in a car you are more likely to have several passengers, so your insurance covers them as well. But for motorcycles, guest passenger liability coverage is offered as a separate add-on that you can choose. In addition, motorcycle accidents are more likely to cause personal injury, so personal injury protection insurance for a motorcycle may cost more than it does for a car.
Another particularly interesting option offered by many insurers is lay-up insurance, which is targeted at riders who put their motorcycles away during the winter months. During the lay-up period, you are covered against theft and other adverse events that might occur while your vehicle is in storage, but nothing else. Lay-up insurance carries a lower premium than full coverage, but if you decide to take your bike on the road during this period, you are not covered in the event of an accident. (So don’t do it!)
Here are some of the typical coverages for motorcycle riders:
- Liability coverage: Liability coverage is required in most states, and it helps pay for others’ expenses if you cause an accident, i.e., if you are liable for the accident. There are two types of liability coverage, bodily injury and property damage, and most states require drivers to have both types. Bodily injury helps pay another person’s medical expenses if you cause an accident, and property damage helps pay for damage you cause to another person’s property. As a general rule, if you have a high level of wealth or assets, you should probably opt for significantly more than the minimum required amount of liability coverage. A catastrophic accident could cost far more than this minimum, and it could drain away everything you have worked so hard to accumulate.
- Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage: Required in some states. Helps protect you against drivers that cause an accident with you but either don’t have insurance or have insufficient coverage levels to pay for your full damages.
- Comprehensive coverage: Helps pay to repair or replace your vehicle in the case of theft, or different types of damage, including extreme weather, animal damage, vandalism, flood, and fire. This coverage is typically optional, but if the vehicle is leased or has an outstanding loan balance, the financing company usually requires you to carry comprehensive.
- Collision coverage: Covers damage to your own vehicle after an accident, regardless of who was at fault. (Note that damage to another person’s vehicle would be covered by your property damage liability.) Similar to comprehensive, collision is typically optional but usually required if your vehicle is leased or financed. Collision coverage often provides protection for your helmet as well.
- Motorcycle medical payments and personal injury protection: Required in some states, it covers medical and rehabilitation expenses if you or your passengers are injured in an accident. In some cases it also covers related expenses like child care, lost income, and funeral expenses resulting from an accident.
- Guest passenger liability coverage:Required in some states. Helps pay for your passengers' medical expenses if you are the cause of an accident. The coverage doesn’t apply if you (the insured) are not at fault for the accident that injured your passenger. In that case, the at-fault driver's liability coverage may help pay your or your passenger's medical expenses.
- Rental reimbursement coverage: Helps pay for a rental car if your motorcycle is being repaired after a covered loss.
- Gap insurance: If there’s an accident or damage that totals your vehicle, gap insurance pays out the difference between the bike’s actual cash value and the amount you still owe on a lease or loan. This coverage allows you to avoid having to continue making payments on a vehicle you no longer own.
- Accessories coverage: Provides protection for your accessories, which may include items like saddlebags, backrests, seats, chrome pieces, and CB radios. If needed, additional coverage can be purchased.
- Personal item or “carried contents” coverage: Provides protection against damage to or theft of items carried on your bike, such as mobile phones or sports equipment.
- Original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts coverage: Allows you to specify that covered repairs to your motorcycle use original manufacturer parts.
Your total level of coverage depends on what you feel is best for your needs, which may depend on the value of your motorcycle, your level of personal assets, and your budget to pay premiums.
Do you need coverage for a scooter?
If you have a scooter rather than a motorcycle, you may wonder if you are required to have insurance. The answer is: maybe.
It starts with the vexing question of, “What is a scooter?” This is not a simple question either, because each state defines and regulates these vehicles differently. In general, if your scooter has an engine smaller than 50 cubic centimeters and can’t exceed 30 miles per hour, then it is equivalent to a moped. If it is bigger or faster than this, it is categorized as a motorcycle. (Note that there are minor variations in some states, so these limits are not absolutes.)
If your vehicle does qualify as a scooter/moped, then in some states you are required to have liability insurance coverage, and in others no coverage is required. If it qualifies as a motorcycle, then of course it falls under the requirements for motorcycles.
For a scooter/moped, some insurance companies provide coverage under motorcycle insurance policies, while others write specific scooter insurance policies. If you live in a state where scooter insurance is not required, you still may need it if you purchased the vehicle with a loan. Even if that’s not the case, it’s not a bad idea to consider insuring your scooter. Consider what would happen if you were to total the vehicle and have to pay out of pocket to replace it, or if you cause damage to someone else’s property or health. A scooter may not move very quickly, but it can still leave you with some major expenses.
How to choose an insurer and a policy
Our advice for choosing a motorcycle insurer is the same as for car insurance: it all comes down to price and claims. You pay the price, and then you hope you never have to find out about the claims service. But if you need it, you want to be confident that it will be satisfactory.
When it comes to pricing, of course it depends on where you live, how old you are, and your driving record. But for motorcycle insurance, a major determining factor is the type of motorcycle you ride. Bikes with big engines and high-end builds cost much more to insure. Think sportbikes vs standard ones.
It should be no surprise that, because bigger engines can generate a lot more speed than smaller ones, insurance companies find them more risky. Greater risk leads to higher premiums. The disparity can be huge, with premiums varying from a few dollars a month to several hundred dollars a month. It pays to think about this as part of your decision-making process when buying a motorcycle.
Because there are so many different elements involved in pricing, it can be tricky to make a simple apples-to-apples comparison between all the different insurers. Here are just a few of the factors:
- Your age and the state you live in: Insurance rates for teens and college students are much higher than for 40 year olds and varies by state.
- How many miles you drive: If you commute 100 miles a day and take frequent weekend road trips, expect to pay more than someone who works from home and just drives to the local grocery store and gym a few times a week.
- Your past driving record: If you have recent speeding tickets or accidents, your premiums will be considerably higher than if your record has been clean for several years.
- The type of motorcycle you own, and where you live: A flashy new 1250 cc BMW in a big city will cost you more than a 20 year-old Honda in a sleepy little town.
- The specific coverage you choose: You need to think about questions like what size deductible do you want, how much total liability coverage do you need, and many more.
- Discounts: Most insurers offer discounts off the standard price for a broad range of factors such as taking safe driving courses, having multiple vehicles insured, being accident-free, and even for getting good grades in school.
Insurance is an unusual product. We pay for it and then hope we never use it. But when the day comes that we do have to file a claim, as it does for most of us, we want to know that our insurer is going to be helpful and efficient while it (hopefully) stands behind the promises we have been paying for with our premiums. When it comes to claims servicing, some of the important factors are:
- The claim filing process: How difficult is it to file a claim and what channels are available (online portal, phone call to your individual agent, toll-free hotline, 24 hours a day, etc.).
- Status updates: While the claim is in process, how well does the insurer keep you abreast of its status and by what method (email, text message, alerts in a mobile app, phone calls, etc.).
- Ease of the estimation and repair process: How quickly and smoothly does this process go and does it require considerable time and effort from you.
- Rental car replacement: If the policy includes rental car replacement coverage, is the process fast and easy, or does the insurer make it difficult for you.
- Helping the customer feel at ease: Simply having an accident can be highly stressful, making the aftermath of dealing with insurance also quite a challenge. There is no underestimating the value of the insurer doing everything possible throughout the claims process to be reassuring and help minimize this source of additional stress.
How to buy motorcycle insurance
The basic process for selecting and purchasing a motorcycle insurance policy boils down to a few key steps.
- Determine the type and amount of coverage you need
- Get a few quotes to compare
- Choose the way you want to buy
- Compare your quotes and make a choice
These step are explained in more detail below
Determine the type and amount of coverage you need
This is actually one of the more challenging steps in getting insurance, because there are different components of a policy, and within those components there are typically different levels of coverage you can choose. Generally speaking, of course, the greater the level of coverage, the higher the premium will be.
Your choice of coverage levels should be dictated by such questions as:
- The value and type of the vehicle?
- Your ability to pay for uncovered expense?
- The level of personal or business assets you need to protect in the event of liability?
- The monthly premium amount your budget will allow you to pay?
Clearly the right choice of coverage is highly dependent on your individual situation. Hence it’s not a great idea to try avoiding this question and simply copy what your friends or family members are doing; their situations could be very different from yours.
Get a few quotes to compare
In order to get the right insurance, you have to be willing to put in a little bit of effort to shop around, getting quotes from several insurers in order to allow you to compare. You want to compare both price and service, including the claims service discussed above. The few hours you invest in this process on the front end can pay huge dividends over the many years you may have the policy, in terms of both premiums and peace of mind.
The different ways to get quotes, including online and through agents, are discussed in the next section. And the companies from which you should get quotes can come from diving into our company reviews, as well as the many other resources and rankings available at sites like Trustpilot, Consumer Reports, etc.
Once you have decided on a small group of perhaps 3 to 5 insurers that impress you as providing the best service for your needs, you should count on spending about 15 minutes per quote. In order to be most efficient, be sure to have your most recent policy information in hand, because there may be questions about the make and model of your motorcycle, as well as your current coverage. You should be requesting quotes for the same amount of coverage from each, so you can do an apples-to-apples comparison.
Don’t forget to ask about discounts, because there could be a number that apply to you, including:
- Buying another type of policy, such as auto or homeowners insurance, from the same insurer
- Multiple motorcycles insured with the same company
- Good Rider discount for having a clean driving record
- Motorcycle safety course discount
- Belonging to a motorcycle riders organization, e.g. American Motorcycle Association, Motorcycle Touring Association
- Being over 55 or a longtime rider
If your budget is extremely tight, you could consider raising your deductibles, which often brings premiums down quite a bit. Also, if you have included optional comprehensive and collision, and their annual premium exceeds 10% of the value of the vehicle, you should strongly consider dropping them. If for example you are quoted a $500 annual premium for these two coverages and your motorcycle is only worth $3,000, industry experts would suggest they are not a good value.
Choose the way you want to buy
In today’s world there are many ways you can get car insurance quotes and make your purchase, it’s totally up to you how you want to go about it. You might want to try more than one option and see what you’re most comfortable with, because each has its strengths and weaknesses.
Captive insurance agents
Working through a “captive” agent for quotes and purchases can probably be called the old-fashioned method these days, though that’s not to imply there’s anything wrong with it. A captive agent works exclusively for a single insurance company and thus becomes your point of contact with the insurer. The larger insurance companies, such as State Farm and Allstate, have networks of these exclusive agents throughout the country.
Captive agents often focus on developing long-term relationships with clients, and they work on commission, meaning they have plenty of incentive to make a sale to you. They are great if you are a bit unsure and want someone to help guide you through the process of choosing the coverage options you need. In addition, if you need multiple types of insurance, not just motorcycle, they can provide that for you all under one roof, which is a convenience many people seek out.
The primary downside of captive agents is that they can only sell the policies offered by a single insurance company, which severely limits your options. It also makes it more time-consuming to get quotes from multiple companies and compare, as we highly recommend.
Independent agents and insurance brokers
An independent agent is nearly identical to a captive agent but is not limited to representing only one company. Instead independent agents are able to sell policies from many different insurers, making it a one-stop shop for multiple quotes from the various insurers the agent does business with. However, independent agents do not have access to insurers that use captive agents (like State Farm and Allstate), and you may want to get quotes from these companies as well. Fortunately many large and small insurers, including Travelers and American Family, do sell through independent agents.
Relative to dealing with captive agents, independent agents make it easier to comparison shop in order to find the right policy for your needs. A key point to remember with both independent and captive agents is that, because of their commission structure, they may have incentive to upsell you on unnecessary policy add-ons, so you have to be alert and able to say no to their sales pitch.
An insurance broker effectively provides the same service as an independent agent, with the key difference being that they are required by law to disclose to you their commission rates. In addition, they may charge additional service fees on top of their commissions.
Go online for direct quotes
If you prefer not to deal with an agent, your best bet is to go online, where you can get quotes and even make your purchase directly. Motorcycle insurance quotes on the internet are available through so-called “lead generation” sites. These sites can provide you with multiple quotes at one time, allowing for a simple comparison process. Plutigo is one of these types of sites. You may scroll to the top of this page, tell us about yourself, and see insurance provider options you qualify for.
In addition to the lead generation websites, if you are interested in particular insurers, you can usually go to their websites and get quotes directly, tailored to your coverage choices. After getting quotes from multiple companies in this way, you can create your own comparison in order to move toward making a final decision.
The process of getting online quotes is fairly uniform across all types of sites. You input information about yourself, your motorcycle, and your driving situation, and then make your coverage choices from an easy-to-use menu on the screen. You then get your quote(s), either individually on insurers’ websites or all on one screen on our site.
Compare your quotes and make a choice
Congratulate yourself, because you’ve done all the hard work that so many consumers won’t, meaning you will get a better combination of price and quality than you would if you had taken the easy way out.
With the quotes now assembled, the process of comparison should be fairly straightforward. Because you have gotten all the quotes for the same level of coverage, you are able to make an apples-to-apples comparison.
Just remember, the decision is based on more than just price. If you have a quote that is slightly higher priced but it’s from a carrier that has higher customer ratings and a better claims reputation, that very well could be your best quote. You have done all the rational, quantitative work to get to this point, and now it may be time to let your gut weigh in. If the company that is 3% more expensive has given you more assurance that they will be there for you when you need them most, then that may be the right choice. Trust yourself, because you’ve earned the right to choose.
We hope this helps you find the right insurance plan and carrier for you.
Ride safe and enjoy!