Do You Need Motorcycle Insurance If You Already Have Car Insurance?
You may be wondering whether you need motorcycle insurance if you already have car insurance in place.
Across 49 of the 50 states in the U.S., motorcycles and fast scooters always need separate motorcycle insurance.
Motorcycle insurance helps to cover the cost of accidents and unforeseen events so that you are not left out of pocket when the unexpected occurs.
In this article, we outline all the reasons why you need motorcycle insurance, how to get it easily, and how to save money on your annual premiums.
What Is Motorcycle Insurance?
A motorcycle insurance policy is designed to cover the cost of injuries to others and damage to their property when you are at fault in an accident.
You can also take out additional motorcycle insurance that can cover your motorcycle for unexpected events such as theft, fire, and damaging weather.
Some motorcycle insurance policies also cover collisions and will pay for the damage to your motorcycle if you hit an object or another vehicle.
As a motorcycle owner, you can also add accessory coverage to your insurance.
Insurance companies consider accessories to be separate from the bike itself and provide cover as additional motorcycle insurance.
Accessories can include:
- Top boxes.
- Specialized exhausts.
- Kits that turn a bike into a trike.
- Electronic devices for media playback.
- Customized seating.
Why Do You Need Motorcycle Insurance?
There are three key reasons as to why you need motorcycle insurance. These include accidents, unexpected damage, and theft.
Let’s take a closer look at each of these in more detail.
In 2019, motorcycle accidents in the U.S. killed 5,014 riders and injured another 84,000.
Because a motorcycle is often less stable than a car and requires a high level of skill to operate, there is a greater risk of being involved in an accident.
Motorcycles are also more difficult to see on the road and the fact remains that many motorists often don’t notice motorcycles—placing riders at greater risk.
The most common causes of motorcycle accidents include:
- Alcohol and drug use.
- Distracted riding.
- Reckless riding.
- Road rage.
- Poor visibility.
- Improper lane use, including lane splitting.
When an accident does happen, motorcycle insurance can cover the cost of repairs, as well as injury to the persons involved.
Your motorcycle could be damaged from stormy weather conditions if it’s parked outside and not in a garage.
Fire is also an event that can occur unexpectedly and completely destroy your motorcycle.
Because a motorcycle is less stable while parked, it could easily be pushed or fall over and become damaged.
This can happen whether you are in a parking lot or at home, and can cause significant damage to the bodywork, engine, exhaust, and foot pegs.
When your motorcycle is damaged by an unforeseen event, your insurance company may be able to help pay to repair the damages.
Stealing a motorcycle is much easier than stealing a car, so theft remains a very real threat. In fact, over 51,000 motorcycles are stolen each year in the U.S.
The top motorcycle brands most frequently stolen include:
Over 9,000 motorcycles were stolen in California in 2021, which makes it the most dangerous state to leave your motorcycle unattended.
Insuring your motorcycle against theft will ensure that you are able to replace your ride if it is stolen.
What Motorcycle Insurance Policy Should You Consider?
As we mentioned earlier in this article, out of the 50 American states, 49 require you to have motorcycle insurance.
Florida is the only state in which you do not need motorcycle insurance.
Although insurance is an absolute necessity in most states, there are various types of insurance that you can get.
The essential insurance needed by every motorcyclist (apart from those in Florida) is minimum liability insurance.
Key Point: What Is Minimum Liability Insurance?
Minimum liability insurance is the lowest amount of liability coverage required under your state’s laws.
Liability insurance provides coverage for bodily injury and property damage. For example, your state may refer to minimum liability insurance as 25/50/10 coverage.
This means that you will need $25,000 in bodily injury protection per person, $50,000 in bodily injury protection per accident, and $10,000 in property damage coverage.
It’s important to note that liability coverage, or minimum liability insurance, does not protect you in an accident—it will only protect others in an accident that you cause.
For this reason, many motorcyclists purchase additional motorcycle insurance to ensure that they are protected if they are involved in a motorcycle accident that they did not cause.
If you are injured in a motorcycle accident that was not your fault, you could face expensive medical bills, lost wages, and other damages.
These expenses could quickly exceed the liability coverage carried by the driver who caused your accident.
Here are the motorcycle insurance coverages that you should consider:
Comprehensive and collision coverage
Comprehensive insurance helps cover your motorcycle if you are involved in an incident that is not a collision. For example, theft, vandalism, fire, hail, and flooding.
Collision coverage is designed to cover you in the event of a collision with another vehicle, an object, or an animal.
Underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage
Despite minimum liability insurance being essential in most states, there are still people who drive around without it. In fact, research shows that around 13% of drivers have no insurance.
Underinsured and uninsured motorist coverage can pay for your medical bills and lost wages following an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver.
Key Point: What Is the Difference between Underinsured and Uninsured Motorist Coverage?
Underinsured Motorist Coverage
Uninsured Motorist Coverage (UM)
Some states also offer uninsured motorist property damage which will cover damage to your motorcycle.
Medical payments coverage
If you or your pillion (passenger) is injured in an accident, medical payments coverage will pay for your medical bills.
When Do You Need to Get Motorcycle Insurance?
Before you jump on your motorcycle and hit the road, here are a few instances in which you will need to make sure that you have motorcycle insurance in place:
If you have a learner’s permit
When it comes to insurance, the same laws apply to riders regardless of whether they are fully licensed, or riding on a learner’s permit.
When buying or financing a motorcycle
Just like with car insurance, you will need to have motorcycle insurance in place before you can ride your bike off the showroom floor.
If you need financing for your bike, your financial institution will require proof of insurance before they will loan you any money.
When registering your motorcycle
In order to register your motorcycle with your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), you will need to have proof of liability insurance in place.
If your motorcycle is not registered, it’s illegal to ride on the roads.
When your motorcycle is in storage
Motorcycle insurance is generally purchased as annual insurance.
This means that there is no benefit in canceling your insurance if your motorcycle is in storage for some months of the year.
Is Motorcycle Insurance Required for Scooters?
A scooter is a two-wheeled vehicle that could be classified as either a moped or a motorcycle. This classification depends on three key details.
If your two-wheeled vehicle meets any one of the following criteria, it’s considered to be a moped and you won’t need to insure it:
- Engine of 50cc or less.
- A maximum of 2 brake horsepower.
- Incapable of exceeding 30mph on a flat surface.
If your two-wheeled vehicle exceeds these criteria, it’s considered to be a scooter and you will need insurance to ride it.
A scooter or motorcycle has the following criteria:
- Engine that exceeds 50cc.
- Can exceed 30mph on a flat surface.
Scooters generally have engine sizes of between 50cc and 250cc and can reach up to 70mph. They are also allowed on highways due to their size.
Scooters fall under the same umbrella as motorcycles. Bodily injury and property damage liability coverage are typically the minimum requirement.
You can also add collision coverage and comprehensive coverage to ensure you have complete financial protection should you be involved in an accident.
Key Point: Avoid Out-of-Pocket Expenses in a Collision
If you live in a state where motorcycle or scooter insurance is not required, you may save money in the long run by taking out comprehensive and collision coverage.
This, along with bodily injury liability insurance, will help you pay for any unexpected medical expenses and damages related to motorcycle accidents.
Do I Need Guest Passenger (Pillion) Coverage?
Guest passenger liability, also known as pillion liability, is a type of motorcycle insurance designed to cover any passenger that you may have riding with you.
With car insurance, your passengers are automatically covered. However, when you ride a bike, your passenger may not be.
Guest passenger liability, or pillion liability, will cover medical expenses for your passenger for any injuries sustained during an accident on your motorcycle.
What Is Seasonal Motorcycle Insurance?
Motorcycle insurance companies may offer seasonal motorcycle insurance.
Also known as winter layup insurance, seasonal motorcycle insurance provides coverage in the months that you ride your motorcycle, and suspends coverage for the months when you will not be riding.
Seasonal motorcycle insurance can save you money in the long run. Although it won’t include bodily injury and property damage, it still covers your bike while in storage.
It allows you to have protection if something happens at the location where your bike is being stored during the winter. This could be fire or flooding, for example. You will also be covered if the motorcycle is stolen.
After purchasing a seasonal motorcycle policy, you can use the bike under the policy’s protection during the months stated on the policy’s paperwork.
Generally, the policy will suspend over winter, and will resume normal cover during spring, summer, and autumn.
Seasonal motorcycle coverage policies are more common in the northern states where driving during the winter tends to be hazardous.
What Do You Need to Get Motorcycle Insurance?
Like with car insurance, you will need a few basic details in order to get your motorcycle coverage.
Here’s what you will need to get the best quote on your bike insurance premiums:
1. List the details of your motorcycle
To get a quote from an insurance company, you will need a few of your motorcycle’s details.
- The make of the motorcycle.
- The model of the motorcycle.
- The year of manufacture.
- The motorcycle’s vehicle identification number (VIN).
2. Make sure you have your personal details ready
When asking for a quote on bike insurance, you will need to provide some of your personal details.
This includes your:
- Date of birth.
- Social Security number.
- Motorcycle license number.
- Home address.
- Address where your vehicle will park at night and during the day.
How Much Does Motorcycle Insurance Cost?
Motorcycle riders don’t pay as much as car drivers for their insurance every month. In fact, to carry insurance, a motorcycle costs less than half of that of a car.
How much you pay on motorcycle insurance depends on a few factors including:
- The type of motorcycle you ride.
- Your location.
- Driving history.
When it comes to the type of motorcycle that insurance carriers will consider when preparing your quote, yours could fall into a few categories:
- Standard motorcycle, such as a Yamaha SR 400.
- Sports motorcycle, such as a Suzuki BSX-R600.
- Touring motorcycle, such as the Honda Goldwing.
Your insurance rates will also differ depending on the type of insurance that you choose.
The type of insurance you could select would either be minimum liability coverage, or comprehensive and collision insurance cover.
Need to Purchase Motorcycle Insurance? We’ve Got You Covered with Cheap Bike Insurance
As a motorcycle rider, you will need to carry liability insurance and should consider comprehensive coverage as well.
But with so many motorcycle insurance companies to choose from, knowing where to begin can be overwhelming.
Luckily, we give you access to the best motorcycle insurance companies right here at CheapInsurance.com.
You can get a good idea of how much you may be spending on insurance with a motorcycle insurance company when you use our free quote generator.
With a list of quotes that you can compare, you can choose an insurer that best suits your needs and pocket.
From here you can head to step two of the process, which is to secure your formal quote with the insurer of your choice.
Getting motorcycle coverage should be a stress-free process. With CheapInsurance.com we’ve got you covered with an insurance finder that’s quick and accurate.
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