Got a new bike that needs insuring? Visit your insurance company’s site for background information, descriptions and definitions of insurance terms. Then meet with your agent, using the following questions and tips to ensure your insurance policy gives you the coverage you need.
WHN Expert TIP – Ask About Their Track Record: Make sure the company has a history with insuring motorcyclists, says Denise Maple, of VaVaVroom, a company that designs motorcycle wear for women riders. Do they know the difference between a hard bag and a soft bag? Are their customers satisfied?
WHN Expert TIP – What Does That Mean? “Have the agent take the time and walk you through the insurance process. Ask them to go through the coverage terms and options for you to choose from. Don’t understand terms? Ask questions!” Thom D’Angelo, Motosport Brokerage
- What are the different levels of coverage available for my motorcycle’s make and model?
- What is the difference between liability, comprehensive, collision and full coverage insurance in terms of financial costs and extent of coverage?
WHN TIP – Liability: “Pay particular attention to liability. Many states only require that you have a minimum of $20,000 of coverage. That’s not very much. If you ride your bike into a crowd of people and cause injuries, you will be held liable for their medical bills which could be a lot more than $20,000.” Dean Akey, Allstate insurance agent and founder and president of Rescue Riders
- Who is covered under this policy? Are other licensed drivers (friends, family members) covered if they drive my motorcycle?
- What about passengers? Are they covered?
- Does this insurance policy cover me anywhere in the country? What about outside of the country?
- What is the length of time that the policy is in effect?
- What can result in the policy being canceled or premiums raised?
WHN Expert TIP – Don’t Forget The Add-Ons: “If you make improvements or add extra features to your bike, upgrade your policy. I bought a new Road King for $17,000 but with all the work I put in it’s probably worth close to $40,000 today. Unless you add the new features to your policy, they won’t be covered.” Dean Akey, Allstate insurance agent and founder and president of Rescue Riders
- Does the policy include roadside assistance?
- If not, does the company offer it, how much is it and what geographic areas does it include?
- Are there certain times and services (flat tire, towing, accident, etc.) that are/aren’t included?
- Are personal items/features on my motorcycle covered in case of an accident or theft? Do I need a rider on certain items if I’d like that option?
Cost and Discounts
- How much is “basic” coverage for a motorcycle insurance policy? What benefits does this include?
- If I need/want more coverage, what will it cost?
WHN Expert TIP – Get the Most Coverage You Can Afford: “You should be more concerned about liability insurance than protecting your motorcycle. If you’re held liable for damages, you have more to lose and your assets could be in danger.” Thom D’Angelo, Motosport Brokerage
- What are my payment options: annual, bi-annual, monthly?
- Where do I fit in with national averages? Am I paying average, more or less? What factors increase a policy cost?
WHN Expert TIP – Costs May Vary: “Your policy costs may vary depending on your age, the type of bike, your zip code, driving record, if it’s parked in a garage or carport, if it is financed or owned outright, and deductible levels. The bottom line is to do lots of homework and shopping around with various insurance companies or a good independent agent that represents multiple companies.” Ron Arieli, president and owner of T.E.A.M. Arizona Motorcyclist Training Centers
- Are there certain models that cost more to insure? Is mine one of them?
- What motorcycles/scooters get the lowest insurance rates?
WHN Expert TIP – Super Bikes: “Do you really need a high-performance machine? If so, you’ll pay a ridiculously high rate just for basic coverage. A more sensible motorcycle may meet your needs.” Dave Mannato, sales agent at the Matador Insurance Agency, Latham, NY
- What discounts do you offer? (Many insurance companies offer a discount if you have multiple bikes, have multiple policies — home, theft, auto, business, etc. — or have taken a motorcycle safety course such as the ones offered by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation or MSF.)
WHN Expert TIP – Winter Months: 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. Ask your agent about this option, says the Insurance Information Institute
The information provided here is not meant to be a substitute for professional advice. These tips are from experts and people who have shared their real-life advice; always check with appropriate professionals you trust in making your purchasing or life-related decisions.
Photo Credit Iakov Filimonov