The Insider’s Guide to Motorcycle Insurance

Lightning Motorcycle at Pikes Peak
Lightning Motorcycle blows gasoline bikes at Pikes Peak

It doesn’t matter if you are a weekend warrior, use a scooter to get around town, or if the owners of the Full Throttle Saloon in Sturgis know you by name, you need to have your bike properly insured. But as you probably know, getting motorcycle insurance is not as easy as getting your car insured.

This is because only a handful of insurance companies offer this kind of coverage and because if the reduced choice, these companies control the market. As such, motorcycle insurance can be prohibitively expensive for even those with the best driving records.

But this doesn’t mean that you need to treat your bike as a museum piece and here is the insider’s guide to motorcycle insurance.


Depending on the engine size, the state where your motorcycle is registered will require that you have private insurance in order to use the bike on public roads. This is fair as to get around you will need to ride your bike on public roads – unless you’re rich enough to own your own private island.

Let’s face it, while you might love the feeling of the wind through your hair while on your bike, you probably don’t want to risk everything you own if ride it without insurance.  Not only will this give you the coverage you need if you are found at fault it will also give you additional protection if you someone hits you.

According to Denver motorcycle accident lawyer Lampert & Walsh, “motorcycle accidents are more dangerous because the rider is only marginally protected from impact with the road or another vehicle.” As such, you want to make sure any expenses from your accident will be covered.

This is one reason why some states require motorcycle owners to carry a minimum amount of insurance to cover medical expenses and many experts recommend purchasing extended liability insurance as the minimum limits might not be enough to pay costs.

Beyond this, you will also want to check if your motorcycle insurance covers passengers – some don’t – and if the insurance company would pay if you involved in an accident with an uninsured driver.

What are Your Options?

As you can see, there are several variables that you need to keep in mind when getting motorcycle insurance.  This is part of the reason why it tends to be more expensive compared to auto insurance and the perceived complexity of the insurance options is a reason why many insurers do not cover motorcycles.

What are your options? Well, it starts by picking the level of collision coverage. This will cover you and your motorcycle if you are in an accident. This also covers your liability in an accident and will help to pay if you are found to be at fault.

If you only ride your motorcycle occasionally then, just getting liability insurance might be your best bet. However, you want to keep in mind that you and your bike will not be covered if you are in an accident.

When it comes to liability insurance you may also want to consider getting more than the legal minimum. While this will cost slightly more, the added protection will come in handy if you are found to be at fault.  

This is important as most car drivers lack awareness of motorcycles and as such, that is bound to blame the motorcycle for the accident rather than accepting blame. One way to help protect yourself – that isn’t directly related to insurance – is to get yourself an onboard camera. Doing so will create a record of your rides and could be useful if you are in an accident.

The next option is to figure out the level of comprehensive coverage that is right for you. This will cover your motorcycle if it is stolen or if you are in an animal collision. As mentioned, you might also want to consider additional coverage for medical expenses and personal injury protection. While most states don’t require either, the extra coverage could save you when you need it most.

Beyond the standard coverage options, avoid motorcyclists might consider getting add-ons such as trip interruption coverage, custom parts coverage, transport coverage, and even roadside assistance.  While these options will cost more you can offset the expense by taking advantage of a lay-up period – this is a sort of pause for your insurance when your motorcycle is in storage over the winter.

Cost Saving Options

Before you sign up with a carrier, the last thing you want to do is check to see what discounts they have available. This can use discounts for bundled insurance (though some experts caution against this), clean driving records, insuring multiple motorcycles, completing a motorcycle training course or belonging to a motorcycle organization, as well as discounts for experienced riders.

Emily Muelford
Emily is a British writer whose love of car culture is augmented by a fascination with both the European and American automotive markets. Her perspective is uniquely fish and chips.