Best Motorcycle Insurance in North Carolina

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Contributor, Benzinga
August 10, 2020

North Carolina’s iconic roadways, such as the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Outer Banks National Scenic Byway, make the Tar Heel State a mecca for motorcyclists. The right motorcycle insurance can help protect your bike but can also protect your assets and future earrings against liability losses due to motorcycle accidents. Here’s what you’ll need to know before choosing the best motorcycle insurance in North Carolina.

North Carolina Motorcycle Insurance: An Overview

Liability coverage is mandatory for motorcycles in North Carolina and state minimum requirements are among the highest in the country. Most other coverage types are optional on motorcycle policies, although some coverage types may be required by your lender if you financed your bike:

State minimum insurance requirements in North Carolina:

  • $30,000 bodily injury liability (per person)
  • $60,000 bodily injury liability (per accident)
  • $25,000 property damage liability 

You can also choose higher coverage limits. The cost of accidental damage to property and injuries to others is impossible to predict, which makes a higher liability coverage limit worth close consideration.

Average annual rate with a clean driving record: $722

Insurance rates vary by state and area. Motorcyclists in more congested areas can expect to pay higher rates than those with less traffic. Your accident history and moving violations can also play a role in determining motorcycle insurance rates.

You’ll often find a benefit when you shop around and get multiple quotes. For example, we found rates ranging from under $400 to well over $1,000 for the same rider and bike. Most insurers consider similar rating criteria but each insurer may weigh rating factors differently, resulting in different rates. Some policies also offer better coverage options for items like custom equipment or classic bikes. Price may not always be the most important consideration when shopping for insurance and you can often leverage discounts to bring rates down further.

North Carolina Motorcycle Insurance Law Explained

Motorcycle insurance policies are similar to auto insurance policies, but some parts of your coverage are handled differently than on an auto policy and deserve close attention. Some coverages are mandatory for motorcyclists in North Carolina, While others are optional — but may still be wise choices. Let’s consider the major parts of your coverage.

  • Liability coverage: If you injure someone else or damage the property of others in a motorcycle accident, the liability coverage on your motorcycle insurance policy can cover your financial obligation for the damage caused. In North Carolina, your liability coverage has three separate limits. The first limit covers bodily injury to others on a per-person basis. The second provides a bodily injury coverage limit on a per accident basis. The third part of your liability coverage provides a limit for damage to the property of others.
  • Physical damage coverage: This (optional) part of your policy provides 2 primary types of protection for your motorcycle.
    • Collision coverage: If your bike is damaged due to contact with another vehicle, contact with a stationary object, or due to a fall, collision coverage can help cover the cost of repairing your bike.
    • Comprehensive coverage: Often referred to as other than collision coverage, comprehensive coverage protects your motorcycle against a broad range of risks including fire, theft, flooding, vandalism, and more. 

Physical damage coverage is usually required if you financed your bike and while the lender still has a financial interest in the bike as collateral for your loan. Beyond providing coverage for the bike itself, some insurers also provide an option to protect custom parts or accessories. Often, you’ll have the option to repair your bike with original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts as well, but you'll have to choose this coverage before you have a claim. 

You may hear the term full coverage when choosing insurance for vehicles, which refers to having both state-mandated liability coverage and optional physical damage coverage.

  • Uninsured motorist (UIM) coverage: If another driver causes an injury to you or damage to your bike and doesn’t have insurance to cover their financial liability, uninsured motorist coverage can help make you financially whole. This coverage can also help if the other driver has coverage limits lower than their liability to you.
  • MedPay: Some policies offer MedPay as an option that provides no-fault coverage for rider injuries in a motorcycle accident. Passengers who have their own auto policy with MedPay may have medical coverage through their own policy.

North Carolina Motorcycle Traffic Laws You Should Know

Although North Carolina does not require a license for scooters or mopeds under 50cc, you’ll need a helmet, registration, and liability insurance for these vehicles. Motorcycles requirements are the same except that North Carolina also requires a driver's license with a motorcycle endorsement for bikes over 50cc. Motorcycle licensing in North Carolina requires both a written test and an off-street skills test. 

Aside from licensing requirements, motorcycle laws in North Carolina largely parallel those for other vehicles. No more than 2 motorcycles can share the width of a traffic lane and lane splitting is prohibited in the state. However, restrictions on high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes do not apply to motorcycles which provides a safer alternative to reach your destination sooner.

North Carolina Motorcycle Insurance Rates per Bike

Insurance rates vary based on a number of factors, but you can expect some of the biggest rating factors to revolve around things that can be measured statistically. For example, insurers know that less-experienced drivers have a higher frequency of accidents. Therefore, younger drivers often pay more for coverage. The same concept can apply to bikes, specifically based on engine size and the type of bike you choose. Cruisers and touring bikes often enjoy lower insurance rates than sportbikes, assuming all other rating criteria are equal. 

Safety features can play a role in insurance rates as well. For example, bikes that have anti-lock brakes (ABS) often earn extra discounts. Insurance rates can be influenced by a wide range of factors, with some increasing rates while other decrease rates, often making price generalizations by bike or by type less than accurate. The best way to find insurance rates for your particular bike is to get some quotes to compare.

Motorcycle Insurance Quotes in North Carolina

To find a range of rates, we collected dozens of quotes for a 2017 Harley Davidson FLHTK. Our rider is a 35-year-old married male. He has a clean driving record and has had his motorcycle license for over 5 years. Below is a sampling of quotes we collected.

CompanyQuote for a 1-year policyPrice Rating
State Farm$5984

We found motorcycle insurance rates ranging from under $400 to nearly $1,400. However, a disparity in price doesn’t always mean a policy is overpriced. Some policies offer better coverage in certain situations. 

For example, Hagerty’s rate in the table above is higher than other insurers but the company is also known for its classic and custom bike coverage that insures to full value and even helps source hard-to-find parts. Other policies may (and probably do) reduce coverage due to depreciation. 

When choosing a policy, consider value rather than just price and compare quotes from multiple providers.

Motorcycle Insurance Discounts

The right mix of discounts can bring a higher-than-average base quote back down to earth. Some discounts are commonly available from several motorcycle insurance companies, whereas others may only be available from select insurers. Nearly every company we surveyed offered a homeowner discount. Multiple bike discounts are also common. However, less than half offered an experienced rider discount. Here are some other discounts that may be available.

CompanyDiscounts OfferedOverall Rating
DairylandMultiple Bike Discount, Loyalty Discount, Homeowner Discount, Riding Group Discount, Safety Course Discount4.7
FarmersMultiple Bike Discount, Loyalty Discount, Homeowner Discount, Riding Group Discount, Anti-Lock Brake Discount4.3
American ModernTransfer Discount, Multiple Bike Discount, Homeowner Discount, Claims-Free Discount, Safety Course Discount 4.0
MetLifeMultiple Bike Discount, Claims-Free Discount, Anti-Lock Brake Discount, Anti-Theft Discount, Safety Course Discount4.7
AAAMultiple Bike Discount, Loyalty Discount, Homeowner Discount, Claims-Free-Discount, Anti-Theft Discount, Safety Course Discount4.7

Best Motorcycle Insurance Providers in North Carolina

Each rider and bike combination are unique. The coverage your buddy in your riding group has may not be the best fit for your needs. When choosing the best motorcycle insurance, compare quotes from multiple providers and look for ways to customize your coverage for the way you ride.

Choosing the Best Motorcycle Insurance in North Carolina

You may only use your bike on sunny days, but it’s important to choose a policy that fits the way you ride, protecting both your bike and your assets for the long run. Collect quotes from multiple carriers, but don’t let price alone guide your choice. Motorcycle insurance is typically affordable and the added value you can purchase with a few extra dollars per month might save you thousands later if you ever need to make a claim.

Money-saving Motorcycle Insurance

Harley-Davidson Insurance Services provides services as a trusted motorcycle insurance agency that knows all about the motorcycle lifestyle. The company stands behind its policies with industry-leading services, coverage and support. You’ll also get money-saving motorcycle insurance discounts and experienced customer service and claims support. 

You can get Harley-Davidson Insurance today with a free, quick quote.