What Does Motorcycle Insurance Cover?

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Contributor, Benzinga
November 18, 2020

Like car insurance, motorcycle insurance is required to drive most types of bikes on public and private roads. If you enjoy the open road without insurance you could be putting yourself at risk of a fine, or even having your license revoked, depending on where you live and if you’ve been caught without insurance in the past. But what does motorcycle insurance cover — and how much coverage do you really need to purchase to keep yourself protected?

Our guide will help you learn more about what is included and excluded on most motorcycle insurance policies. We’ll even introduce you to a few of our favorite motorcycle insurance providers to help you get the coverage you need quickly. 

Motorcycle Coverage Options

Like car insurance policies, there are many types of motorcycle insurance protections, some of which are required by law to legally drive. The policy options that you choose will play a direct role in what types of accidents and collisions you’ll be covered under. Let’s take a look at some of the most common coverages you’ll see from motorcycle insurance providers. 

Bodily Injury Liability Coverage

Bodily injury liability coverage helps you cover the costs associated with injuring another person after you’re involved in a collision with another vehicle. Bodily injury liability coverage policies typically include a few different coverages:

  • Medical expenses: Your bodily injury liability coverage will help pay for the cost of emergency medical services and treatments for another driver or a 3rd-party passenger that you injure during a collision. It may also cover the cost of follow-up doctor’s visits and rehabilitative devices (like crutches or a wheelchair) that an injured party needs following a collision.
  • Lost wages and income: A serious accident could leave a driver in need of months of physical or occupational therapy before returning to work. Bodily injury liability insurance may provide coverage for these expenses another driver or passenger incurs after you’re involved with a collision with them.

A certain level of bodily injury liability coverage is required to operate a motorcycle in almost every state. The specific amount of coverage that you’ll need will vary depending on where you live. If you live in Alabama, for example, you must have $25,000 worth of bodily injury liability coverage per person and $50,000 per accident. However, drivers in California are only required to carry $15,000 worth of this coverage per person and $30,000 per accident. A local insurance representative can help you better understand your state’s unique requirements, so be sure to get a quote using your ZIP code before you invest in a policy.

Keep this in mind — your bodily injury coverage won’t extend to injuries and lost wages that you sustain yourself. This coverage only applies to other parties who you injure. Health insurance or medical payments coverage may help you cover your own medical expenses following a collision. 

Property Damage Liability Coverage

Property damage liability coverage is a type of insurance coverage that compensates parties for any damage that you cause to their property during a collision. This coverage might extend to the other driver’s bike, car, truck or another vehicle, or it can apply to 3rd parties not involved in the collision whose property is damaged as a result of your vehicle. Say your bike swerves off the road and damages a homeowner’s fencing, your personal property insurance would help the homeowner cover the cost of fencing repair.

Like bodily injury liability coverage, property damage liability coverage won’t help you cover the costs of repairing your own motorcycle following an accident. If you want coverage for structural damage to your own vehicle, consider purchasing a collision coverage policy.

Property damage liability coverage is a required form of auto insurance in almost every state. Minimum coverage levels vary by state. A local insurance representative offering policies in your area can help you understand your state’s unique requirements.  

Collision Coverage

Collision coverage is a type of motorcycle insurance that compensates you for damage done to your own vehicle during an accident. Collision coverage typically extends to include collisions involving other vehicles, stationary objects (like a tree or a fence) and single-vehicle accidents that involve your motorcycle rolling over. You can typically purchase collision coverage up to the actual cash value of your vehicle.

Unlike bodily injury liability coverage and property damage liability coverage, collision coverage isn’t required by law to operate a motorcycle. However, if you’re leasing or financing your bike, your agreement probably includes a clause that states that you must have at least a certain level of collision coverage as a term of your loan. Once your loan is paid off and you own your motorcycle in-full, you may choose to keep your collision coverage or cancel it.  

Comprehensive Coverage

Comprehensive coverage is a type of motorcycle insurance protection that compensates you if your bike is damaged outside of the context of an accident. Some common examples of damages covered under comprehensive coverage policies include:

  • Fire
  • Theft and vandalism
  • Civil disturbances
  • Hail and weather-related damages
  • Natural disasters
  • Falling objects (for example, a tree branch falling on your vehicle)
  • Collisions involving animals

Like collision coverage, comprehensive coverage isn’t required by law to operate a motorcycle. However, the company leasing or financing your vehicle might require you to maintain a certain level of comprehensive coverage until you’ve paid off your bike in full, at which point you can choose to cancel your payments as you’d like. 

Medical Payments Coverage

Medical payments coverage is a type of insurance policy that helps you cover your own medical expenses if you’re involved in a collision. Medical payments coverage is only available from select insurance providers and may be a required coverage depending on where you live.

Some examples of situations where your medical payments coverage might come into play include the following:

  • You’re injured when your motorcycle collides with another driver.
  • Your child is injured in an accident while riding with a family friend in their vehicle.
  • You’re injured in a crosswalk by an erratic driver when walking across the street.

Medical payments coverage works in conjunction with your health insurance to help you cover the cost of injuries you sustain in vehicle-related incidents. Unlike health insurance, medical payment coverages have no deductibles or coinsurance, and adding this coverage costs only a few extra dollars per month in most cases. This means that even if you already have health insurance, medical payment coverage can provide you with protection. 

Personal Injury Protection

Personal injury protection (PIP) is a type of coverage required in states that have instituted no-fault accident policies. A PIP policy may help cover:

  • Your medical bills following a collision, regardless of who caused the accident you were involved in
  • Lost wages if you’re unable to work following a collision
  • Substitute services if you’re unable to perform household chores following an injury resulting from an accident
  • Funeral expenses if you or someone you’re related to loses their life in a fatal accident

PIP is currently a legally-required coverage in 17 states and an optional coverage in 5 states along with the District of Columbia. 

Motorcycle Insurance Exclusions

Each type of motorcycle insurance plays a unique role in your policy’s coverages. You shouldn’t expect your insurance to cover anything beyond the specific inclusions laid out in your policy choices. If you only purchase your state’s minimum liability coverage, for example, don’t expect your insurance to compensate you if your vehicle is stolen. In the same way, if you purchase a comprehensive coverage policy but not a collision coverage policy, you’ll need to be prepared to foot your own repair bills following an accident. 

Motorcycle Insurance Cost

In 2020, the average cost of a motorcycle insurance policy is $1,173 per year, which equals about $98 per month. However, the specific price that you’ll pay for your coverage will vary depending on a range of factors. Some things that could influence the cost of your motorcycle insurance might include:

  • Your age: If you’re a younger driver, you have fewer years of experience on the road, which means that you’re statistically more likely to be involved in a collision. This increases the amount you pay for coverage. In states where it is against the law for insurance providers to consider your age when calculating premiums, the number of years of experience you have with a motorcycle license will play a role in determining your coverage rates.
  • The types of coverage you purchase: The more types of coverage you purchase for your ride, the more you’ll pay for your insurance policy. If you invest beyond the state-minimum requirement for your area, you’ll pay more per month for insurance.
  • Your driving record: Riders who have been involved in an accident before are at a higher risk of needing to file an additional claim in the future. If you have a collision on your record, you’ll pay more for coverage. If you have a DUI conviction on your driving record, expect to pay significantly more for your insurance.

Your ZIP code, the model of your motorcycle and any riding groups you’re involved with may also play a role in determining your coverage rates.   

Best Motorcycle Insurance Providers

Now that you understand the many types of motorcycle insurance, it’s time to start comparing coverage choices. Explore a few of our favorite motorcycle insurance providers below.   

Riding Off with Great Coverage

Getting the motorcycle insurance you need doesn’t have to be difficult. Start by collecting a few custom quotes from our favorite insurance companies listed above and to review your coverage options often. You never know how much you could be saving until you see what’s out there. 

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.