What Is Motorcycle Insurance? A Complete Guide

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Contributor, Benzinga
December 29, 2023

With all of life’s unpredictable moments, having the right insurance will go a long way toward preserving your peace of mind. You want to ensure you are protected with insurance for your life, home and vehicle. Say you tend to be a little more adventurous and you decide to drive a motorcycle. Here is another example of purchasing the best-suited insurance for you. If this is your first time buying protection, you might be wondering, “What is motorcycle insurance?”

In the details to follow, you will be introduced to all the motorcycle insurance options out there. Your motorcycle is a precious commodity so having the essential coverages before you hit the road is crucial. Otherwise you might find yourself running into some problems.

What Is Motorcycle Insurance?

To answer the initial question — what is motorcycle insurance — the answer is simple. The best motorcycle insurance ultimately protects you, your bike and other people on the road. It is a method of coverage with similarities to auto insurance. The only way to differentiate between the two is the types of coverage options you can get.

When you purchase motorcycle insurance you will be responsible for paying a monthly or annual premium to keep your insurance policy active. Should you ever have to file a claim, you will have to pay a deductible toward the covered loss before your insurance company reimburses you.

What Does Motorcycle Insurance Cover?

Now that it has been explained what motorcycle insurance is, there are other questions you may still have as it pertains to what it covers. If you compare motorcycle insurance to auto insurance you will see that they both offer essentially the same protection. The main coverage options you will get with a full motorcycle insurance policy are:

  • Liability coverage: If you were to cause an accident that resulted in injuries or damage to another person’s property, motorcycle liability coverage pays all of the other driver’s losses and covers expenses for your legal defense if you get sued.
  • Collision coverage: Under this form of protection you will get reimbursed for the cost of your bike’s repairs if you are involved in an accident. 
  • Comprehensive coverage: If your bike is damaged in a nonaccident-related incident, this motorbike insurance coverage will pay the costs for repairs to your bike or a new one if it is stolen.
  • Medical payments coverage: All medical expenses between you and the other driver are covered if one or both of you is injured in the motorcycle accident. 
  • Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage: If you are involved in an accident with someone who doesn’t have insurance — or not enough insurance — your losses are covered in full.

Important Motorcycle Insurance Terms To Know:

Another important aspect of finding the right motorcycle insurance for you is to learn and understand certain terms. This may help you save some money, which is always ideal. As you read further all the key terms are explained in detail.

What is a Premium?

The amount of money an individual or business is required to pay for an insurance policy is known as a premium. Premiums are paid for policies that cover a variety of different forms of insurance. A failure to pay the premium has the potential to result in the cancellation of the policy, resulting in loss of coverage.

Riding motorcycles in some states is a privilege. If specific regulations associated with each state are not adhered to, you run the risk of losing your ability to ride a motorcycle. Be sure to check out your state’s guidelines when it comes to motorcycle insurance.

What is a Deductible?

A deductible is the amount of money the insured needs to pay before the insurance company pays for a claim.

For example, say you were to damage your bike in a covered accident, and it costs $5,000 for repairs. If you have a $500 deductible, that is what will be subtracted from the amount you are reimbursed for your claim. Your policy will then cover the remaining $4,500.

What is Liability?

For each motorcycle liability insurance policy there are three main parts: bodily injury for one person, bodily injury for all individuals involved and property damage. Every one of those elements has a limit that depends on the type of coverage you select.

Some examples might be if you were to run a red light and hit the side of a car with your motorcycle, causing damage to the door, or if the driver of the other car is taken to the hospital, the costs of the transport and medical bills would be covered.

What Are Medical Expenses in Insurance?

Just as the name sounds, this type of insurance helps cover medical-related expenses sustained from a motorcycle accident, regardless of whether or not you are at fault. However, it does not cover medical costs to treat injuries to others that you may have caused while riding your bike. These expenses are separate and paid for by motorcycle bodily injury liability insurance.

Types of Motorcycle Insurance Coverage

Operating a motorcycle can be quite fun, but it also comes with a heavy responsibility. Depending on the state in which you reside, there may or may not be state laws that mandate you to carry motorcycle insurance. The state minimum requirements are listed below.

Liability Coverage

Your most common type of motorcycle insurance policy covers at least some portion of the costs associated with damages to your bike. It also compensates for any harm to another person or property. This is known as bodily injury and property damage liability.

Best for: 

  • All motorcycle drivers, especially residents of 47 states where it is mandated

What it Covers: 

  • Other driver’s injuries
  • Other driver’s property damages

What It Doesn’t Cover:

  • The rider
  • The motorcycle

Motorcycle Collision Coverage

This type of coverage option helps pay for repairs to your motorcycle after an accident. The collision coverage will pay only up to the current cash value of your bike after you have paid your deductible.

Best for: 

  • All motorcycle drivers, although optional, collision coverage can help out financially

What it Covers: 

  • Physical damage to your motorcycle

What it Doesn’t Cover:

  • Weather-related damages 
  • Theft 
  • Vandalism 
  • Fires
  • Accidents involving animals

Comprehensive or Full-coverage Motorcycle Coverage

Comprehensive is also referred to as “other than collision” coverage. Similar to car insurance, comprehensive protection utilizes deductibles from a claims payout. Deductibles vary among different motorcycle insurance companies but generally range from $250-$1,000.

Best for: 

  • All motorcycle drivers

What it Covers: 

  • Weather-related damages
  • Theft
  • Vandalism
  • Fires
  • Accidents involving animals

What it Doesn’t Cover:

  • Collision-related damages resulting from an accident

Mile-by-mile or Seasonal Motorcycle Coverage

Seasonal or mile-by-mile insurance provides protection for the time in which you drive your bike and then suspends coverage for the time you aren’t riding.

Best for: 

  • All motorcycle drivers or those who prefer to drive during a certain season

What it covers: 

  • Vandalism
  • Theft
  • Damages incurred while stored

What it doesn’t cover:

  • Damage to other properties or individuals (liabilities)

Motorcycle Parts/Custom Parts Coverage

Under this policy, costs to repair or replace aftermarket additions to your motorcycle if damaged or destroyed in a cover loss are protected.

Best for: 

  • All motorcycle drivers

What it Covers: 

  • Reimburses you for a covered claim based on the parts’ actual cash value

What it Ddoesn’t Cover:

  • Injuries or property damage

Classic Motorcycle Coverage

With classic bike insurance coverage you are typically protected for any motorcycle that is 20 years or older.

Best for: 

  • All motorcycle drivers and those who showcase their classic motorcycles

What it Covers: 

  • Collisions
  • Mechanical breakdown
  • Other types of accidents

What it Doesn’t Cover:

  • Injuries
  • Property damage

Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage

This insurance helps cover your medical expenses and the cost to repair or replace your motorcycle if you are hit by a driver who is either uninsured or underinsured.

Best for: 

  • All motorcycle drivers

What it Covers: 

  • Injuries for people protected under your policy
  • Lost income
  • Pain and suffering
  • Bodily injury

What it Doesn’t Cover:

  • Property damage

Factors That Affect the Cost of Your Coverage

Always take into consideration that there are elements that can affect your motorcycle insurance costs. Companies take into account your age, experience, history and the type of motorcycle to assist in determining what your rate will be. If you are curious about the price you are expected to pay, reach out to a few different motorcycle insurance companies for further information. You can compare motorbike insurance quotes and rates to help you save money. Some agencies may also offer the ability for you to customize your protection.

How To Get Cheap Motorcycle Insurance

Getting a reasonable value for your money on motorcycle insurance is important, but a cheap policy might not cover everything you expect. Ways you can save money on motorcycle insurance include:

  • Choosing a smaller, older or less expensive bike
  • Avoiding refurbished or unusual motorcycles
  • Limiting your mileage
  • Paying annually
  • Improving security for your bike
  • Parking in a safe area
  • Considering who rides your bike
  • Only paying for what you need or want

The possibilities are endless if you are looking for ways to obtain cheap motorcycle insurance. Don’t forget to compare quotes and rates, too. Keep your eyes and ears open because you might be surprised by what you find.

Compare Motorcycle Insurance Quotes

Protect Your Bike With the Right Moto Coverage

When you are looking for the best protection for you and your motorcycle, should you ever find yourself involved in an accident, you want to start with finding the right policy for you and your goals. If you are new to the insurance process, know that you can always ask a representative to explain what motorcycle insurance is. The main objective should be to have all the coverage you need for any type of situation that may impact your motorcycle. Don’t put it on the back burner. Take a proactive approach to buying motorcycle insurance. It could prevent you from paying dearly.

Frequently Asked Questions


Is motorcycle insurance required by law?


Motorcycle insurance is mandatory in 47 states. Florida, Montana and Washington do not require motorcycle insurance for drivers, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not a good idea to invest. Always ensure your safety and protection — you don’t want to be in a situation where insurance would help your case, but you neglected to purchase it.  



Do I need motorcycle insurance when my bike is in storage?


It is highly suggested that you purchase motorcycle insurance even if your bike is in storage. Even though a bike in storage may seem safe and sound, it isn’t always the case. Your bike is still susceptible to theft, vandalism, fire and storm damage. There are many unexpected accidents that can occur, which is why, although not mandated, you should look to protect yourself and your bike even with it in storage.


What are the consequences of not having motorcycle insurance?

The consequences of not having motorcycle insurance can be significant. Firstly, without insurance, you are exposed to potential financial ruin in the event of an accident. If you are at fault in an accident, you may be held personally responsible for covering the cost of any damages or injuries, which can be exorbitant. Additionally, not having insurance can result in legal consequences, such as fines or the suspension of your driver’s license. It is also important to note that without insurance, you may face difficulties in obtaining medical treatment or repairing your vehicle, potentially leading to further complications.

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.