Owning and riding a motorcycle can be one of the most enjoyable, freeing experiences a gearhead can have. The open road, the community… it’s completely different from driving a car. However, even with all that freedom, you still have to follow the rules, and in most states, that means getting an insurance policy.
Motorcycle insurance is similar to car insurance, but with a few key differences. Despite those variations, the bottom line is the same: protecting your investment and your mode of transportation in case of a collision or another issue.
Quick Take: The Most Dangerous States For Motorcycle Riders
If you live in these states, you’ll definitely want some protection. We looked at data from the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) and the FHWA (Federal Highway Administration) to determine the most dangerous states to operate a motorcycle. This is based on fatalities per every 10,000 registered motorcycles in each state.
Mississippi took the top spot with 14.57 fatalities per 10,000 registered motorcycles. The top 10 states were as follows:
1. Mississippi – 14.57
2. South Carolina – 11.93
3. Texas – 11.40
4. Tennessee – 10.12
5. North Carolina – 10.11
6. Florida – 9.79
7. Hawaii – 9.55
8. Kentucky – 9.39
9. Arizona – 9.08
10. Missouri – 8.17
With a minimum of a dozen options for insuring your motorcycle, it can seem daunting to figure out which one to go with or even make sense of the offerings. Just make sure that the insurance provider you select has a strong reputation in the industry, including specifically among motorcycles. Remember that not all car insurance companies will have the same level of coverage available for motorcycles, so shopping around is crucial.
As with any other mode of transportation, you cannot legally hop on a motorcycle without having insurance (in most states). Almost every single state requires that you have a minimum of liability insurance. This will pay out damages or injuries to others in cases where you cause an accident. The minimum liability insurance for motorcycles and cars is almost always the same.
Only 2 states do not require motorcycle insurance, Florida and Washington (and it is HIGHLY advised to still get coverage in case of an accident or injury).
Exploring the Top Motorcycle Insurance Providers
Based on key factors, such as premiums, coverage, ratings, discounts, support, and reputation, here are some of our favorite motorcycle insurance providers.
Progressive is regularly among the top-ranked insurance companies for motorcycles thanks to its amazing coverage options and available discounts. Among the best parts of getting coverage via this provider is that all motorcycle policies include cost coverage for a full replacement without an additional charge. When replacement parts become necessary, you will be reimbursed the total loss amount, not the depreciated value.
Put even more simply, if you need to replace a component, Progressive will pay for a new one instead of giving you the amount your broken component was valued at. Most competitors reimburse based on depreciated amounts, and this difference can add up to significant savings while reducing out-of-pocket expenses. It is also important to note that Progressive only uses OEM parts for repairs, something most motorcycle owners strongly appreciate.
Other standard coverages from Progressive that we strongly appreciate include medical payments, collision and comprehensive coverage, underinsured and uninsured motorist coverage, and property damage and bodily injury liability coverage.
If you choose to get your motorcycle insurance via Progressive, you are also highly likely to qualify for a discount of some sort. Unsurprisingly, there are multivehicle and multipolicy discounts, so if you insure multiple vehicles with Progressive or have multiple types of insurance with the company, you will receive a discount. Safe drivers get discounts if they have not had an accident in three years. There are even discounts for getting the quote in advance, owning a home (even if you do not have Progressive home insurance), switching, paying in full, paying on time, and setting up automatic bill pay. Members of United Services Automobile Association or Harley Owners Group also get discounts.
Those with vintage or classic bikes should strongly consider Progressive for its “Agreed Value” option for the comprehensive and collision coverage. Instead of being limited by depreciation as with some insurers, this option from Progressive lets you insure the appraised value that you and Progressive agree on.
There should be no concern about Progressive’s ability to pay out your claims since the company is in good financial health and has a strong reputation. Keep in mind that its customer service ratings, as well as those for claims processing, are just average, not exceptional. However, there is 24/7 claim support, making the process simpler.
Markel American stands out among the various motorcycle insurance companies for its vast range of coverage. While the other providers on this list tend to focus on something else, Markel actually focuses on being a “specialty” insurer of motorcycles. In fact, Markel has specialized in this type of insurance for over four decades. Just a sampling of the motorcycles that you can cover with Markel includes sport bikes, mopeds, custom motorcycles, street bikes, cruisers, trikes, touring motorcycles, and big twins. That list is far from inclusive.
You get all the coverage you expect from a moto insurance company, such as liability, collision, comprehensive, MedPay, and uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance. There are also additional types of coverage that help make Markel American stand out. One of these is mechanical breakdown coverage, of which Markel is perhaps the only company to offer. This will help with repairs and replacing electronic components for your motorcycle. This is an add-on with an additional fee, but that is minimal compared to the savings, and most riders will appreciate that it is even offered.
Another great point in favor of Markel American is that it will reimburse you for rental expenses while you have repairs done to your motorcycle. This shows an understanding that many motorcycle riders use their vehicles as their main modes of transportation, not just as a fun extra at times. For those without an additional vehicle, this rental reimbursement can prove incredibly useful.
It is also worth noting that Markel tends to offer some of the lowest premiums among the various motorcycle insurance providers. Of course, whether that is true for you will depend on your driving record, bike, and other factors.
While Markel American has lower premiums in general, there are fewer discounts to choose from. You will not get a discount for owning a home, being part of a motorcycle association, or paying off the premium at the beginning of the policy, all of which most competitors do offer discounts for. Even without these discounts, Markel will be the most affordable insurer for many riders. Additionally, while Markel does have fewer discounts than the competition, it is not without its own offers. For example, safe riders get a deductible reduction of 25 percent for every year they are accident free, all the way down to a $0 deductible. There are also discounts for multiple units, renewals, antitheft alarms, antilock brakes, and safety courses.
The other thing to keep in mind if you do choose to go with Markel American is that it is a smaller insurance company. This means it simply does not have the resources to offer some of the same conveniences and customer tools as larger insurers. This means you will not find a Markel application online, and its website is not quite as user friendly as others on this list.
If you are a member of the U.S. military or someone in your family is, then you should also put USAA motorcycle insurance on your list of possibilities. This one is slightly different than the others on the list since you will not actually get the bike insurance directly from USAA. Instead, you will get it through Progressive. However, there are additional discounts and perks just for military members and their families.
To be eligible for USAA motorcycle insurance, you must be an active military member, a veteran, a family member of a military member, or a sailor or cadet at a service academy. If you qualify, you will be able to insure your motorcycle, as well as your scooter, moped, or ATV.
USAA also offers an extensive list of discounts that can help you save money on your monthly premiums. These include discounts for having multiple motorcycles, not making any claims, and completing a safety course. There is also an automatic 5 percent discount for being a USAA member. To add value to USAA motorcycle insurance, it includes 24-hour roadside assistance, ensuring that you will never be stranded somewhere without a functional motorcycle.
As USAA has been providing insurance coverage since the 1920s, it is easy to have faith in its ability to provide customer satisfaction and pay off claims. Because of the range of insurance options offered by USAA, such as auto, renter’s, homeowner’s, flood, condo, life, valuable personal property, and more, you can also easily take care of all your insurance needs from a single company for a streamlined and hassle-free experience.
Overall, USAA regularly receives strong reviews, both from customers and independent researchers. Consumer complaints remain at or below the industry average, and the customer satisfaction ratings are industry leading.
We appreciate that USAA offers more than just motorcycle insurance; it also offers loans and financing. This can make the entire process of buying and insuring a bike significantly easier since you will not have to make multiple stops or deal with several agencies. USAA even offers as much as 100 percent loan financing on motorcycles, letting you make the most of this benefit in thanks for your service.
USAA also ranks high in terms of ease of use since you can use both its website and mobile application. The mobile app is particularly useful. It lets you file claims and submit damage photos, then track your claim status.
Those who prioritize low premiums should take a long look at Safeco. Just keep in mind that it is not ideal for those with specialty bikes. Assuming you do not have a collector or specialty bike, Safeco motorcycle insurance will provide multiple opportunities for discounts, a generous roadside assistance program, and comprehensive coverage.
Safeco offers nearly all the major discounts you could possibly want, along with a mature rider discount. This is a feature that you will not find with most other motorcycle insurers, and it can come in handy for those with riding experience.
The coverage from Safeco is certainly comprehensive. This includes $1,000 coverage for replacement safety gear without a deductible with all liability coverage. As such, you can automatically buy new safety gear following an accident. It also offers numerous add-ons that demonstrate this insurer knows what motorcycle owners want. Add-ons include roadside assistance, guest passenger liability, and total loss replacement.
It is not surprising that Safeco offers roadside assistance since most insurers have this an option. However, Safeco’s offering stands out thanks to being bundled with towing coverage and trip interruption coverage. That way, you will not have to worry about anything if you need to take advantage of the service.
As mentioned, you will probably want to skip insurance with Safeco if you have a specialty bike. This is because there is no agreed value coverage, something that is not ideal for antique or vintage motorcycles. The coverage is also not for the original manufacturer parts, something most specialty bike owners require. If you have only minor customizations and not a specialty bike, Safeco should remain in the running since there is $3,000 of coverage for your custom accessories on comprehensive and collision coverage.
You should also keep in mind that you cannot get a quote for your motorcycle insurance online with Safeco. Instead, you will need to actually talk to an agent on the phone to get a personalized quote. While the rates are competitive, this does make comparison shopping more challenging and time-consuming.
Foremost is another excellent choice for motorcycle insurance, particularly if you have a vintage or custom bike. This reputation is mostly due to the high automatic coverage for your aftermarket equipment, $3,500. Other insurance companies tend to fall at least $500 behind this, if not more. There is also the option to increase custom equipment coverage limits up to $15,000, making this a nice option for those who have heavily customized autos.
To make this coverage even better, Foremost also provides coverage for your safety apparel. This covers apparel like goggles, helmets, and more, and it takes care of up to $1,500.
The claims process for Foremost is relatively straightforward, as well, and it has more than 14,000 representatives across its various insurance policies. This allows you to bundle insurance policies together for convenience. Foremost has also developed a reputation as a high-risk insurer, offering policies to those who could not otherwise get coverage. This makes it more likely that each individual who applies for insurance with the company will be approved and be able to get a policy.
We appreciate the multiple methods of contacting Foremost for claims, such as 24/7 toll-free calls and online reporting. The live chat is particularly nice for those who prefer not to be stuck to a phone while waiting or like to have a transcript of their conversation with a representative.
One thing to keep in mind is that there are not as many reviews for Foremost or as much information about it from third-party websites as other insurers. Instead, you can get a feel for its reputation as a whole by looking at information regarding Farmers, as the two are in an affiliate relationship.
Some might be put off by the relatively limited independent information about Foremost compared to the competition. However, you can take comfort in the fact that the company has been part of Farmers Insurance Group since 2000. Before that, the insurance company began in 1952, giving it over six decades of experience in the industry.
As you explore the various offerings for motorcycle insurance, you will notice that there are several main types of coverage available, in addition to the legally required liability insurance. Nearly every insurer will offer collision, comprehensive, and personal injury protection insurance, along with MedPay.
Collision insurance pays for damage done to your motorcycle, with you just paying the deductible out of pocket.
Comprehensive insurance also includes a deductible and covers damaged or stolen motorcycles when the damage is not a collision that involves another vehicle. This typically includes animal collisions.
Personal injury protection will typically pay for medical bills related to injuries that you, pedestrians, or passengers suffer during an accident, regardless of who caused the accident. This type of insurance coverage varies by state, both in terms of rules and availability. Certain states do not actually allow personal injury protection since motorcycles are associated with a higher rate of accidents.
MedPay, or medical payment coverage, is similar but not available in every state. This will cover medical bills of you and your passenger following an accident. This will not cover additional costs, like lost wages, which personal injury protection generally does. If your state offers it, you should consider MedPay insurance if your health insurance is not very good or if you do not have coverage.
In addition to the basic types of motorcycle insurance, many insurers offer add-on choices, although you can also find companies that include some of these elements within their regular policies. Trip interruption coverage takes care of transportation, food, and lodging in case of your motorcycle becoming unfunctional following a collision when you are a certain distance from home. The minimum distance for this policy to activate is typically 100 miles. There is also underinsured and uninsured motorist coverage, which protects you if someone who does not have insurance or has insufficient insurance causes an accident that damages your bike.
You might also get roadside assistance as part of your motorbike insurance, which would include labor and towing at the location of a breakdown. Transport trailer coverage could cover trailers worth as much as $7,500. In most instances, your regular motorcycle insurance will include some coverage for custom accessories and parts. Although the amount varies, the average is around $3,000. If you have heavily customized your bike, you can supplement this with coverage for custom equipment, typically up to $30,000, although each insurer has its own limits.
Obviously, there is a large number of similarities between insuring a car and a motorcycle. Both are modes of transportation, have legal requirements for liability insurance, and offer similar types of insurance. The variations in insurance stem from the fact that the experience of driving each type of vehicle is incredibly different.
To start off, while almost every area of the country requires liability insurance for motorcycle insurance, there is still a handful of exceptions, but car liability insurance is required across the country. As of about a year ago, Florida did not require motorcycle insurance for those with clean driving records and Montana and Washington did not require any insurance.
Going back to the types of coverage mentioned earlier, those living in no-fault states get coverage for personal injuries via their own car insurance, whether they caused the accident. However, motorcycles tend to be exempt from these no-fault laws, meaning that you will not be covered if you or your passenger gets injured and you are to blame. Even if the other driver is to blame in a no-fault state, it might be a time-consuming and expensive process to get their insurance to cover it.
Because of this, motorcycle drivers must confirm whether they are in no-fault states and then be sure to add personal injury insurance or its equivalent to protect themselves. In fact, it is sometimes possible for an injured passenger on your motorcycle to sue you for injuries following an accident, something that is not as simple with car accidents. You can protect against this with guest passenger liability insurance coverage.
Another significant difference that you will likely notice as soon as you start shopping for motorcycle insurance is that this type of coverage costs more than that for cars. This might come as a surprise considering motorbikes are worth less than cars on average. While that is true, the higher premiums for moto insurance are due to the riskier nature of riding these vehicles. Both the risk of injury and of death while riding a motorcycle are much higher than for those driving or riding in a car.
Of course, like car insurance, motorcycle insurance can vary greatly in cost depending on your driving history and other factors. Riding a new, expensive bike with no experience can lead to premiums totaling several thousand dollars a year. At the same time, if you have a long driving record without accidents and an affordable bike, you might only have to pay a few hundred each year.
While motorcycle insurance tends to be more expensive than auto insurance, there is a way to make up for this: seasonal coverage. Depending on where you live, you might be able to get seasonal motorcycle insurance or a lay-up policy. This type of policy specifically appeals to those in northern states where the weather turns too harsh to comfortably ride a motorcycle for part of the year. Seasonal or lay-up policies will suspend the majority of insurance during these winter months when your bike is not in use. You will keep comprehensive coverage, so your bike is protected from vandalism, theft, or fire.
It is also worth mentioning that in addition to motorcycle insurance, some automotive insurance companies offer motorcycle endorsement, although this is not available in every state. Instead of a separate policy from your automotive coverage, this is considered an add-on that extends the car insurance to your motorcycle, as well. An endorsement is a good option if you want simplicity since your bike and car will be on the same policy, making it easy to pay bills.
However, there are downsides for this convenience. There is almost no flexibility in terms of the coverage for your motorcycle if you get an endorsement instead of a separate insurance policy. You will only be able to get the same coverage for your bike as your car. By contrast, motorcycle insurance is highly customizable with all the types of coverage mentioned above. Most drivers will want to go with motorcycle insurance instead of endorsements for this customization, including the ability to choose limits, deductibles, and coverage.
When selecting the right motorcycle insurance company, you will need to consider the types of coverage, premiums, customer service, reputation, and the process for making claims, among other factors. Taking a closer look at each consideration can give you the insight you need to decide which coverage to choose.
Start by considering the premiums for each insurance company since you do not want to select coverage that you cannot realistically afford. Remember that the specific rate you get will depend on your age, driving history, and location and the type and age of your motorcycle. Do not forget to look at coverage at the same time as premiums. After all, it makes sense to spend a bit more for better coverage. When exploring motorcycle insurance premiums, see whether you are eligible for any discounts. Certain companies might offer this sort of benefit for those with cleaning driving history or those who have served the country in the military.
It is also worth exploring if you can find a motorcycle insurer that offers a discount for insuring multiple bikes, assuming you have more than one. Some of the larger insurance companies could offer discounts if you get multiple types of coverage from them, such as your homeowner and motorcycle insurance. Or perhaps your current car insurance company will give you a discount on the normal price if you add a motorcycle to your coverage. Other discounts to look for include those for longtime riders, mature riders, members of motorcycle riders’ organizations, and those who have completed training courses. You might also be able to reduce the premium by leaving your motorbike in a secure location, like a locked garage, or adding an alarm or another security system.
Keep in mind that premiums and coverage go hand in hand when it comes to motorcycle insurance. Because of that, when you look at the cost of insurance, this is the perfect time to also consider what that premium includes. Certain companies will bundle more types of coverage together in their standard package, have a higher limit, or have a lower deductible, and they offset this by charging a bit more. Generally speaking, the more types of coverage offered by a company, the better a choice it will be for your motorcycle insurance. At the very least, ensure that your chosen motorcycle insurer offers the type of coverage you want, whether it comes standard or is offered as an add-on. Some companies advertise “full coverage,” but the exact definition of this can vary. Do not assume that “full coverage” takes care of every situation, and be sure to ask what specific types of moto insurance it includes.
Before you get too far along in your decision-making process, confirm that the motorcycle insurance companies you consider have a strong reputation. You want to choose a reliable company that has strongly positive reviews and customers who are satisfied with the claim settling process. With the internet at your fingertips, this is as simple as an online search for the company name followed by “reviews.” During this process, you will likely notice a handful of complaints. Even the best insurers will have the occasional complaint; just confirm that there are more satisfied customers than dissatisfied ones. Also look for complaints with follow-ups so you can see how your potential insurer handles complaints.
Before you select which motorcycle insurance company to go with, you should also evaluate the process of filing claims. You already read reviews of whether the process seems straightforward, but you might not feel the same as other customers. Be sure that you understand what options there are for initiating claims, the processing time, and how the company responds. The best insurance companies will offer multiple options to start claims, such as over the phone, an online form, or a form sent via snail mail.
This is also when you should take a closer look at the customer service offered by the motorcycle insurer. Reviews should give you a general idea of customer satisfaction with support, but you should also consider doing some in-depth research. At the very least, go to the company’s website to check what contact methods are available and during which hours. If you are the type of person who prefers in-person interactions, you might want to limit your search to companies with agents in physical offices near you.
When it comes to motorcycles, Harley Davidson is THE name in the United States. The company has been creating premium “hogs” since 1903. Check out the evolution Harley Davidson motorcycles in the animated GIF below.