Best Motorcycle Insurance

This article includes links which we may receive compensation for if you click, at no cost to you.

I won’t carry on about the thrill of the open road because bikers already know all about that. They live this freedom every time they go out riding.

I do want to talk about the other side of the equation — the financial risk you take every time you ride your motorcycle.

If you had a wreck, your financial freedom could take a punch to the gut. You have a lot to lose: your health, the value of your bike, your wallet if you’re found liable for someone else’s vehicle damage, or bodily injury.

In short: You need the right motorcycle insurance to protect your financial freedom.

9 Best Motorcycle Insurance Companies

  1. 🏆 Progressive: Best for Everyday Riders
  2. Geico: Best for Low Premiums
  3. Dairyland: Best for High-Risk Riders
  4. Harley-Davidson: Best for First-Time Owners
  5. Allstate: Best for Young Motorcycle Drivers
  6. Markel: Best for Safe Riders
  7. USAA: Best for Military Members
  8. Foremost: Best for Vintage Motorcycles
  9. Safeco: Best for Multiple Discounts

Progressive

If your motorcycle is your primary mode of transportation, Progressive could save you the most money on comprehensive and collision coverage.

Progressive’s premiums vary a lot from state to state. Even if Progressive doesn’t offer the lowest price in your state, you could still get more value for your money because of Progressive’s built-in perks, which include $3,000 extra to pay for custom parts to repair wreck damage.

I don’t recommend Progressive for homeowners coverage, so if you’d like to bundle multiple policies to save on premiums, I’d suggest looking elsewhere.

But if you want discount coverage for your bike and you’re an everyday rider, Progressive is top-notch.

Pros:

  • Deep discounts available
  • Robust comprehensive & collision coverage
  • Easy access to coverage online & via app
  • M. Best rating of A+

Cons:

  • Premiums vary widely by state
  • Not a good option for bundling

Next Steps:

Geico

Geico has earned A.M. Best’s highest rating of A++, and it may have the lowest premiums in your state. This insurer can almost always offer a lower price for your motorcycle coverage.

For best results, shop online. Geico is building a network of agents around the country, but if you want in-person customer service, Allstate or State Farm can still do it better.

But if you want simple, every-day coverage for a low price — and you have a clean driving record — Geico is hard to beat on price.

Customer service is another matter. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners rates Geico only slightly better than average for customer complaints.

Pros:

  • Great rates across the country
  • Coverage for scooters, mopeds — just about any street-legal vehicle
  • Great for online shoppers
  • A++ rated insurer (A.M. Best)

Cons:

  • In-person customer service is inconsistent
  • About average rate of complaints

Next Steps:

Dairyland Insurance

These people specialize in insuring motorcycles. If you’re a seasonal rider or an occasional rider, you can buy coverage to match, which means you won’t pay the highest rates when your bike is in storage.

This flexibility is nice for any rider, but it’s a must if you’re a high-risk driver who needs SR-22 coverage. SR-22 coverage costs a lot more than standard coverage, but Dairyland’s flexible payment options can soften the financial blow.

Over the past few years, Dairyland has modernized its customer service department. You can buy and manage your policy online or through the company’s app.

The insurer’s underwriter, Sentry Insurance, has an A+ rating from A.M. Best and the BBB.

Pros:

  • Motorcycle coverage specialists
  • SR-22 coverage has flexibility
  • A+ rating from A.M. Best

Cons:

  • Won’t be the cheapest option for everyday riders
  • Not available in Louisiana, Hawaii, California, New Jersey, Oklahoma, or in D.C.

Next Steps:

Harley-Davidson

Whether you ride a Harley or another brand, Harley-Davidson’s motorcycle insurance could provide the coverage you need.

To get started, stop by a Harley dealership or get a quote online. This coverage is underwritten by Sentry Insurance, the same provider behind Dairyland’s motorcycle policies.

Harley-Davidson’s policies work especially well for new riders because this coverage comes with accident forgiveness and extended coverages for theft and damage protection. New Harley owners can earn points to buy new gear.

There’s no app, so you’d have to manage your policy online, over the phone, by mail, or in person.

Pros:

  • Accident-forgiveness comes standard
  • Coverage add-ons designed for new riders
  • A+ rated underwriter (Sentry)

Cons:

  • No mobile app
  • Not available in D.C., Alaska, or Hawaii
  • Some perks designed for Harley owners

Next Steps:

Allstate

If you want motorcycle coverage that’s simple, solid, and easy to access, Allstate can provide it today.

You’ll get the best in apps and online customer service — both before and after you buy your policy — or you could work with a licensed agent in your neighborhood.

Allstate sells homeowners and auto insurance policies so you could save on all three when you bundle your bike coverage.

Allstate also sets a high standard with its first accident forgiveness, which means your premiums won’t spike after just one accident. And if you don’t have a wreck for five years, you’ll be eligible for a 10% discount on your premiums.

Pros:

  • Available in all 50 states
  • M. Best rating of A+
  • Good for in-person & online access

Cons:

  • Not great for vintage bikes
  • Not as many discounts as other leading carriers

Next Steps:

Markel

This motorcycle-specific insurer shines — if you don’t mind paying a higher premium for more robust coverage options.

For example, you could opt in to an extra $30,000 in coverage which gives custom bike owners a way to protect their investments.

And, like Geico, Markel covers just about any kind of street-legal vehicle, from dirt bikes to touring bikes to ATVs. A Markel policy could cover your trailer or sidecar, too.

Most of Markel’s discounts derive from safety features and safe driving. Speaking of which, going year after year without a claim can diminish your deductible. This could save a lot of money out of pocket if you did eventually need to file a claim.

You won’t find new mobile apps with Markel, but the company’s web site now has ways to manage your policy and file a claim.

Pros:

  • Motorcycle coverage specialist
  • Great for claims-free riders and safe drivers
  • Good for vintage bike owners
  • A rated insurer

Cons:

  • No policies in North Carolina or Massachusetts
  • Online tools lacking

USAA

If you’re a veteran or on active duty, you may already be a USAA member. This association for military families sells insurance policies and operates as a bank and broker. USAA has solid motorcycle insurance policies, too.

Unless you have military connections, you won’t be able to join. I’m listing USAA just in case a vet or currently serving member of the armed forces is reading and needs bike coverage.

USAA members can get annual policies, cost-sharing benefits, safe-rider discounts, multi-policy discounts — and top-notch coverage and customer service. USAA is also a pioneer in online coverage.

Pros:

  • Award-winning customer service
  • Cost-sharing programs for members
  • Nice apps and on-phone customer service
  • A++ (highest rating) with A.M. Best

Cons:

  • For military members only

Next Steps:

Foremost

Bikers who are serious about protecting a vintage or restored bike should look into Foremost motorcycle insurance.

You could buy up to $15,000 in extra coverage to provide authentic period parts after a wreck if you own a bike worth $30,000 or older than 25 years old.

Even on a newer, more standard bike, you could get up to $3,500 in coverage for replacement parts — a generous provision for bikers who want to keep their equipment authentic after a wreck.

Foremost is particular about who it insures. If you have some moving violations or at-fault wrecks on your record, Foremost may deny your application.

Pros:

  • Underwritten by Farmers Insurance (A+ A.M. Best)
  • The standard for vintage bike owners
  • Nice add-ons such as helmet coverage and trip reimbursement

Cons:

  • Doesn’t insure high-risk riders
  • Policies vary by state
  • Not available in Massachusetts or Hawaii

Safeco

Safeco is part of Liberty Mutual, the well-known auto and home insurer. Like Liberty Mutual, Safeco provides a lot of discount possibilities for policyholders. Stack up enough discounts and you’ll lower your premiums.

But there’s more to this company than discounts. I like Safeco’s extra features, which include a $20,000 boost in coverage for custom equipment damage and replacement cost coverage for Harleys less than 2 years old.

Safeco also has good roadside assistance and travel insurance add-on.

Now, about those discounts: Some drivers can save up to 40% if they qualify for enough discounts simultaneously. Discounts are available if you have: garage storage, safety equipment, anti-theft devices, riding club memberships, homeownership, a paid-up-front policy, loyalty, and a claims-free history, among several other qualifiers.

Pros:

  • Stackable discounts can save
  • Nice add-ons
  • A-rated insurer

Cons:

  • No coverage for racing bikes
  • Complaint ratio slightly higher than average

How Much Does Motorcycle Insurance Cost?

The average motorcycle owner, nationwide, pays about $700 a year for motorcycle insurance coverage. But this number can be misleading because your location makes a huge difference in your premiums.

Bikers in North Carolina average about $1,100 a year while bikers in North Dakota pay more like $400 a year.

Why these huge discrepancies? Because state laws mandate how much and what kind of coverage you have to buy.

For the most part, these laws protect other motorists on the highway in case you cause a wreck. But what about protecting yourself — your health and your own investment? The state minimum liability protection won’t be enough.

Only your collision and comprehensive coverage — which is separate from the liability coverage required by law — will protect your motorcycle investment.

So before buying a policy, determine your own coverage needs and shop for motorcycle insurance products with your own investment and safety in mind.

Your insurance policy should reflect your unique needs.

How Does Motorcycle Insurance Work?

Insurance providers charge a single premium for your motorcycle insurance coverage, but your policy actually includes several different types of coverage, some coverage types protect your own ride and health; others protect other motorists.

Details about these different types of coverage will make a huge difference to your cost of coverage and the way your policy performs when you need it.

The different coverages include:

  • Liability Insurance: If you caused a wreck, this coverage pays the other driver and other passengers. Property damage liability fixes other vehicles damaged in the wreck; bodily injury liability pays medical bills for the other driver and his or her passengers.
  • Collision Coverage: Pays to repair your bike if you cause the collision. If you’re not at fault, the at-fault driver’s liability coverage should pay for your repairs or replacement costs. Many lenders require you to keep this coverage until you get the bike paid off.
  • Comprehensive Coverage: Pays you if someone steals your motorcycle or it gets damaged by vandalism or a storm. Many lenders want you to have this coverage until you pay off the loan.
  • Medical Payments / Personal Injury Protection: This coverage can pay your medical bills after a wreck no matter who’s at fault in the collision.
  • Uninsured / Underinsured Motorist Coverage: Kicks in if you get struck by a driver who does not have adequate liability coverage to protect you.

Extra Coverage Features

You could categorize components of motorcycle insurance as necessary vs. add on.

Every state except Florida and New Hampshire requires bikers to buy liability insurance. You should have enough liability to cover your assets no matter where you live.

Your lienholder may require collision and/or comprehensive coverages. If not, you should still consider buying this coverage to protect your own investment.

Medical Payments and Uninsured / Underinsured Motorist Coverage is required in some states. They’re a good idea, especially if you don’t have good health insurance.

The following policy components are optional for most bikers; depending on your ride, you may want them:

  • Roadside Assistance: Call for help if you get stranded if you subscribe to your insurance company’s roadside assistance program. Most programs pay for towing.
  • Trip Interruption: If a wreck or mechanical problem delays your trip, get reimbursed for part of your losses.
  • Equipment Coverage: Some auto insurance companies cover your helmet or safety apparel along with your bike. As you know, this kind of gear costs a lot.
  • Rental Reimbursements: If you need a different way to get around after a wreck, this coverage could reimburse you for a rented vehicle.
  • Accessory Coverage: Modifications like a windshield, saddlebags, a mounted GPS device, or a luggage rack likely wouldn’t be covered by your collision or comprehensive coverages. Additional accessory coverage could help.​​
  • OEM Endorsement: Repairs made with original parts often cost more, especially for a vintage bike. An OEM (original equipment manufacturer) endorsement on your policy sets aside money for OEM repairs.
  • Guest Passenger Liability: In some states, your guest passenger wouldn’t be covered by your liability insurance. You’d need guest passenger liability to provide this protection.

In most cases, these optional coverages will drive up your insurance rate, but not always. Progressive, for example, includes $3,000 in OEM repairs.

How Can I Save Money on Motorcycle Insurance Coverage?

Motorcycle insurance discounts can lower the cost of your coverage. Almost every insurer lets you claim discounts for safe driving or for bundling policies with your home or car insurance.

Be sure to ask about other ways to save on your premiums. Many insurers have motorcycle safety courses that can lower your cost of coverage. Safety courses save you money on premiums because you’re statistically less likely to have a wreck.

Ultimately, the best motorcycle insurance companies — like just about any kind of property insurance — assess your risk of filing a claim and assigns premiums accordingly.

With bike and car insurance, wrecks lead to claims. So safer driving will almost always lead to lower premiums.

Other Factors Affecting Your Premiums:

  • Your Bike: Faster, more powerful bikes tend to cost more to insure. The same is true for sportbikes and racing bikes.
  • Your Driving History: Motorcycle riders with a long history of filing claims will almost always pay higher premiums.
  • Your Insurance Company: Get at least three motorcycle insurance quotes before buying a policy. You just never know which company may be running low premiums in your area right now. Online quotes make getting multiple prices a lot easier.
  • Your Coverage Choices: Get just enough coverage — not too much and not too little. Look for layup coverage if you store your bike during the winter. Layup coverage discounts your premiums significantly when you’re not on the road. You may need extra comprehensive on a racing bike or touring bike with lots of amenities.
  • Your Credit Score: Most states let insurers use your credit score to assess your risk of filing a claim. Insurance underwriters know people with lower credit scores tend to file more claims. Each time your score improves, let your insurance agent know.
  • Your Age and Experience: This is a huge factor. If you’re younger than 25, expect to pay inflated premiums. The longer you go without a wreck, the more you’ll save.

Do I Have to Have Motorcycle Insurance?

Each state except Florida and New Hampshire requires motorcyclists to buy liability coverage. Without proof of liability insurance, you can’t even get your bike licensed and registered.

No matter where you live, you should buy enough liability protection to cover your assets just in case you get sued and a court finds you liable for someone’s losses or bodily injury. If your insurance couldn’t cover the cost, a judge could order your assets be sold to pay the debt.

Collision and comprehensive coverage protect the money you’ve invested in your own bike. These coverage options are a must unless you really have no desire to protect your investment — or if you could replace your bike yourself without any financial strain or sacrifice.

We all tend to think of car insurance — and bike insurance, by extension — as a necessary evil. Paying premiums can seem like they’re putting a huge dent in your financial flexibility.

But compared to the losses you’d face after a wreck, your premiums are a pretty good deal. Your insurance coverage could make life so much easier if you needed to file a claim.

Shopping Around Saves Money

Most shoppers get less than three motorcycle insurance quotes before buying coverage. I recommend getting four or five quotes — maybe more.

I’ve talked with several independent insurance agents who all tell me the same thing: You never know which carrier will undercut the market and offer you a lower insurance rate.

Just like with any other product, motorcycle insurance responds to market forces. A regional or national insurer may be expanding into your area and want to attract more customers. Or an established company may want to grow its share of the market.

How do they do this? By lowering their prices.

Unless you get a quote from that company, you’ll never know how much you could have saved. As you compare different insurers, make sure you’re comparing the same coverage options with each company.

And your cost comparisons don’t have to stop once you’ve bought a policy. Every six months your coverage renews. This gives you a great opportunity to compare prices again.

Your own customer satisfaction is important. If you’re happy with your coverage, you may be willing to pay $10 extra a month to keep it. But if you’re looking for the lowest premiums, shopping around is a must.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

In This Article