If you're looking to buy motorcycle insurance, there are some key points that you need to know. You can get very good coverage on motorcycle insurance for a very good rate as long as you know what you're doing. But if you don't know what you're doing, you're either getting stiffed on lack of coverage and/or not getting the right price. This article will help you understand what you need to know beforehand about buying motorcycle insurance. Some of these may seem very simple and obvious. But they made the list because they are often overlooked.
Here is a list of seven things that you need to be aware of as far as motorcycle insurance is concerned:
1. All of the basic components that apply to auto insurance apply to motorcycle insurance as well. And the same goes for any other type of personal vehicle such as a boat, RV, golf cart, snowmobile etc. While they all have their own specialized coverage, the basic parts of the policy are all the same. There are five basic components to any vehicle policy:
To learn more about the five basic components, see my blog article The Basics of an Auto Insurance Policy: Breakdown of each coverage explained.
2. While the basic coverage for auto insurance is just the same as motorcycle insurance, the pricing is very different! There may have been times where you wanted a particular coverage on your auto insurance policy, but passed because it was too expensive….. Don’t assume that is still the case with motorcycle insurance. The way insurance is rated for autos and motorcycles are similar in many ways, but very different in others.
3. Older bikes tend to rate below the minimum that a company will charge…. If so, take advantage of this! Every motorcycle insurance company has an absolute minimum price that they will insure a motorcycle for (usually in the range of $75-100 per year). Many bikes tend to rate below this minimum amount….. When that happens, you can in many cases take better or higher coverage at no additional cost. Many people are not aware of this.
4. Off-season coverage. In the cold weather months, many bikes get stored and put away. Some people decide to keep the same coverage on the bike all year around. Others cancel the policy while the bike is not being used…. What I suggest is going middle of the road here…. During the off-season when you’re not using your bike, you can lower coverage down, which will save you money…. Simply drop collision coverage (you’ll want to keep comprehensive coverage because it protects your bike from theft, fire, vandalism, etc.). Drop you medical coverage (if your state allows it, most do), drop uninsured motorist coverage (again, if your state allows it, most do), and drop your liability coverage down to the state minimum level….
Remember that when you ride again when the weather breaks, adding coverage back to where you had it only takes a two minute phone call to your agent.
5. Motorcycle License or Endorsement. If you have a motorcycle license, or a motorcycle endorsement on your driver’s license, this earns you a discount with most motorcycle insurance companies. However, I’ve seen a lot of people who are not aware of this, and their agent/company is not applying the discount. So make sure you inquire about it.
6. Discounts for safety features. Many motorcycles are equipped with safety features that a lot of companies give discounts for. These include things such as anti-lock brakes, LoJack or other type of anti-theft device, or other types of safety device. Although this seems simple enough, you would be surprised at how many bikes qualify for this discount but don’t get it because the agent or company is not aware of it.
7. Shop around! This is one thing that motorcycle and auto insurance both have in common. There is no better way to save yourself money than by getting quotes from multiple motorcycle insurance companies. The more companies that you quote with, the better the chance that you are paying the lowest possible rate. The most efficient way to do this is to get a quote with an independent agent who sells motorcycle insurance through more than one company. They will be happy to do the shopping around for you.
Summary: While some of these keys might seem overly simple, you would be amazed at how many people don’t take advantage of simple things that could be saving them a lot of money. A simple call to your agent can address many of these. So don’t leave money on the table!
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Dan Lyles is an Independent Insurance Agent serving Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia..