Best Motorcycle Insurance
Low premiums aren’t all that matter
We love to bring our friends new info when we run across it. If you have a motorcycle, then you need motorcycle insurance. The following article was adapted from reviews.com. Check it out!
To find the best motorcycle insurance, we started with 84 motorcycle insurance providers and narrowed down our top picks by evaluating which had the widest coverage options, best discounts, and easiest quote and claims processes. We didn’t look at premiums to rank our top picks — those will be yours and yours alone, depending on your bike, your age, your experience level, and other factors.
Best Overall — Progressive
Progressive checked all of the boxes for important coverage types, like property damage liability, collision, uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, and comprehensive coverage. It also has coverage options we didn’t see anywhere else, including Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) parts coverage. (OEM coverage means that if you’re driving a BMW bike, you’ll be covered for the full cost of new BMW parts, something that’s important to brand loyalists, and those with an eye on the resale value.) It even has coverage for the personal belongings you carry, which is great if you commute to work with a laptop in your backpack.
Another area where Progressive really brings it to the table — and where lots of others fell short — was in offering online options. Some of the companies we evaluated had clunky websites that made figuring out how to get a quote difficult (looking at you, Foremost: For a company with a good online claims-reporting process, you made it really tough for us to figure out how to get a quote online). Not Progressive — the company has clearly shelled out for modern web design and functionality, which made the user experience smooth and hassle-free.
What’s more, it was one of only two motorcycle insurance companies we liked that offered a mobile app. With the free app, you can file a claim, take pictures with your phone to document the damage, and then upload them to your claims report. It also makes getting roadside assistance easier — we were able to call for assistance with just two taps from the app’s home screen. Added bonus: The app offered how-to articles about jumpstarting a dead battery and packing an emergency toolkit to have with you on the road, making it an educational resource too.
Runner-Up — Foremost
Foremost was close to being our top pick, but it fell short when compared to Progressive with its online quote tool: it involves you requesting a quote online, and then waiting an unspecified amount of time for the company to get back to you by email or phone. If you’re trying to get your insurance shopping done online in an afternoon, Foremost does not make it easy for you.
Standout Coverage Options — Markel American
Markel American prides itself on offering “speciality insurance by real specialists,” and that showed in the specific, granular coverage options it offers for motorcyclists. For example, the company offers accessory coverage, knowing that option matters to bikers who have shelled out hundreds on their saddlebags, sidecases, motorcycle GPS, Bluetooth communication sets for helmets, and other costly gear. Another important type of coverage it offers is rental reimbursement, something especially meaningful for riders who use their bike as their main mode of transportation.
Like with Foremost, Markel American’s quote process lost the company some points — the section on its site wasn’t clearly laid out, and it doesn’t offer a mobile app. It does, however, allow you to purchase a policy entirely online, file your claim online, and it has a 24/7 claims center.
Great If You Can Get It — Esurance
How We Found the Best Motorcycle Insurance
When it comes down to it, the most important part of insurance is knowing that you can rely on your provider if and when you need to. To evaluate each insurer’s financial stability, we looked to financial rating agencies A&M Best and Standard & Poor’s. Those agencies look for any hint of instability in order to make sure the insurer won’t go out of business, making it unable to meet its obligations to pay out on policyholders’ claims. All our top picks earned A’s from the agencies that rated them.
Premiums are probably the second most important. To find your best rates, you’ll want to shop around for quotes. Compare those with the rates you get from our favorites, then cruise on.
That meant cutting smaller, niche companies that you may or may not have heard of, like Riders Insurance or California Casualty, who cater to a regional customer base.
This whittled our list down by quite a bit, but you can and should research your area to see if one of the smaller insurers is right for you. American Reliable, for example, offers more discounts than Progressive, including discounts for installing an anti-theft device, paying your policy in full, renewing your policy, and for being a mature rider. That said, a call to its customer service department revealed that it isn’t currently originating new policies in several states.
We cut out the middlemen.
Some insurers don’t administer their own policies, but rather provide some combination of options involving customer service, brokerage, or claims reporting. These are essentially middlemen, and aren’t the ones responsible for shelling out when you’ve got a claim. Knowing and working with an insurance company that administers its own policy eliminates questions like what will happen to your policy if one of the companies involved goes out of business. To really evaluate the insurance options out there, we wanted to go to the source and focus on companies that are beginning-to-end providers.
Do these guys really have you covered? We checked to make sure.
Liability coverage helps protect you if you’re found to be at fault for a traffic accident on your bike. Each state has its own legal requirements for the amount of liability coverage you must carry. Most states hover around the same 25/50/25 ballpark (a minimum of $25,000 for bodily injury to one person in an accident, $50,000 for all injuries in an accident, and $25,000 for property damage), but Maine and Alaska clock in with the highest requirements at 50/100/25, and Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and California are the lowest, with 15/30/5.
The experts we spoke with, though, said that state minimum liability levels are often lower than they should be, and won’t provide nearly enough coverage in the case of a bad accident. Brad Cummins, an independent agent with Insurance Market Agents, tells clients to purchase the highest limits they can afford — and while higher levels of liability coverage do cost more, stepping up your coverage to the next level (for example, from Ohio’s 25/50 to 100/300) likely won’t bump up your premium level that much.
The best motorcycle insurance providers will also offer a variety of coverage options in addition to the required liability coverage. Cummins recommends clients purchase collision, comprehensive, uninsured/underinsured motorist, and roadside assistance coverage, and we looked for what our remaining contenders had to offer, keeping an eye out for the most important:
- Comprehensive coverage covers damage to your bike from non-accident-related incidents, such as theft, fire, vandalism, or severe weather.
- Collision coverage will help pay for repairs if your bike is damaged in an accident.
- Guest passenger liability protects you financially if you’re found to be responsible for the medical expenses or death of a passenger of your vehicle.
- Medical payments coverage helps cover your medical expenses if you’re injured in a motorcycle accident. While your health insurance should also kick in, this coverage can go toward co-pays or your deductible.
- Property damage liability covers costs if you’re found to be at fault in an accident that results in damage to other people’s property.
- Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage pays for losses in an accident where the other driver is at fault, but they don’t have insurance, or don’t have enough insurance to cover your costs.
We weighted some coverage offers higher than others — collision coverage is more important than than, say, Actual Agreed Value, a coverage option that’s mostly useful to folks with a vintage or collectible ride. Then we counted them up, and nixed the providers with the fewest coverage options.
We tallied up the discounts.
While your individual premium cost will ultimately be determined by all kinds of details, such as the make of your bike, your age, and your experience level, there’s another factor at play: discounts. Motorcycle insurers, just like auto insurers, often offer a number of discounts to shave dollars off your premium.
Again, we made a scorecard and handed out points. We gave top points for discounts that are widely available and accessible to everyone, such as taking a safety course or paying in full — a discount simply for cutting one large check to your insurer for the total amount of the monthly premiums per year, rather than shelling out month by month.
These discounts can take a buck or two (or 20) off your bill — all up, we looked for:
- Safe driver discount
- Safety course discount
- Motorcycle association membership discount
- Bundling discounts
- Theft device discount
- Paid-in-full discount
- Anti-lock break discount
- Renewal discount
- Mature rider discount
The top scorer in this round? Pacific Specialty. It offered seven of our key discounts, including safe driver, safety course, motorcycle association membership, and anti-lock brakes. Some other companies wiped out: National General offered just one discount for safe driving. Those low scorers were eliminated.
We had some solid picks. It was time to put ‘em to the test.
Once we’d narrowed the list so that we were only looking at companies with good coverage and discounts, it was time to evaluate the experience of shopping for a quote and filing a claim.
We looked at quotes first. Getting a quote shouldn’t be too hard to do — a good insurance company will offer you easy, online tools that help you make a smart, informed choice. This was an area where Progressive started to stand out. Its website was clearly laid out and easy to use, and you’ll be able to purchase a policy entirely online. A dud in this round was Pacific Specialty. While it was the king of discounts, the company didn’t make it easy to shop its rates. You’ll need to pick up the phone and call an agent to find out what the coverage will cost you. On top of the added effort of calling (during business hours only, of course), that also means roping a third party into the process, because the agents don’t work for Pacific Specialty itself.
After we tested quotes, it was time to test how easy it would be to file a claim. While we’d love to test how these companies perform throughout the entire claims process, we couldn’t actually file a claim with them (that would be insurance fraud). So we pored over the details we could evaluate: the tools and process they offer to file claims. If you’re standing next to a wreck, the last thing you want to hear is a recorded message telling you to call back during business hours. So we looked for insurers that let you file a claim 24/7 either online or with a mobile app. A standout here: Foremost’s live-chat support for the claims process.
A quick exploration of premiums.
Like we said, premiums will vary for different insurers and different drivers. But for the sake of illustration, we compiled a table of premiums from our top picks. We created an extensive profile, since requesting a quote requires a lot of info — any piece of which could make your quotes substantially different than the ones below. We looked at rates for a 41-year-old man who lives in California’s San Fernando Valley, rides a 2009 BMW R 1200 GS (it’s a top-selling bike from a top-selling manufacturer), and has a clean driving record. Some things to note: We gave him a clean driving history, but if you have accidents on your record, that will drive up premiums. He also lives in an urban area near Los Angeles, and a rural rider might not have to shell out as much.
Some key takeaways we learned:
- It pays to shop around. With our top picks, there’s a difference of more than $600 between the cheapest and most expensive options.
- Discounts matter. The safety course discount took more than $5 off premiums from Progressive and $15 off the premiums with Markel American at the 25/50 level. And that was only one discount.
- Upping coverage may only cost a bit more. While it will ultimately depend on the insurer, increasing liability coverage from the state minimum may be less expensive than you think. The increase from 15/30 to 25/50 is just $13 more with Progressive.
|Premium at 15/30…||$120||$777||$281|
|…with a Safety Course discount||$114.75||$777||$281|
|Premium at 25/50||$133||$792||$381|
|…with a Safety Course discount||$127||$777||$381|
Did You Know?
State liability coverage limits aren’t enough.
According to Shami, those lower limits could leave you out of luck if you sustain a serious injury. “You should get the maximum liability you can afford,” Shami said. “There’s a saying: You get a $50 helmet for a $50 head. Don’t skimp on your helmet, and don’t skimp on your insurance.”
But there’s another important reason to raise your liability coverage limits: uninsured, or underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM coverage). UM/UIM coverage pays for losses in an accident where the other driver is at fault, but they don’t have insurance, or don’t have enough insurance to cover your costs — but your UM/IUM coverage is usually only offered by insurers at the same level at which you are insured for liability. That means to get decent UM/UIM coverage, you may need to raise your liability coverage. Shami explains he often sees clients who are hit by underinsured drivers, but didn’t have the foresight to purchase UM/UIM coverage. In order to avoid having a difficult conversation with a personal injury attorney about your options to sue an underinsured driver, Shami suggests riders also purchase this coverage at the highest level they can afford.
Take steps to stay safe on the road.
Art Friedman, former editor of Motorcycle Cruiser magazine and member of the Motorcycle Safety Foundation’s Technical Working Group, told us he always recommends safety courses. “I take them regularly, and I always come away with something — a reminder, or something that I realize I could be doing better,” he said. Friedman pointed out that, statistically, taking a safety course is not proven to make riders safer over time. The most impactful safety measures a rider can take are things like always wearing a full-coverage, DOT-certified helmet, and wearing brightly colored gear to be more visible when riding, Friedman advised. But still, he thinks riders should take the course — it can’t hurt, and it can definitely help when it comes to premiums.
A lot of the insurers we evaluated offer a discount for riders who complete a safety course. You can find a course in your area through the Motorcycle Safety Foundation. There are plenty to choose from — beginner courses that last two or three days and involve 15 hours on-cycle, to advanced courses involving complex traffic scenarios, and even e-courses you can take online.
Motorcycle insurance is not one-size-fits-all.
By this point, you get it: You should get more than the minimum liability coverage that your state requires. So what exactly does that mean for you? Figuring that out can feel like ordering off an a la carte menu: a little guest passenger liability here, a little medical coverage there, and I should be set — right?
Friedman, who’s been riding motorcycles for more than 50 years, says he turns to an independent insurance agent to talk through his needs, and explain his best options for coverage. Chatting about your situation with an independent insurance agent can help make sure you’ve got the right coverage for you. In addition, DMV.org offers a guidethat explains the ins and outs of motorcycle insurance coverage types. Alongside succinct definitions of the various coverage options, it also offers a tool to look up your state’s individual laws on motorcycle insurance coverage.
The Bottom Line
Shop around for your best premium rate, but remember to also evaluate your providers coverage options, discounts, and claims process. Also, buy the most insurance you can afford — not just what your state’s minimum liability coverage requires.
Shop for quotes. Check out our table above for proof. Different companies charge drastically different amounts for coverage. Dig into discounts, too, and see if taking a safety course could shave dollars off what you’re spending each month.
Compare rates at different liability levels. Remember that getting a higher liability level doesn’t just offer you a lot more protection — which you’ll probably need if you get in a real crash. It also often means you can raise your UM/UIM coverage to that same level.
Assess your needs for special coverage. Think about factors such as how often you ride with a passenger, and what your health insurance will cover (for example, if you have a huge deductible on your health insurance policy, getting medical payments coverage on your motorcycle insurance policy may bridge that gap). Your financial situation is unique, so pick and choose the coverage options that are best for you.