The best advice for insuring your motorcycle is to shop as many providers as possible. Call four different insurance companies and you’re likely to get four wildly different quotes. Some companies profile each motorcycle model independently while others look only at engine size. The bottom line is you’ve got to shop around to find the best deal.
When I bought my first bike in 2004, a 2002 Suzuki SV650, I foolishly did not shop around and just followed a friend’s advice to use Progressive (thanks a lot Doug, haha). I was 34 at the time with a clean driving record and my motorcycle permit. My premium was over $1500/year for full coverage. A few months later I wised up and made some calls, eventually getting my rate reduced to $650/year with The McGraw Group. When I bought my 2005 Yamaha R6, McGraw was going to raise my rate to over $1600/year. Geico would only provide liability in California, not comprehensive or collision coverage. Progressive wanted over $3000/year. Then I called State Farm and signed a full coverage policy for under $600/year. Go figure.
Some companies offer small discounts if you:
Here’s a list of some of the more prominent providers. Call them all and then some to make sure you get the best rate.
- State Farm – rates bikes solely by engine size; some agents will require an existing policy of some type
- McGraw Group (Pacific Specialty Insurance Company)
- Foremost Insurance Group (Farmers Insurance) – requires a private garage for full coverage
- AAA – accompanying car policy may be required
Be sure to ask your insurance company about roadside assistance. Motorcycle towing is very different from automobile towing; not everyone offers it. AAA does offer it as an option for club members (you do not have to be insured with them), and the AMA also offers its MoTow service as an option to its members.
Some basic insurance policy definitions:
- Liability – It’s typically the minimum policy required. If you get into an accident and it’s your fault, this covers the other party’s damage but not yours.
- Collision – If you get into an accident, regardless of fault, this covers damage to your vehicle.
- Comprehensive – Covers non-accident related damage to your vehicle such as theft, fire or vandalism.