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What You Should Know About Motorcycle Insurance


You've obsessed over that new motorcycle for a while now, you've talked to your s/o about riding and you've considered a new versus pre-owned bike. The budget is set aside for gear and other safety considerations and now you're finally ready to pull the trigger on that new ride! F*ck ya!

But...if you're going to be enjoying that brand new motorcycle on the street, then you'll need to consider buying insurance to make sure you're covered in the event of a crash. Moreover, for the sportbike crowd, many insurance companies will not cover damages sustained during a race event or a track day. Make sure to inquire about this if you're going to be hitting the track.

Consider that your motorcycle driving record can effect your insurance premiums for your other vehicles, wisely choosing a policy and insurance company is even more important. Keep those traffic tickets to a minimum on your bike or you might be seeing your monthly premiums increase for your bike and car! Ouch.

Motorcycle insurance tends to fall under most recreational vehicle insurance policies, even if your motorcycle is your primary method of transportation. Regardless of how often you ride your bike, most states require riders to carry a motorcycle insurance policy. Age, experience and vehicle type are considerations for cost so don't have sticker shock if you're in your 20s and are going for a 1000cc superbike as your first bike!

Before you decide on a motorcycle insurance company, make sure you've researched the following items:
* How do they handle claims?
* Available Premium Discounts
* State License status and complaints
* Liability and full coverage costs

Insurance Claims Handling

Filing a claim is stressful but sometimes necessary. Especially after your motorcycle has been damaged in a crash or worse, the last thing you want is for the claims handling process to add to your troubles. While it's tempting to easily purchase a motorcycle insurance policy online, make sure your insurance company offers all of the following:

* Communication options. If you have questions, does the insurance company offer a phone number for the claims department? If not, what are your recourse options when you need to advance a claim status?
* Customer service ratings. Most insurance companies have a rating with J.D. Power & Associates and the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. Review customer service ratings for all companies under consideration.

Insurance Premium Discounts

When comparing discounts for motorcycle insurance policies, make sure the discount is good for the life of the policy and not just an introductory rate.

Most reputable insurance companies give discounts for the following categories:
* Safe rider discounts for proof of completion of motorcycle safety courses.
* Multi-vehicle discounts for coverage of more than one vehicle.
* Multiple policy discounts: Keeping all of your insurance policies (homeowner, renter, automobile) with one company can give you a big break on annual pricing.

With this in mind, don't be surprised if your motorcycle insurance costs as much as your car or truck. If you're in your 20s, male and are buying a powerful sportbike, it could get pricey. This is from personal experience of course, so it's always good to call around and get quotes before getting too involved with the bike you want or putting yourself in a tough place when at the motorcycle dealership.

I also highly recommend completing the motorcycle riding safety course and, as an added bonus in some states, you can skip the riding portion of the motorcycle license test with proof of course completion.

Company Licensure and Complaints

Before you agree to purchase a motorcycle insurance policy, verify the agent or producer is licensed in your state. Check with your local DMV for a license search website or check NIPR.com. If you cannot verify licensure, go to another provider. If a non-active agent or producer isn't licensed through the state, your policy may be invalid when you need it most.

When you find a company that meets all of your criteria regarding pricing, rates and service, type the agent or producer's name into Google followed by the word "reviews." If you see too many negative reviews on customer service and claims filing, continue your search.

More often than not, you've likely heard of several motorcycle insurance companies through word-of-mount or through an advertisement on the radio or TV. This is a great way to start your research. We've also compiled a small directory of motorcycle insurance companies in the US to aid in your search.

Cost of Motorcycle Insurance

Motorcycle insurance rates vary based on the type of policy: liability or full coverage. Liability will only cover damage to other vehicles or property, while full coverage with collision will give you coverage in case of damage to your bike. Depending on whether you own your bike outright or are making payments (and what state you're in), you may be required to have full coverage insurance.

Other factors will play a role in the total cost:
* Age/gender of driver
* Amount of deductible
* Discounts
* Geographic location
* Motorcycle value

Full coverage will always cost more than liability coverage, but the cost is not out of reach for most mature drivers who carry other types of insurance policies. Balance.com gives ranges from $200.00 to $3,000.00 per year, depending on the combination of all the factors listed above.

Don't forget to ask your motorcycle riding buddies about their coverage. If you get a rate that seems much higher or lower than some of your friends, shop around and make sure you're getting the best rate available to you with coverage that suits your needs.

...Now Get out And Ride!

Once you have your insurance sorted out, you can move ahead and buy your motorcycle! Find an online motorcycle parts store for riding gear and, if you have the itch, aftermarket parts such as an exhaust. Modifying your bike is as much as part of the culture as riding so don't forget to experience the fun of shopping and installing new parts!

Thanks for reading! Ride safe!

By Daniel Relich

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