Just like with car insurance, the cost of motorcycle insurance depends on a wide variety of factors. In general, the average cost in the United States can go anywhere from $200 to well over $2,000 per year, largely depending on where you live, how much of a risk you present according to insurance industry statistics, and how much your bike (or its parts) would cost to replace.
The price will not only vary state by state, but even neighborhood by neighborhood, since insurers will charge more if the bike is stored in a zip code with an higher than average crime rate.
Driving history and past insurance claims are two of the most important factors affecting your rate. As most of us know, a less-than-perfect driving record can often bump up premiums, so past claims and traffic violations can end up raising your rates in motorcycle insurance, even if your history is solely with four-wheeled vehicles.
But there are also other factors that you might not have control over, namely your gender, marital status, and age. Because statistics show them as less likely to get into accidents, women, married, and older drivers often pay much less than the highest risk group (single men under 25).
Experience, of course, counts too. New bike riders of any age can expect to pay more than experienced drivers since, unsurprisingly, they are considered to be more likely to get into accidents. Whether you plan to use your bike for a daily commute or simply for pleasure on the weekends will affect the price as well. After all, if you’re only using it for weekends or special occasions, your chances of an accident go down and so does your rate.
But there is one major factor that is up to you: the kind of bike you’ll ride. If you’re worried about insurance costs and you are still in the decision-making process, it’s a good idea to take into account the cost of insuring your dream bike as well as its price tag.
Custom-made or vintage bikes, or bikes with a load of unique accessories or powerful engines, will cost more to replace and be more costly to insure. Additionally, because statistics show that they’re more likely to suffer damage or get stolen, choosing a sport or racing bike will make your rate considerably higher.
HOW TO SAVE ON MOTORCYCLE INSURANCE
So, what to do if you’ve already chosen your bike, you’re in a higher risk category, and most of the factors affecting your rate aren’t under your control? This is when you’ll have to make good use of discounts.
Many companies allow you to “stack on” discounts, that is, use multiple discounts at once, which might potentially save you hundreds of dollars a year in premiums.
If you’ve bought insurance before, you’re probably familiar with the multi-policy discount, that is, a discounted rate if you hold more than one policy with the insurer. If you own a car or a home, ask your insurance company for a quote to cover all of them. Incidentally, some companies offer a discount if the policy holder is an insured homeowner even if the home is covered by another company so make sure to ask as well.
One discount available to almost every driver is the automatic bill pay discount. If you’re willing to have your premium payments automatically withdrawn from your bank account, check if your insurance company will offer you a discounted rate in return. Many companies will also reward riders who pay their entire premium in advance when they buy or renew their policy, regardless of their driving history.
Adding features that help you prevent an accident and/or keep your bike from being stolen not only can increase your peace of mind, but it can qualify you for additional discounts. Many companies offer lower rates to riders who equip their bikes with anti-lock brakes and anti-theft devices like Lo Jack or The Club.
An even greater safety measure that can pay off is motorcycle training. Every state offers motorcycle safety training - so there are great courses that you can take in California, Florida or any other US state. The prices and length of training vary but the investment can pay off in not only in increased safety for you and other drivers but also in lower insurance premiums. In some states, taking the course automatically qualifies you to receive a motorcycle endorsement on your driver’s license, which could also earn you additional savings.
Belonging to a motorcycle association or organization could qualify you for a discount. In fact, even non-motorcycle related associations – like some alumni associations or the AARP – have partnered with insurance companies to offer discounted rates to their members. Call the organizations you belong to and ask if they have any deals or partnerships with insurance companies that might help you pay less.
A clean driving history will qualify you for lower rates, and if you have been riding for a while without accidents, tickets, or citations, you can take it one step further and become a “preferred operator.” Ask your agent if you qualify to be one, since companies that offer this benefit will often give you additional breaks as a reward.
These are only some of the options most commonly available when it comes to motorcycle insurance. Make sure to sit down and discuss your particular circumstances with your agent to see what discounts are available in the area where you live.