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Types of Motorcycle Insurance: How Much Coverage Do You Need?


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Your most important decision to make when selecting a motorcycle insurance policy will be deciding which types and how much coverage you need. 

Everybody’s answer is going to be different, and will depend on:

  • Your financial situation.
  • Your monthly budget.
  • The value of your bike. 
  • Your riding habits.
  • Where you live. 

This page will help you understand the different types of motorcycle insurance coverage available to you so you can decide what you really need. Different types of motorcycle may require different types of coverage, depending on the value of the bike, how it was purchased, and how you ride. Be sure to chose the best policy for your needs.

MotorcycleZombies.com has plenty of resources to help you pick the best motorcycle insurance, you can find some of them here:

Once you’ve got the information you need, be sure to compare some free quotes on MotorcycleZombies.com.

Type of Motorcycle Insurance Coverages

Motorcycle insurance can be confusing. There’s lots of jargon, definitions, and details that can get jumbled together pretty quickly if you’re not familiar. Maybe they made it that way on purpose?

Let’s demystify the different types of motorcycle insurance coverage you can get. 

Remember, in most states, all riders will need to carry AT LEAST the minimum liability coverage. This is the insurance that protects you financially and kicks in if you cause an accident. 

Coverage beyond that will be up to you to decide what you’ll need. 

Find out more about each type below. 

Motorcycle Liability Coverage

Liability coverage describes the type of insurance that you’ll be required to carry to pretty much every state. 

Liability coverage kicks in when you are responsible for an accident. It pays for injuries and damages for the other person/s involved in the crash that you’ve been found at fault for. 

It does not cover injuries and damages to yourself or your bike.

Liability coverage includes:

  • Bodily injury coverages.
  • Property damage coverages. 

Each state sets a minimum limit of liability insurance that you’ll need to carry in order to register your motorcycle and ride on public roadways. 

You can raise your limits in order to better protect yourself financially if you are responsible for a collision. 

Medical Payments Coverage

Medical payments coverage will pay for medical expenses that result from a crash on your motorcycle – regardless of who is at fault. 

Personal Injury Protection (PIP)

Personal Injury Protection, or PIP, is used to pay for medical bills, lost income, etc. if you are injured in a motorcycle accident. This is typically more extensive than medical payments coverage, but is not available in all states.

Some states require PIP as part of the minimum coverage.

Underinsured/Uninsured Motorist Coverage

Underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage protects you in the event that another driver is at fault for an accident, but doesn’t have enough or any insurance coverage to pay for your own injuries and damage to your bike. 

Some states require Uninsured/Underinsured Coverage as part of the minimum requirements. 

Comprehensive Coverage

Comprehensive policies pay for damage caused by things other than vehicle-to-vehicle crashes. 

It covers things like theft, vandalism, fire, weather damage, etc. 

You’ll need to select a deductible, which is your out-of-pocket expense before coverage kicks in. 

Comprehensive limits will typically cover repairs or replacement up to the cash value for your motorcycle.

Collision Coverage

Collision coverage pays for damage that results from a crash with another vehicle or stationary object – even if it’s your fault.

Again, you’ll choose the deductible and you’ll be able to claim up to the value of your bike. 

Roadside Assistance and Towing

Roadside assistance is offered by many insurance providers. This will cover the cost of any towing, repairs, or labor if you break down or have an accident. 

Rental Motorcycle Coverage

Rental coverage will pay for the cost of a rental bike if yours is in the shop being repaired or has been stolen. 

Motorcycle Trailer Coverage

Trailer coverage is useful if you transport your motorcycle to other places via a trailer. This type of policy will cover damage to your motorcycle trailer caused by a variety of events. 

Note that more expensive trailers (over $7,500+) may need a separate policy. 

Trip Interruption Coverage

If you take a lot of long trips, trip interruption coverage can come in handy if you get into an accident or run into bike problems far from home (typically at least 100 miles).

This can pay for food, hotels, and transportation if you’re away from home. 

GAP Insurance Coverage

GAP insurance is a good idea if you’ve leased or financed your motorcycle. 

This type of coverage will pay what you still owe on the loan or lease in the event that your motorcycle is stolen or totaled. 

GAP insurance will typically require you to carry comprehensive and collision coverages as well. 

Total Loss Coverage

Total loss coverage may be available for new model years, and will cover up to the current cost of a new model bike. 

Accessory and Equipment Coverage

Many providers offer additional coverages for any aftermarket parts, upgrades, or riding gear you may have. You can increase the coverage limits depending on the value of your parts and gear. 

This coverage can range anywhere from $1,000 to $30,000.

Motorcycle Lay-Up Coverage

If you live in an area where there’s a distinct riding season and you store your motorcycle for the winter, lay-up coverage may be a good choice. 

Lay-up coverage will protect your motorcycle from theft and damage while your bike is being stored. 

This may be offered at a discounted rate during the months when you’re not riding.

However, if there’s a bit of nice weather and you go out for a ride and get into a crash, your lay-up insurance won’t cover it. 

How Much Motorcycle Insurance Do You Need?

The amount of motorcycle insurance coverage you should carry will depend on your personal situation, the type of bike you have, how often you ride, the type of riding you do, and where you live. 

At a minimum, your motorcycle insurance policy will need to satisfy your state’s liability coverage requirements. Many states require proof of liability insurance when you register your motorcycle and renew your license plates

However, you can select liability limits that are higher than the state’s minimums. 

As a general rule of thumb, it is often recommended to carry liability coverage limits that matches or exceeds the value of your assets. 

If you are found at fault for an accident that causes injury and damages exceeding your liability limits, you’ll still be financially responsible for the difference. If you can’t pay, your wages can be garnished or you could lose your home or other property. 

Other types of coverage will often depend on the type of motorcycle you have and how and where you ride. 

If you have a brand new motorcycle, it’s probably a smart idea to opt for full coverage that protects the value of the bike in a wide variety of situations. 

However, if you’ve got an old motorcycle that’s not worth much, full coverage may be overkill. 

If you ride a lot or ride on long distance trips, additional coverages may be a good idea. Things like roadside assistance, trailer insurance, and trip interruption can come in handy if you experience bike problems far from home. 

Again, the right amount of coverage depends on how much you can comfortably afford and your personal circumstances. 

Be sure to compare motorcycle insurance quotes from a few different providers. 

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