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Motorcycle Insurance Facts For Dummies, Parents, Old Guys and Teens With Hot Sportbikes

What’s the real world challenge you face when you buy motorcycle insurance as opposed to the process for insuring your car?

We’ll attempt to demystify the process a touch.

Insurance rates are generally calculated according to the type of vehicle in question, the age of the person operating it, and the state where you live.

If you’re over 25 and married, expect to get much, much cheaper rates than a teenager (or someone with a horrible driving record) for the same coverage. Why? It’s assumed, and the actuarial tables bear this out in spades, that younger people do not have the experience or common sense to drive safely. Why, you say, should you be penalized when you’re such an excellent driver regardless of your age? Here’s why,insurance companies don’t give a rip that you think you’re the world’s most accomplished driver, they have reams of claim data which proves that young drivers and those with bad records are just plain bad drivers, and as far as they’re concerned, it’s case closed on that score.

The type of vehicle you’re hoping to insure makes a big difference as well. Liability coverage is required in almost every state, and how does an insurance company figure out what that liability might be? Well, on the value of replacing your bike, of course.

Wrong.

Liability is largely based on how much damage you might do to the any other vehicle you might meet in a violent way. Given that motorcycles are light – and therefore tend to do little damage to the other vehicle in a crash – liability insurance for them is dirt cheap. It should be something like $20-50 per month for the more sedate set.

Full coverage, and that’s referred to in the business as Comp and Collision, is where the stakes (and the monthly prices) are bound to go way, way up. The cost of this type of coverage is determined by how much your motorcycle is worth, and to somewhat lesser degree, on how likely that vehicle and rider is to be in a crash. Because not many teens can afford to buy a brand new Ducati 1100 SP, there’s just no actuarial data to support the contention that Ducatis will be trashed by teenagers on a regular basis. On the other hand, cheap sportbikes like Honda CBRs and Suzuki GSX-R600s are almost sure to be spread out across a field or laid down on roadways across America by young riders, so expect the cost of insuring them to be higher.

Here’s where the “deductible” part of the equation comes in. The deductible is the amount at which you stop being liable for any damages to your bike. If you lay the bike down and need $1000 worth of work to put it back right, a $250 deductible means you pay only $250 to get it fixed out of your pocket after a claim. If your bike is financed? A whole nother ballgame, mon frere. Your bank will require you to carry full coverage, and if you try to save money on that insurance by setting a high deductible, expect proportionately higher premiums to result.

Here’s a typical scenario:

You’re 35, have full coverage on a 600cc sportbike you financed through a bank or dealership, no tickets on your record, and maybe a single crash in the last five years. Expect to pay something like $32-$50 a month.

The flip side of that coin? You’re a 17-year-old with two tickets, you’ve never taken a motorcycle safety course and you just bought an extremely sweet Yamaha R6. You have now left Kansas, Toto. Your per year premiums, just for liability coverage, are going to set you back somewhere in the neighborhood of $2000-$3,000 a year.

That’s some swanky neighborhood, compadre.

As you can see from the simple example above, insuring a motorcycle can be a dicey, and pricey, proposition. What are your options? Shop, shop, and do lots of research. Use all the online motorcycle insurance quote tools you can find before you even bother to call and seal the deal to get some idea about the range of prices you’re going to find.

Start with these:

Allstate

Progressive

Geico

And be ready to tell them this information:

  • What kind of motorcycle you’ll be  riding. This include the year, make and exact model. They may ask for the VIN number, and it’s handy to know it while you’re shopping.
  • All moving violations against you. Don’t know?  Contact the DMV because this will have a major impact on the price you’ll be expected to pay and it all comes out in the wash sooner or later.
  • What level of coverage you want to cover
    • Liability
    • Comprehensive and Collision
    • Medical (and make sure you specify that passengers will be included in your coverage)
  • The amount of the deductible your wallet will bear before you need help repairing any damage to your bike
  • Any periods the bike will be in storage (storage insurance is much, much cheaper)

Buying motorcycle insurance can be lots more complicated than assembling furniture from IKEA. We’re here to help…

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