Finding the Best Motorcycle Insurance Policy Is As Much Art As Science
Finding the bike of your dreams may well be the easy part of the first-time motorcyclist’s experience.
Then it gets a little tougher and includes some of the less exciting, but still critical, elements of the process; finding the best motorcycle insurance policy for you.
It starts with educating yourself before beginning the search to ensure that you will get the best coverage at the lowest rate possible.
One of the most informative things you can do is ask around and find out what your fellow bike owners have done to find the right policy and how much they pay for insurance. This should give you some boilerplate information and a ballpark estimate so you know what to expect going in to your negotiations. You wouldn’t shop for a car before first comparing prices, would you? Also find out which companies friends recommend – and which to stay away from. You’re sure to hear a couple of horror stories and you’d be wise to let others mistakes inform your decision.
Next, you need to understand how the insurance company analyzes you to determine your risk and therefore, the rate you will pay. Just like with cars, a brand new bike with all the latest features costs more to insure than an old fixer upper. This is because it is worth more, so the company will have to pay more to cover any potential losses they might face in the event your bike is damaged.
The amount of experience you’ve had on a bike will contribute to your rate, and in general, the older you are the cheaper your policy. You’ll also see additional discounts proportional to the length of time you have owned and ridden bikes.
Be on the lookout for beginner and intermediate motorcycle safety classes you can use to brush up your riding skills. Completion of this kind of course will knock beaucoup dollars off your monthly premium and some companies suggest that you take this type of course as often as once a year.
As with car insurance, your driving record has the greatest bearing on the total cost of your premium. If you have a relatively clean record, you will get the lowest possible policy a company can offer, and conversely, the more accidents you have, the more of a risk you are to insure. If you have many accidents or tickets on your record, you run the risk of being un-insurable, and that’s a brutal position to find yourself in…
Finally, keep in mind all the other factors that contribute to insurance rates. Where you work, where you live, and how often you ride can raise or lower your rate.
As with any other purchase, the wise shopper shops around to find the very best rates. Some insurance companies will even do the price comparison for you online, and you should be willing to do the homework and let them do the heavy lifting by using online comparisons during your initial research.
Most importantly, make sure you understand exactly what’s covered under your policy and what to do if you get in an accident. The most important thing is to make sure you and anyone you may injure in an accident are covered, and it’s that element of a policy where most new rides make their mistake when deciding how much and what type of coverage to carry.
Bad things can happen to you and your bike, and your insurance needs can get complicated. We’re here to help…
How do you do that? Simply…use your resources. Find your bike, same year, similar condition, similar mileage, on the internet for sale. Better yet, include completed auctions from ebay in your argument. Show the adjuster that your bike is indeed worth more than his offer in the current market. Don’t sign anything until you are satisfied with the offer.
You touch on a good point. Most people think Auto Insurance will take care of them if injured in an auto accident. In NC, the only coverage you have for injury to yourself in an at-fault accident is Medical Payment coverage. Medical Payment coverage is available in $1K, $2K, $5K, $10K, and $25K on most NC policies. Motorcycle Med Pay is limited to $2K or $5K by most carriers.
When I buy a bike for a great deal from a dealer friend of mine for $150 over his cost, I still insure the bike for retail price because he may not have the bike available at that lower price at the time I have an accident. I may only find them at full retail from another dealer at that time…does that make sense?
Remember that he is a jack of all trades, master of none. I guarantee you know more about the value of a 1996 GSXR 750 than he does. Realistically, all he has to go by is indeed, a book value. He doesn’t know that bike was a huge leap forward and that a pristine example like yours commands way more than the book value.
Also add Custom Equipment coverage for ANY additions you’ve made to the bike. The base policy does not compensate for those aftermarket pipes, custom wheels, custom paint, all that chrome, etc. If you don’t have Custom Equipment coverage, and I’m speaking for NC policyholders, you will have no compensation for those things in the above scenario.