Riders, this guide is for you. No matter what brand or type of motorcycle you ride, Elephant is pleased to be able to offer you motorcycle insurance coverage that will meet your needs through our partner Dairyland Insurance.
We’ll cover what motorcycle insurance is, how it works, what it covers, and information on typical cost and discounts available. In this post, we’ll also share some important safety tips and information on how it compares and contrasts with car insurance, so you can be informed before you look into what policy might be right for you. Let’s get started!
What is motorcycle insurance?
Motorcycle insurance protects you from being on the hook for the bulk of the cost of potential damages to your motorcycle — and from the cost of causing an accident. And, as with most kinds of insurance, different levels of motorcycle insurance coverage are available that bring varying types of coverage to the policyholder.
Motorcycle vs. car insurance
Both types of insurance protect you from the cost of damaging your vehicle and from the cost of causing an accident. Like car insurance, motorcycle insurance is required in almost all states. There are a few differences worth noting, though.
- Motorcycles are known to be more dangerous than cars. According to findings from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), per mile traveled, motorcyclists are 16 times more likely than passenger car occupants to die in a traffic crash and about four times as likely to be injured. While only 20% of car crashes result in injury or death, that figure jumps to an astounding 80% for motorcycle crashes. This higher chance of injury on a motorcycle means that the personal injury protection portion of a motorcycle insurance policy may be more expensive than it would be for a car insurance policy.
- Passengers make a difference. When you’re driving a car, you’re more likely to have passengers with you than you would be if you were on a motorcycle. This can impact the coverage needed.
- Storage. You might be more likely to store your motorcycle for long periods of time than your car, say if you use your bike a few weeks each year to go on a special trip. Whether you insure your motorcycle while it’s in storage is up to you, but it’s important to remember your motorcycle is still at risk for a comprehensive loss when not in use, even if it’s sitting in your garage or storage facility.
- Add-ons If your bike has certain add-ons, that might call for special accessories coverage.
Does motorcycle insurance cover mopeds and scooters?
Yes, it does! Many states require basic insurance for mopeds and scooters to cover the cost of losses in an accident. Getting motorcycle insurance for a moped or scooter is usually less expensive than insurance for actual motorcycles, but the best way to find out what a policy will cost you is to get a quote since each individual and each policy is different.
Who needs motorcycle insurance, and how much do I need?
You can technically own a motorcycle without insurance, but if you plan to ride it legally, you’ll need motorcycle insurance in almost every state — 48, to be exact. The only two states that don’t mandate it are Florida and New Hampshire.
“What’s the big deal?” you might ask, “who would ever find out?” Well, for starters, in the 48 states that legally require you to buy motorcycle insurance, you can’t register your motorcycle without proof of insurance. Even if you risked not getting insurance or registering your motorcycle, getting caught without insurance or not having the proper coverages (i.e. if you’re pulled over for a traffic violation or are in an accident), you could be faced with a range of serious consequences, such as:
- Getting fined, often up to hundreds of dollars. (For instance, in Virginia, standard fine start at $500.)
- Getting your motorcycle license
- Having to go to court where you could face more fines, often called “court-ordered financial judgements”. These judgments can often be expensive and affect your credit history, especially if you miss your court date or lose your case. There are also often harsh consequences if you don’t have the funds to cover the judgment.
- Getting sent to jail.
These consequences may sound alarmist, but don’t worry! Simply opting to follow your state’s rules and getting the right motorcycle insurance means you’ll never have to worry about these situations. It also means potentially saving thousands of dollars in the long run. Requirements vary by state on minimum coverage, but between us at Elephant and our friends at Dairyland, we’ll always make sure your policy meets your state’s requirements.
How to buy motorcycle insurance
As we mentioned, motorcycle insurance works a lot like car insurance, and the purchase process is no exception. You’ll start by getting a quote of some kind, where you’ll:
- Answer a lot of questions about yourself
- Answer questions about your insurance needs
- Wait as your information is added into a special algorithm behind the scenes. Then, you’ll be shown a recommendation for the best policy for you, as well as expected costs.
Once you’ve purchased a policy, it’ll protect you if you damage your motorcycle or wind up in an accident. That’s why our next recommended step after purchase is to review your provider’s claims process. Dairyland Insurance offers a great guide to the claims process for motorcycle insurance, including steps to take at the scene if you’re in an accident.
At Elephant Insurance, you can buy motorcycle insurance (from Dairyland) through us at any time, and coverage usually starts immediately. Once you get a quote, you’ll confirm your policy. From there, you can tweak it or compare if needed to make sure you get the coverage that’s exactly right for you.
How much does motorcycle insurance cost?
Like car insurance, the cost of motorcycle insurance depends on a number of factors, including:
- Driving/accident history
- Location (where you live)
- How you’re using the motorcycle (pleasure, work commute, etc.)
- Your age
- What kind of bike you own (and any add-ons you might have)
- What discounts you might be eligible for
Together with Dairyland Insurance, we offer policies that can start as low as $6 a month. However, the best way to get an idea for the cost of motorcycle insurance is always to get a quote.
Look out for discounts
Another reason getting a quote is the best way to see what you can save? Both Elephant and Dairyland offer a variety of motorcycle insurance discounts. If you’re an existing Elephant customer, you already know we love offering discounts to our customers. That’s why we offer a bundling discount for customers who have auto insurance policies with us and add motorcycle insurance to their policies!
We also love partnering with other providers who also love a discount, like Dairyland, who believe in affordability, value, and cost savings. They reward their customers with discounts for the smart decisions they’re already making, like if:
- You own multiple motorcycles
- You’re a member of a motorcycle riders’ group
- You’ve passed a rider safety course.
These are just a sampling of the discounts Dairyland offers, all designed to make your policy the perfect combination of quality coverage and affordable.
Safety beyond insurance
As we shared earlier, motorcycles are often more dangerous than cars. We put together a list of six safety tips every motorcyclist should know ahead of their next ride. Here are a couple of tips to get you on the road to a safer ride:
- Increase following distance. The general rule is to allow two seconds of room between yourself and the nearest car in front of you. On a motorcycle, though, increase that distance to four seconds, NHTSA recommends. Motorists are advised to do the same thing when they’re behind motorcycles.
- Wear protective gear. As we discussed, statistically 80% of motorcycle accidents result in injury or death. That risk drops dramatically to 29% by wearing a helmet. That’s almost 1/3 the risk! Also, be sure that the rest of your body is covered up. Try wearing clothing like long-sleeved shirts, pants, and a pair of gloves.
Protect yourself on your next motorcycle ride
Whether you’re an Elephant customer, or simply looking at different insurance coverage options, it’s important to us that you’re as safe as possible on the road. Still looking for more information on motorcycle insurance? We’re here to help. Head to our main motorcycle insurance page for more information and to get up to speed (pun 100% intended).