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Having insurance on a motorcycle is important, and in most states in the U.S. it’s mandatory. And that makes sense because motorcyclists are more susceptible to injury because of the lack of protection they provide compared to a car.
I’ve insured over twelve motorcycles in the last few years during my motorcycle flipping days. I had to get creative with how to reduce my insurance costs because I was a poor college student at the time and every penny counted. Here’s what I’ve learned to work well when you are trying to save on motorcycle insurance.
Consider The Motorcycle You Ride
One of the biggest things insurance companies look at is the type of motorcycle you will be riding. Some motorcycles will require higher insurance premiums while other types won’t be near as expensive.
For example, if you have a Suzuki Hayabusa, your rates will likely be much higher than someone who has a Honda Rebel. A Hayabusa is much faster than a Rebel and has a higher injury and mortality rate.
Insurance companies have a large data base they rely on when you tell them the type of motorcycle you ride. This data base tells them the likelihood of them needing to pay out because of previous history of the motorcycle itself. The bigger the engine is and the faster your motorcycle is capable of going, insurance will increase your rates because statistically you’ll end up having some sort of claim.
Lay-up insurance is an option that a lot of motorcyclists aren’t aware of. Lay-up insurance is an excellent choice for those who aren’t able to ride their motorcycles for a season whether that be because of winter, you need to store it while you’re out of the country, etc.
It may seem like a good idea to simply get rid of insurance when you aren’t planning on using your motorcycle for a while and won’t be out on the road, but there are some damages that can still happen to your motorcycle. Such damages may include natural disasters, someone backing into it, someone stealing it, etc.
Layup insurance will cover most damages that may happen to your motorcycle while it’s placed in storage. You can get it at a much lower rate than regular insurance since there is less risk involved. Layup insurance does not provide coverage when you’re out on the road. In fact, when you get layup insurance you shouldn’t be riding out on the road at all since you’re not covered in that sense.
Shop For New Rates When You Reach A Certain Age
Younger motorcyclists will likely have higher insurance rates compared to older riders. Even if you are young and have a clean driving record, the simple fact that you’re below the age of 21 can still make your premiums much higher than most.
Age has a large impact on motorcycle accidents and a large part of those accidents are caused by younger riders. Perhaps it’s because of inexperience or because of the immortality mind-set, but insurance companies go by statistics rather than how well you think you’ll ride out on the roads.
If you obtained an insurance policy before you turned 21 and have since then surpassed your 21st birthday, it’s a good idea to contact your insurance company and attempt to get a new quote. 21 years old is kind of the golden age where those statistics that worked against you are now working for you. The likelihood of you getting into an accident is much lower, according to the database of insurance companies.
Insurance companies are not ones to reach out to you and say “hey! you can get a lower rate now!” If you pay a high premium that started when you were 16 years old, they’ll still make you pay that premium until you’re 99 years old. That is, until you say something. If your insurance doesn’t seem to want to change your rates, consider shopping around to other insurance companies that will.
Shop For New Rates When Your Record Clears
Having a few dings on your driving record can increase your motorcycle insurance rates. To motorcycle insurance companies, a bad riding record means you aren’t responsible and they’ll probably have to pay out some sort of claim (statistically speaking), thus you’ll have high rates.
Smaller offenses should come off your record in shorter amounts of time while larger offenses, such as causing a major accident, may stay on your record for several years. Similar to surpassing a certain age, you can attempt to get a new quote when certain marks on your record have cleared.
Again, insurance companies will continue to charge you premiums according to your riding record, even if that mark on your record had been removed unless you say something. Contact your insurance company and attempt to get a new rate once those marks have come off your record. This should save you a significant amount of your motorcycle insurance.
Consider Where You Live
Surprisingly, the place you live actually has a huge impact on how much you pay for motorcycle insurance. Even down to your street address and house number.
Factors such as crime rate and risk of natural disasters especially have an affect on your motorcycle premiums. If you live in a neighborhood that has a high crime rate, you’ll probably be paying more in insurance (because of motorcycle theft). If you live in a place that floods a lot or gets massive rain storms, you’ll probably be paying more in motorcycle insurance.
For example, I was paying $9 a month on my 1969 Triumph when I was living in a small town in Idaho. Since then, I’ve moved to the coast of Mississippi and my monthly premium went up to $17 a month because I live in an area where hurricanes are likely to happen.
It’s hard to change where you live simply to save money on your motorcycle insurance. But if you’re thinking about moving somewhere else, you might as well consider a place that is safe in all aspects so your motorcycle insurance won’t be so high (and so you can feel safe too!).
Understand The Right Policy For You
Motorcycle insurance companies have many options for coverage you can choose from. Before committing to a certain policy, do your homework and see what policy is right for you.
Insurance companies will sometimes try to encourage you to get more coverage than you actually need. While having coverage is vital during motorcycle ownership, there are a few things you can go without.
Most states in the U.S. require all motorcyclists to have at least liability coverage on their motorcycle insurance. This means that if you cause an accident, your insurance will help you pay for the injuries and damages you have inflicted. Every motorcyclist should have this coverage and should consider increasing the liability coverage amount, even more than what the state minimally requires.
Evaluate how much you’ll be riding, how often you’ll be carrying a passenger, and how much your motorcycle is worth. Insurance options include personal injury protection, uninsured/underinsured, comprehensive, and roadside assistance. Depending on your situation, one option may be better than the other.
I personally carry high coverage liability insurance as well as uninsured/underinsured. I know I’m covered if I happen to cause an accident and I know my uninsured/underinsured will cover me if someone else causes an accident and doesn’t have insurance. Get the right policy for you and don’t pay for options you don’t need.
Rethink How You Ride
As it was mentioned before, having anything on your record can greatly impact how much you will be paying in motorcycle insurance. Reckless driving and causing several accidents is a perfect recipe to give you high premiums.
Though this is an obvious suggestions, I can’t go without saying that if you have a poor riding record, reconsider how you are riding in the first place. Stick with the speed limits and be on alert of other drivers and pedestrians around you. It’s possible to get lower rates if you can prove to your insurance company that you are trying to be a better rider.
Take A Motorcycle Safety Course
A motorcycle safety course is an excellent way to save on your motorcycle insurance. A motorcycle safety course is a class you can opt in to take that will enhance your safety and riding skills as a motorcyclist. It usually lasts about 1-3 days and consists of classroom work as well as practice riding in front of a certified instructor.
You will need to pass a written test as well as a riding test to consider the course complete. Most states offer this course and the fee to take the class ranges between $150-$250.
Taking a motorcycle safety course has proven to decrease a rider’s likelihood to get into some sort of accident. A lot of insurance companies recognize this class as an effort on the rider’s part to be a safer rider so they’ll offer a discounted rate.
Provide The Right Security To Your Motorcycle
Unfortunately, motorcycles are a much easier target for thieves compared to other types of vehicles because of how accessible they are. According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, about 40,000-45,000 motorcycles are stolen every year in the U.S. Japanese made motorcycles, especially Hondas, are the highest target for thieves.
When you sign up for motorcycle insurance, insurance companies will usually ask you where you store and park your motorcycle. They ask this because they want to know the likelihood of it getting hit or stolen.
Motorcycle insurance companies favor those who store their motorcycle inside somewhere such as a garage, storage unit, shed, etc. because that means it’s less likely to get damaged or stolen and therefore they have less to pay up. They’ll usually give discounted rates for people who take precautions like this.
Aside from finding a good place to park/store your motorcycle, you can also report to your insurance company about additional safety precautions you’re taking such as using a disc lock or that you use security cameras. Click here to see my list of recommended ways to secure a motorcycle.
Aside from routine maintenance on your motorcycle being a vital part of owning one, doing so can also save you a lot on your motorcycle insurance. Insurance companies don’t necessarily ask you about how well you maintain your bike, but maintenance can still have a positive ripple effect.
When you regularly maintain your motorcycle, that means you’ll have less fixes in the future. Essentially, you’re preventing a lot of potential damage and hazards that your motorcycle could cause
Let’s take chain maintenance as an example. Not regularly lubing it and checking it’s tension means it could either get too tight or too lose. It has the potential to break at higher speeds, shoot back, and damage the car behind you. That car will likely hold you liable for the damages which is something your insurance would pay for since it was your motorcycle that caused the incident.
Because you had to submit a claim, your insurance rates will go up; you’ve shown that you are a higher risk than they initially thought. Maintenance is important for reasons like these, so keep up with the health of your motorcycle. See my article here to learn more about how often you should get your motorcycle serviced.
Try Some DIY Fixes
When I was learning how to flip motorcycles and sell them for a profit, I also learned a lot about DIY fixes on motorcycles and how easy they actually are if you’re willing to put in a little time to learn how to do it.
Learning how to do some do-it-yourself fixes on your motorcycle could prevent you from submitting claims; your insurance rates stay the same instead of going up. Say you had your motorcycle parked in a parking lot and came out to find it had tipped over causing multiple scratches on the tank and body panels as well as a dented handlebar.
If you have insurance coverage that would pay for fixing those damages, you could submit a claim but your rates will also go up. Repainting a tank, fixing side panels, and replacing the handlebars yourself are actually quite easy and not very expensive. If you can learn to fix those yourself, you will save a lot of money on your insurance.
Of course, there are some fixes that should be left to the professionals and shouldn’t be considered a DIY project. Such instances will include an accident with possible frame damage. That is something you’d want your insurance to pay for because a professional should fix that.