Thursday, June 28, 2012

Tips to save on motorcycle insurance: Live to ride, ride to live. But save $$$ while you're at it.

I once insured an old dual sport bike I owned (Yamaha XT600). The cost for liability was only $75 a year. When I added another bike (Yamaha TT600), the cost was… still $75 yearly. Combined. The guy told me that because the “dual bike discount” was actually more than the $75 savings, he just added the second bike at no cost.

While I want more than liability only for my current bikes, I still want a deal. I came upon this article by Stacy Johnson at MSN Money while shopping around for a better deal recently.

7 tips to save on motorcycle insurance:

Live to ride, ride to live. But save a few bucks while you're at it.

When I was a teenager, my parents were dead set against two forms of transportation: convertibles (they could roll over and crush the occupants) and motorcycles (no explanation required).

As you might expect, the result was a lifelong love affair with both. For a large part of the nearly 40 years I've owned bikes -- my current is a 1999 Harley Softail Custom -- I never gave much thought to insurance. I just surrendered my bike business to whatever company was insuring my car. Mistake. Some insurers specialize in motorcycle policies, so shopping companies can reward you with major savings -- as much as 50%.

1. Join the club
Members of motorcycle clubs sometimes get discounted rates. Clubs are also a great way to compare notes with other bikers, get insurance recommendations, and see who's paying what. Examples include Harley Owners Group, BMW Motorcycle Owners of America and the American Motorcyclist Association.

2. Infrequent rider discount
If you ride only on the occasional sunny weekend, ask about discounts for a part-time or occasional driver. You might also ask about lowering the coverage (and cost) if you don't ride in the winter at all. If you have a loan on the bike, however, the lender will require full coverage on it year-round.

3. Drop full coverage
You've got to have liability insurance, which covers damage you do to other people and their property. But if your bike is old and/or not worth much, you might consider dropping comprehensive and collision -- coverage that pays for theft, vandalism, or damage to your bike in the event of an accident that's your fault.
Whether this makes sense depends on how much you're paying for full coverage and how much your bike is worth. Weigh the cost/benefit, then decide. As with the prior tip, however, if there's a lien on the bike, the lender will require full coverage.

4. Choose the right bike
Some bikes cost more to insure than others. For example, sport bikes often sport higher premiums than traditional road bikes. Never replace your bike without first calling your insurance company to see if the new bike will cost more to insure than the old one.

5. Raise your deductible
No matter what kind of insurance you're paying for -- homeowners, renters, health, car, or motorcycle -- the more of a claim you're willing to pay out-of-pocket, the lower the premium. If you're comfortable raising your deductible from $250 to $1,000, you could easily save 10% to 20%. Check what your deductible is now, then call the company and ask how much you'd save by raising it.

6. Ask about discounts *
It will probably come as no surprise that your insurance company isn't going to call and inform you of potential discounts. Call and ask about discounts for anti-theft devices and keeping your bike in a locked garage. Simply say: "What discounts do you offer?" You might be pleasantly surprised to learn you already qualify.

7. Get additional coverage for extras
Regular motorcycle insurance policies don't cover any enhancements you have made to your bike, such as chrome accessories, custom paint, or a sidecar. Look into supplemental coverage for these upgrades.

* BONUS: Add other coverage (additional motorcycles, cars or a house) to obtain the maximum discounts. Take a MSF (or other MC safety course). Conditions, such as “within the past 3 years,” may apply.


  1. And not to forget, a good driving record can certainly qualify you for lower car insurance rates as it represents a lower risk of a claim. Responsible drivers pay less, bad drivers pay more.

    Chris from

  2. Yes, great point, Chris.

    I wanted to add that it is sometimes better to pay for a minor accident than to pay the deductibel and make an insurance claim. That will keep your record cleaner and keep the insurance company from increasing your rates.

  3. “Live to ride, ride to live. But save a few bucks while you're at it.” – I couldn’t agree more! And these tips will definitely help bike owners to score a good insurance deal. And having an insurance policy for you and your bike can be handy, especially for the bike repairs. [Barry Bates]

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