What Is Motorcycle Insurance? All You Need to Know

Many riders tend to overlook the importance of getting motorcycle insurance, unlike car insurance. Unknown to them is that the two-wheel experience is riskier than four. In that sense, you’re bound to use the insurance at some point as a rider.

The US government requires all bike owners to at least have the minimum liability coverage when registering a motorcycle. However, these laws vary by state. Some states have more demands for riders than others.

For instance, Florida’s no-fault law requires all riders to have a minimum coverage of $10,000 in property damage liability, and a separate $10,000 coverage for personal injury protection. Those who want to ride without a helmet pay an additional $10,000 in medical insurance.

Motorbike insurance is a necessity for all riders. This post will discuss in detail everything you need to know about bike insurance. But first, let’s define what motorcycle insurance is and how it works.

What is Motorcycle Insurance?

Motorcycle insurance is a stand-alone policy or contract issued by insurance companies for financial protection against bodily injury, physical damage, and other liability during an accident or any form of a traffic collision. 

In summary, motorbike insurance covers you and your bike in the event of theft or property and bodily damage caused by fire or an accident.

How Motorcycle Insurance Works

Bike insurance is quite similar to a car insurance policy. The only major difference is the insurance rates, which are typically low—about 50% less than car insurance. However, the applications are the same.

Motorcycle insurance protects the rider in case of an accident, theft, or damage caused on the bike. Just like car insurance, your bike insurance only pays for the damages listed in your policy, hence the need for different insurance covers.

What Does Motorcycle Insurance Cover?

Motorcycle insurance covers bodily injury, property damage liability, injury costs, and bike theft. These include damages caused to other people’s property if you’re in the wrong or an accident that causes bodily harm to you and other road users or members of the public.

Most states require riders to at least have standard motorbike insurance. The insurance covers property damage liability and bodily harm to the rider and other road users.

Otherwise, there’s a long list of insurance covers available for riders. The choice of the policy coverage you intend to purchase may depend on other factors like the bike value and to what extent you want to protect your property.

Will My Motorcycle Insurance Cover Me on Another Bike?

If you have more than one bike or wish to ride on a borrowed motorcycle, then you must adhere to a specific insurance plan. 

Whether your motorcycle insurance covers you on another bike or not will depend on your insurance company and the state you are in. 

Insurance companies have different guidelines on insurance transfer to other bikes. For instance, some carriers may limit your coverage to liability when riding another bike, and not physical damages. 

That means the insurance company will pay for the damages caused by the bike to public property, but not damages caused to the motorcycle. 

Note that your carrier may not transfer coverage to other bikes that already have insurance from their owners. In that case, the owner’s insurance cover is considered primary. It’s vital to first check with your agent or insurance carrier for clarification on their guidelines.

Does Motorcycle Insurance Cover Medical? 

Motorcycle insurance is in a way similar to health insurance. And while it’s true that it covers medical, the policy works a little differently from normal health insurance.

First, it’s important to understand that paying for medical coverage in your motorbike insurance is optional in many states. For instance, some states require those who wish to ride without a helmet to pay for medical coverage of up to $10,000.

Many motorcycle insurers offer riders a great level of both property and medical cover. Still, it’s important to read your policy’s terms and conditions to ascertain your level of medical coverage. Such terms differ across insurance companies.

Below are common medical expenses that most motorcycle insurance covers:

  • Prescription drugs
  • Physical therapy
  • Hospitalization
  • Surgery
  • Consultation fees

How Long Does Motorcycle Insurance Claim Take?

Motorcycle claim submission procedures and processing are rarely fast. The settlement duration may take days, weeks, months, or even years, depending on the circumstances surrounding the case.

Motorcycle accident insurance claims are subjective. How slow or quick your insurer settles your claim depends on the case’s circumstances and issues arising during case handling.

Below are some things that may slow down the processing and settlement duration.

  • The severity of injuries and damages and the likely recovery duration.
  • Insurance coverage disparities
  • The number of insurance claims before yours
  • The complexity of the filed accident claim. The more complex your claim, the longer it will take to settle.

Types of Motorcycle Insurance

Motorcycle insurance coverage options are very similar to some main insurance categories found in cars. Some are optional, while others are mandatory depending on your state. Below is a list of types of motorcycle insurance available for riders.

  • Liability insurance: Pays for damages to property or injuries caused to others.
  • Collision insurance: Pays for damages caused to your bike from collisions with an object or another vehicle regardless of who caused the accident.
  • Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage: Covers you when you’re involved in an accident with a rider or driver without liability insurance, or whose cover can’t pay the total cost of the damage.
  • Comprehensive insurance: Pays for losses arising from theft, vandalism, or fire, but not damages caused when you’re riding.
  • Guest passenger liability: Pays your passenger’s medical bills if you cause an accident.
  • Medical payments (MedPay): Covers the rider’s and the passenger’s medical expenses regardless of who caused the accident. MedPay does not cover lost wages or any other related costs. This cover is optional and does not apply in all states.
  • Personal injury protection (PIP): Pays for your medical bills, passengers, or pedestrians involved in an accident notwithstanding who’s at fault. PIPs also cover lost wages and other replacement tasks after an accident. Some states don’t allow insurers to sell PIPs because of high rates of accidents.
  • OEM parts coverage: Pays for original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts used to repair your bike.
  • Trip interruption coverage: Pays for your accommodation and transport if you’re stranded during a trip because of a mechanical breakdown.
  • Total loss coverage: Replaces a totaled bike with a new one or a similar model.
  • Roadside assistance: Covers all emergency services that occur during a trip and leave you stranded by the roadside. These may include, towing, flat tire or battery exchange, or even gas delivery.

What is the Best Motorcycle Insurance? 

The best motorcycle insurance is one that offers you full coverage, is affordable, and is reliable.

What Type of Motorcycle Insurance Should I Get?

The type of motorcycle insurance to take depends on your daily usage of the bike. The three main application categories include:

  • Business use
  • Social only
  • Social and commuting

Get a social-only policy if you use your bike solely for leisure. If you also ride to work using the bike, consider a social plus policy. You’ll need a business policy if you use your motorcycle in your daily business activities such as delivery services.

Motorcycle Insurance Requirements

Motorbike insurance requirements vary across states. 

For instance, most states in the US, apart from Florida, require riders to at least have the minimum liability that covers bodily injury during an accident (at least $25,000), property damage protection (at least $10,000), and at least $50,000 per accident.

When applying for bike insurance, you will provide details such as proof of identity and residence, proof of motorbike ownership or ownership by endorsement, valid birth certificate, learner’s permit, and valid driver’s license, among others. These may vary between insurers.

Can I Get Motorcycle Insurance with a Permit?

State laws require all riders with learner’s permits to first insure their bike before taking to the road. 

And while it’s true that most states will allow you to get insurance for your motorcycle with just a permit, you’ll have many restrictions, such as permission to only operate during specific hours.

State laws may also require you to wear full protective gear any time you hit the road. These laws vary by state. Insure your bike as soon as possible once you pass the permit test.   

Can You Get Motorcycle Insurance Without a Permit?

It’s possible to get insurance for your bike without a permit. However, it makes little sense to buy a motorcycle and get an insurance policy when you can not be allowed to operate on any public street, though you’ll have protected it from off-the-road risks.

Most state laws will at least require you to have an endorsement, a license, or a permit to operate on a public road.

Can You Get Motorcycle Insurance Without a License?

Most states allow you to secure motorcycle insurance without a license. However, you’ll need to have at least a motorcycle endorsement class M on a valid driver’s license to operate on any public road.

Anyone without motorcycle endorsement Class M may be allowed to ride but may also need to pay more than the normal rates for the insurance policy.

What Disqualifies You From Getting Motorcycle Insurance?

Motorcycle insurance laws are closely related to car insurance. Below are instances when an insurance company may decline to sell you an insurance policy.

Lack of Motorbike License

Some insurance companies will issue you an insurance cover, but with many restrictions. For instance, you may need to pay more than normal rates for whichever type of insurance you’re buying if you don’t have a motorcycle license.

Otherwise, most states require you, and everyone that’ll be riding on your motorcycle to at least have the minimum liability insurance before they issue you with insurance. Always check the minimum state requirements and compare them against different covers from insurers.

Past Convictions or Losses

Restrictions because of past accident records or any conviction may vary depending on whether you wish to renew an existing insurance policy or if you’re getting a new one. 

The insurer may also consider the nature of your last conviction plus the time passed since the conviction.

Bike Modification and Customization

Some motorcycle insurers may not approve your cover if you’ve altered the bike’s performance and other key features. These may include:

  • Frame or suspension modification
  • Any alteration that increases the bike’s power by over 25cc from the manufacturer’s specification (the limit may vary across insurance companies)

Past Legal Issues and Defaults in Payments

Involvement in fraud, false representation, or any form of auto insurance fraud in the past 10 years may deny you access to motorcycle insurance. 

Insurance companies may also refuse to sell you an insurance policy or cancel your cover if your record shows non-payment allegations.

Other factors that may also prevent you from getting bike insurance include:

  • Refusal to comply with terms and conditions. For instance, failure to avail all the required documents during policy processing.
  • If you use your motorcycle for racing or jumping, some insurance companies may consider you high-risk and deny you an insurance cover.
  • Some insurers will not sell you a policy if they categorize your bike under the ‘youth model’ (used by kids).

Can You Get Motorcycle Insurance with a DUI?

You can still get motorcycle insurance with a DUI violation but under more stringent terms and conditions. Insurance companies consider you high-risk and may decline to sell you insurance.

And while those with a first-time DUI stand high chances of getting insurance, repeat violators may incur inflated rates of up to 13% of the normal insurance cost. Rates may vary by insurance companies or state regulations.

Some high-risk insurers may require you to file an SR-22 and keep it for three to five years before regaining full insurance or license privileges.

How Much is Motorcycle Insurance?

There’s no fixed cost to how much a motorbike insurance costs. Just like in cars, bike insurance charges vary depending on multiple factors. These may include, where you live, your age, age of the bike, number of miles covered per year, and your driving record.

The type of motorcycle you ride will also determine your premiums. Expensive bikes with large engines are typically more expensive to insure. Monthly premiums will cost a few hundred dollars but can go to over $1,000.

As of the year 2020, the average cost of motorcycle insurance per year was $1,173 for a full coverage policy. 

How Much Motorcycle Insurance Do I Need?

Most states require bikes to follow a bike insurance policy known as 25/50/10 coverage. The coverage states that each person riding on the bike must have a minimum of $25,000 policy value in bodily injury protection, $50,000 per accident, and $10,000 in property damage protection.

Always check your state’s minimum to ensure you’re within the law.

Where Can I Get Cheap Motorcycle Insurance?

Motorcycle insurance charges depend largely on the policies you want to buy and the company selling you the policy. Many states require riders to have minimum liability insurance.

The average cost of full motorcycle insurance coverage is $1,173 per year. That figure can be lower or higher depending on different insurers and locations.

Before you decide on affordable insurance, know the state minimum requirements, your needs, including your budget, and compare prices from different insurers.

How Long Do I Have to Get Motorbike Insurance? 

Motorcycle insurance coverage period depends on many things, including the type of riding you intend to engage in, available finances, the type of insurance policy, among other insurer provisions.

Motorbike insurance can cover you for a day, a week, six months, or even years. 

For instance, if you borrow a bike, or maybe you live in areas that experience extremely cold climates, you may not need a long insurance cover. Instead, you may only need to insure your bike for the days you’ll be riding.

Otherwise, if you use your bike for daily commute or business, your insurance can be as long as three years. You have the option to pay either monthly or a year lump sum depending on your circumstances.

Is Motorcycle Insurance Seasonal?

Seasonal motorbike insurance, also known as “winter layup”, or temporary insurance covers you for the months you ride only. Such insurance covers are available from specific companies, especially in places with winter seasons where people can ride throughout.

A seasonal insurance policy helps you save money on the days you’re not using the bike. You can either decide to cancel the policy during winter, lower your coverage or increase your deductible. Compare all the three options and see which one saves you more money.

Can You Pay Motorcycle Insurance Monthly?

Motorbike insurance companies offer many flexible payment schedules. You can pay for the policy every month or pay a lump sum for six or 12 months. Weigh your options and see what works for you.

Many companies will offer a discount to those who pay upfront for their insurance covers.

Can You Get 6 Month Motorcycle Insurance?

Motorcycle insurance covers are available for as little as one week. The issuing companies call them temporary insurance, and you can even get a six-month insurance cover. Such insurance covers are ideal for people who want to borrow a bike for several months or for seasonal use.

Although many insurers don’t sell temporary insurance policies, you can find special providers that deal in temporary motorcycle insurance. Otherwise, you can take a long policy and cancel it in the sixth month when you no longer need it.

Motorcycle Insurance Laws

Laws that govern motorbike insurance vary across states. Below are some motorbike insurance laws.

  • The bodily injury coverage must meet a specific minimum policy coverage per person.
  • Property damage insurance policy amount must not go below a set minimum.
  • No one is entitled to have all different types of covers. Some are optional and differ by state.

Is It Illegal to Not Have Motorcycle Insurance?

Just like in cars, riding a motorcycle without insurance is a traffic offense punishable by law. All states require that motorcyclists carry around at least the minimum level of insurance cover as per the state’s regulations.

Those who ride without motorcycle insurance risk suspension of their licenses and bike registration, cash fines, or even jail time, which may vary by state.

What Are Some Good Motorcycle Insurance Companies?

Great service delivery and affordability are the two important considerations that define a good motorcycle insurance company. Below are some of the best motorcycle insurance companies in different categories.

1. Markel

Markel Insurance Official Website

Merkel is suitable for motorcycle hobbyists. The company mostly covers the below types of bikes.

  • Scooters
  • Street bikes
  • Sports bikes
  • Sport-touring bikes
  • Cruisers
  • Trikes
  • Dirt bikes
  • Custom motorcycles
  • Mopeds
  • Big twins

2. Harley-Davidson

Harley-Davidson Insurance Official Website

Harley-Davidson Insurance offers the best coverage for new riders. The insurance processing is seamless. If you buy a Harley motorcycle, you’ll also get your insurance directly through the dealership.

3. Dairyland

While more riders continue to get involved in fatal collisions on the road, many companies are still hesitant to offer high-risk insurance covers to bike owners. However, Dairyland remains committed to offering high-risk cover to all bikers.

The company also offers SR-22 motorcycle covers to its high-risk clients. 

4. Safeco

Safeco motorcycle insurance company offers the most affordable policies for bikers on a budget. Regardless, the company doesn’t compromise on service delivery either. You’ll enjoy 24/7 Safeco roadside assistance and custom OEM parts coverage.


The United Services Automobile Association (USAA) offers affordable motorcycle insurance covers to military veterans. The company constantly ranks high for the delivery of services in evaluations by consumer insights leader J.D. Power

Military members also enjoy various product discounts and other perks.

When to Get Bike Insurance

Riding a bike without insurance is an offense punishable by law across all states. Preferably, you should obtain motorcycle insurance ‌at the time of buying the bike.

Once you decide on the bike you want to buy, visit a dealership selling that bike and weigh your insurance options there before purchasing. 

The salespeople at the dealership may also help you with vital information on insurance covers. Most of them are highly knowledgeable about insurance policies.

Benefits of Motorbike Insurance

Motorcycle insurance gives you peace of mind and enhances your focus on the road without the fear of an eventuality. Below are the benefits of having motorcycle insurance.

  • Motorbike insurance is a requirement by law. You’ll be adhering to the law if you have one.
  • You may get coverage for safety apparel and custom accessories. 
  • Help is almost immediately if you get involved in an accident. For instance, if your policy covers roadside assistance, you’ll always get immediate help on any necessary labor such as towing, gas delivery, and repairs.
  • Depending on the type of insurance, you’re protected against natural disasters like winds, storms, and floods.
  • Medical insurance allows you to maintain your financial stability when you face adversity while on the road.  You’ll not have to pay for treatment and repairs from the pocket.
  • You’re covered against vandalism, theft, or any other damage to the bike not related to a crash.


Motorcycle insurance is a necessity for any rider who wants to engage in safe and legal motorcycling. The earlier you realize you are more prone to accidents when riding on two-wheels than four, the more you’ll appreciate getting insurance cover.

The best part about bike insurance is flexibility. You can always go for the minimum state requirement and ignore other forms of insurance if that works for you. Otherwise, for maximum protection against any eventuality, full coverage is the best bet for you.  

Motorcycle insurance also gives you the freedom to cancel the policy and get a refund anytime you wish to take a break from riding. You can also buy a policy as short as a week or even a day. 

In a nutshell, insurance for motorcycles is an essential security cover any rider can afford. And you’ll be showing yourself and your loved ones a lot of love while at it!

People Also Ask

Motorcycle insurance is a less-talked-about topic compared to car insurance, yet an equally essential discussion for riders. Below we answer some common questions people ask about insurance for motorbikes.

Is Motorcycle Insurance Required?

Riding without an insurance cover is illegal the same way it is for driving a car.

Whether you ride only during weekends for leisure or use your bike to commute daily, do not hop on your motorcycle unless you have insurance cover. An insurance cover covers you against probable risks on the road.

Can You Get Motorcycle Insurance with an M1?

According to motorbike insurance providers, you can get motorbike insurance with an M1 license, but that restricts you to cruisers and standard motorcycles. You may not ride a sportbike. 

Can I Cancel My Motorcycle Insurance?

Motorcycle insurance companies allow you to cancel your insurance anytime, before, at the start, or during your policy period. Most companies will refund you the whole due policy amount if you cancel the insurance, at no cost.

However, others will charge you a small cancellation fee and deduct the days the policy covered you.

Do I Need Motorcycle Insurance to Buy a Motorcycle?

Insurance for bikes can vary greatly depending on the type of motorcycle. You can buy a bike without motorcycle insurance, but since it’s illegal to ride without insurance, buying and processing an insurance cover should preferably occur simultaneously.

About Alex

Hi Friends! Welcome to Motorcycle Exploits. I'm Alex! If you ever had any personal hindrances or doubts about your abilities to ride a motorcycle, then you are in the right place, Mate! My desire is to help you overcome any fears and other personal struggles you have so that you, too, can celebrate your EXPLOITS!