Every biker has heard (and is probably sick of hearing) the high number of accidents involving motorcycles in the US. Whether you choose to take these figures as a sage warning to stay alert on the highway or dismiss them as scaremongering statistics, those numbers should still alert you to how important comprehensive insurance is when you own a bike. Yet the insurance market is so broad and the types of insurance available are so varied that finding and buying the right cover for you can quickly become a large scale investigation.
To help make things easier this guide will break down the policies, processes and premiums attached to different motorbike coverage.
Researching Your Coverage
Let’s start at the beginning: where do you go to search for the policies themselves? Nowadays bike coverage, like everything else, is available to buy online. Online price comparison sites make getting a quotation easier than ever before. While in the past finding a decent quote meant either ringing every company in the phonebook or going from broker to broker in person and sitting through hours and hours of shop talk, online quotes can be found without leaving your living room.
Be careful with what site you are using however. Some insurance company’s websites feature price comparison tools which will always recommend their own policies no matter what you type into the search filter. In order to make sure you are getting unbiased information, take some time to look around the website and reassure yourself that the comparison is independently run.
The Basics of Coverage
Depending on the state you live in, the laws regarding which exact types of coverage you require will vary. However, all bikes on American roads are legally required to be insured with a minimum of Body Injury Liability and Property Damage cover. These items are there to protect those around you on the road should you be the cause of an accident.
Covering your bike with nothing more than the legal standard, however, is not a smart route to take. Think of the time, money and TLC that has gone into your bike. Think about your own health and welfare. Do you really want to be riding around the highways and byways of America with nothing to protect your body or your prized possession should you take a spill out there?
- Comprehensive and Collision: This pays out to replace or repair your bike should you be in any kind of accident in which it sustains damage. It shouldn’t matter if you are at fault or not – if this cover appears on your policy you should have nothing to worry about in terms of the financial end of an accident. It will also provide protection should your bike be stolen, vandalised or damaged in a storm.
- Parts and Equipment: If, like many of us, you’ve expended a lot of time, a lot of money and a lot of love making your bike as beautiful as it can be you’ll want to protect your investment. A parts and equipment policy is there to protect all the items or enhancements you have made to a bike which were not part of the original vehicle you bought.
- Medical Payments: It’s not all about looking after your bike – you also want to look after yourself, right? Medicine ain’t cheap and a bad accident that sends you to the hospital can end up running a bill well into the 5 figures. Unless you have money to burn (and who does?) a provision for your medical costs is a very sound asset.
- Uninsured Motorists: While you might be riding in legal compliance with the insurance laws, what about the guy who sideswipes you with his car or runs a red light while you’re crossing the intersection? If he is driving an uninsured vehicle you might end up having to foot your own medical bills, unless you have a specific policy to guard against it.
Lowering the Premium
No matter what combination of items you purchase for your policy you will be chiefly interested in ensuring you pay the lowest possible price for the cover. Like any other insurance, bike insurance premiums are calculated based on risk – how likely you are to require a pay-out and how soon. Obviously some factors are fairly unchangeable – your age and location being two – but there are a number of other price influencers which you can address.
- Storage: Where do you keep your bike? Renting or buying a garage to make sure it is secure each evening will save you a ton of premium and keep your pride and joy safe at night.
- Riding: How are you on the road? If you’ve a history of crashing and burning, why not take a motorbike riding course? It is sure to pay itself back in the future in the form of lower insurance costs and safer riding practices.
- Mileage: The less time on the clock, the lower the premium. Cutting down on mileage could save you a bundle.
- Spread The Premiums: Some insurers offer the chance to spread payment of the premium out to make it more affordable.
Not only does covering your bike protect the vehicle itself, it also protects you from the dangers of the road. An accident can happen in a second out there. A smart, well researched insurance policy gives you the peace of mind that, should it happen to you, the damage to your bank account will be kept to a minimum.