A big joy of motorcycle ownership is getting out on the open road and soaking in the world around you. There are times, however, when that urge gets so strong you’re determined to go on that ride even if you don’t have a bike of your own. Or maybe you just want to sample a different bike before making a purchase. Then again, maybe you’re visiting the land of the free and want to experience it on two wheels. Regardless of your reasons, if you rent a motorcycle in the U.S., you’re going to need insurance.

At the very minimum, you will need liability coverage in the event you cause damage or harm to another person and/or their property. If you already have insurance for your automobile, it’s easy to assume this coverage might also apply for a motorcycle rental, but check again. In many cases, auto insurance does not cover you on two wheels, especially a rented one. Same thing goes for insurance you may have through a credit card. Insurance covering four wheels won’t necessarily (and often doesn’t) cover two. Then again, if you already own and insure a motorcycle and want to rent a different one before making a purchase, there’s a good chance you’ll have the coverage required. Still, the point here is to make absolutely sure what your current policy covers and what it doesn’t.

The nice thing about having adequate insurance, is you can plow your rental into a tree, give the keys back, say “sorry” and walk away.

The nice thing about having adequate insurance, is you can plow your rental into a tree, give the keys back, say “sorry” and walk away.

Granted, analyzing your personal coverage line by line is a giant pain, but it could save you money in the long run by preventing you from buying something you already have. However, in the likely chance your coverage doesn’t apply to motorcycles, or you’re simply too lazy to investigate, there are options.

Now, renting a motorcycle brings with it further liabilities rental companies need to cover, and companies like California Motorcycle Adventures offer different packages to suit those needs. For instance, CMA’s “basic” package costs $15 per day and includes state required liability, as well as comprehensive coverage with a $1,000 deductible to cover the bike in the event it’s stolen or vandalized. The basic policy also includes collision coverage, with a $1,000 deductible, to cover damages to the motorcycle in an accident, and a $500 medical payment in case you get hurt in an accident. It’s important to note this package does not cover towing or impound charges should you park illegally, for example.

Assuming for a moment this was a real accident on public roads, if you had just liability insurance damages to the car would be covered (to a point), but you would be on the hook for damages to the rental bike and your own medical costs (if any).

Assuming for a moment this was a real accident on public roads, if you had just liability insurance damages to the car would be covered (to a point), but you would be on the hook for damages to the rental bike and your own medical costs (if any).

From there, CMA offers a Deluxe Package for a little over $30 a day that includes everything in the basic package, but with a zero dollar deductible. In addition, it also includes roadside assistance, tire puncture coverage, and a $1,000 security deposit – half that of the security deposit required for the basic package. Lastly, CMA offers renters the option of adding on supplemental liability insurance for an extra $6.95 a day, increasing the liability coverage to a maximum of $300,000. You can visit the link above for more details, including a price breakdown in chart form.

One of the best known Harley-Davidson rental agencies in the country, Eagle Rider also has other marques available for rent as well. Like California Motorcycle Adventures, Eagle Rider requires insurance, though mandatory liability insurance is already included in the cost of the rental. ER then offers different levels of supplemental liability insurance, as well as different levels of coverage for theft and/or damage to the motorcycle.

Once you get all the insurance stuff settled, you can enjoy views like this.

Once you get all the insurance stuff settled, you can enjoy views like this.

The big takeaway here is two-fold: first, if you already have an insurance policy, verify exactly what it covers. Second, if you don’t have motorcycle coverage, don’t worry. The two rental agencies above will be glad to answer your questions and point you in the right direction. And if you don’t book with one of these agencies, be sure to inquire with the company to make sure you’re adequately covered. Most, if not all, reputable agencies will have different levels of coverage to choose from.

Ultimately the responsibility is on you to make sure you meet the legal requirements. It may cost more to opt for, say, a lower deductible, but having the peace of mind knowing you’re covered will make your ride all the more enjoyable.

  • Paul MacDonald

    The nice thing about having adequate insurance, is you can plow your rental into a tree, give the keys back, say “sorry” and walk away……… Because you won’t be riding another bike because you won’t be able to afford the insurance after they hike it up because of your accident…..All insurance is price fixed, their pressure groups own the government along with the banks etc.

    • MikeinDenver

      You lack an understanding of how insurance works.

      • Paul MacDonald

        Nice try Mike the insurance salesman, but I don’t, and your party line is very playground and dismissive, you just don’t like the fact you can’t fool all the people all the time.

        You lack an understanding of other peoples intelligence (shows your lack of intelligence) ………Insurance is a scam, eventually the criminal price fixing etc., will be looked at and scum like you won’t be able to afford to play golf all day.

        • MikeinDenver

          First I don’t sell insurance. I will state my fact again because it is a FACT that you don’t understand vehicle insurance. I won’t group vehicle insurance with health because they are not even remotely the same.

          If you don’t like insurance then don’t have it. Many states allow you to put up bonds of $25k or more to show your financial ability to pay for damages and injuries caused to others. But good luck when you injure someone and get sued for $500,000 or more.

          • Paul MacDonald

            Ok, again, Mike the insurance salesman and underwriter of the failed article……I live in Canada so don’t presume your laws apply to where I live!
            The USA is not the centre of the world, just like your world series is not a world series.

          • MikeinDenver

            Considering this article is written from the perspective of someone in the states it was fine to assume someone not stating they lived somewhere else lived in the US.

            You sound like you have your panties in a bunch about many things unrelated to this article.

          • Paul MacDonald

            You really shouldn’t presume, as I said, the USA is not the centre of the world, and you are still on the playground with your little friends.
            Getting back to insurance, it is a rip-off and the only morons defending them are insurance salesman like you.

          • MikeinDenver

            And what do you so wise Paul think should replace insurance?