When you’re flying through the air is not the time to shop for insurance. Like so many other things thanks to the interwebs, it couldn’t be easier to shop for insurance before you need it. The flipside of that is that if you have anything on your record you’d prefer not to reveal, it’s not so easy anymore to conceal it. Once upon a time, Jorge Lorenzo (lead image) might’ve been able to say his Yamaha M1 got hit by a truck while it was parked at the library: That’s probably not going to work anymore.

Geico’s website for instance, knew exactly what motorcycle I wanted to insure as soon as I entered my 2000 R1’s VIN number. And entering my zip code gives it a pretty good idea of my (lack of) socioeconomic status. How long have I been riding, have I taken an MSF course, what’s my marital status, how many tickets have I had in the last five years and how many DUIs in the last 10? Who could possibly keep track? Boom, instant quote: $85.76 a year for the bare minimum California requirement if I ride my bike less than 500 miles (easy in my particular case).

Situations like this one can be awkward without insurance.

Situations like this one can be awkward without insurance.

Just to relive my glory days, I checked with Geico as 21-year-old me, with one speeding ticket (48 in a 35 mph zone), riding the same old bike but owned by the bank (not that anybody would probably finance 21-year-old me, since I vividly remember nobody would when I was 21 and dying for a new KZ550), and riding 6-7,000 miles per year: $2718.76 a year, spits out the Geico computer. Zounds! At least that policy contains $500-deductible comprehensive/collision coverage.

Interestingly, and a big reason why I only buy used vehicles for cash: If 21-year-old me owned the old R1 instead of making payments on it, the one-year payment drops all the way from $2718 down to $642.76, highlighting yet again the age-old struggle between landholder and tenant, master and peasant, capital and labor. If you’re young and you really want a motorcycle, but money is tight, your insurance will be a helluva lot less if you are master of your own vessel – but it will be liability only. It’s a bad idea to ride motorcycles without health insurance anyway, not that many of us haven’t done it. Another beauty of motorcycles is that they’re relatively small and can’t (usually) do that much damage to other people’s property, so liability insurance for them is cheap.

Oi … not the kind of adventure you had in mind.

Oi … not the kind of adventure you had in mind.

Progressive wants $112.75 for the same policy for old me, a bit more than Geico. But for 21-year-old one-ticket me, Progressive’s Basic liability package is just $432.75 – that’s $210.01 cheaper than the Geico deal.

The moral of the story, as always, is that it definitely pays to shop around, and we’ve only scratched the shopping-around surface here, two insurers out of God-knows-how-many. I picked out Geico and Progressive because they support motorcycling, including MO. So does Allstate, and I think I’ve seen State Farm ads on our site as well. Get on your Google and search.

If that’s too much like work, find yourself an independent insurance agent who reps lots of insurance companies, and let him find you the best deal – probably the best way to go if you’re a totally irresponsible young ADD sufferer with a new ZX-10R. If you have other things to insure of course – a car, a treasure chest of precious jewels, what have you – a full-service agent who’ll make you a package deal can be a good way to go. If you live in Texas, former almost-AMA Superbike champ Mike Hale is now a State Farm agent outside of Fort Worth. Tell him we said hello, and you want the MO discount.


Learn even more about shopping for insurance here. I have to say, this was a fun story to research. Here’s how to make yourself look like Flo, the Insurance Lady, who also has a pretty fun Facebook site here.


  • Very timely as we’re currently shopping around for a new policy. I didn’t get anything beyond liability last season and wished I had after I was hit in a hit-and-run and all my fairings got trashed.

    • Richard

      Jack is very correct. I am a rider and a personal injury attorney. Many new clients come into my office and proudly tell me that they have “full coverage” when I ask about their insurance. At least 70% have minimum limits because their agent or website sold them the cheapest policy without explaining how important uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage is. When I explain the reality of a cheap policy, they become very angry with their agent, but it is too late. It is crucial, and particularly so for a rider, to have adequate uninsured motorist coverage – we don’t prevail in a collision with a car or truck.
      Also with a car or truck, your UM coverage covers your family members that reside with you if they are injured by a motor vehicle, even if they are not in a motor vehicle or they are too young to have a driver’s license or drive. Many times I have obtained a recovery for young boy or girl who was struck by an uninsured motorist while riding their bike or walking across a street.

  • Alan G

    Might have to check with Mike; I live really close to his office & home.

  • Paul MacDonald

    I checked them all and they where very close every time, so I’m pretty sure the insurance industry is price fixing, even when I phone for quotes they all ask the same questions and the price is so close to be any thing but.
    This article is an advertisement in cloaked form stop trying to fool us.
    The insurance companies are running a huge scam and they own the government.

  • Jack

    Your article missed one VERY IMPORTANT point. You need a ton of UNINSURED MOTORIST coverage. 9 out of 10 MC car accidents are the cars fault! 60% of cars carry either NO INSURANCE or a stupid $25,000 minimum. If you get hit by a car you will be hurt bad and entitled to at least a 6 digit settlement. If you don’t carry uninsured motorists you are CRAZY! I carry $500,000 the max I can get from anyone which is Farmers. That way I can sue my own insurance company for up to $500k if that idiot that hits me has less than that coverage.
    I am so sick of reading about guys who get hit are maimed for life and we have fund raisers to help with medical bills because they were stupid enough to not carry uninsured motorist. The coverage is not cheap but it is well worth it.
    BTW, if you are older, Farmers is the BEST. Progressive is a rip off.

    • Guy

      Thanks Jack, you should have written this instead of phuktard Burns, what a crappy waste of band width his article is.

  • derpydoo

    I use Progressive on my 2009 Shadow. Less than $250/year for max coverage.

  • Matt

    “How to shop for motorcycle insurance” story is simply to “shop around”? A bit misleading, eh? Why not briefly explain what the coverages mean, how they help you, and not mention names. So many people say “I have the best” simply because it’s the least expensive … for them. I’m glad a few commenters mentioned actual coverages instead of focusing entirely on price. *sheesh*

  • Joe7Bros

    I’m currently with Dairyland; less expensive than Geico by more than a few dollars for comparable coverage – $100000/300000 liability, $25000/$50000 uninsured/underinsured, $100000 property damage, comprehensive up to $60000, no collision coverage, plus a few other small/no cost items. The uninsured/underinsured coverage is the biggest component of the premium. I’m in Philadelphia, 19115, married male over 60, own my home, no tickets, riding 40plus years, with a 2004 MV Agusta Brutale 750S and a Genuine Buddy 170i scooter; the annual premium is under $300.00

  • Claude A. Wyle

    As an avid Ducati rider, and motorcycle attorney, I must stress how important it is to get absolutely all the Uninsured and Underinsured coverage you can possibly afford. Insurance agents seem to be most concerned about your assets that may need to be protected, so those riders who do not own a house are offered small policies just to remain “legal”. I cannot over emphasize how critical it is for you to obtain the highest Underinsured and Uninsured coverage available, with 250,000/500,000 as a minimum. As a motorcyclist, you are far more likely to suffer a serious injury and your medical bills will be that much higher and your disability from work that much more likely and longer. Most car drivers simply do not carry enough liability insurance to cover the injuries they are likely to cause when they hit a motorcycle rider. The increased limits do not cost that much more, especially in comparison to the risk of loss. Please understand that I do not work for any insurance company or insurance agent. I have spent my life fighting insurance companies, and I often have to tell my seriously injured clients that the offending driver does not carry enough insurance and does not have enough assets to compensate my client,

  • Bobby Hughes

    Interesting article and great comments! One note about State Farm motorcycle insurance, they do not offer medical.

  • Philip Christian

    yes, I like that the article has opened up a good discussion..but it would have been nice it was more in depth. I was actually shopping for insurance for the past couple months and I ended up going with the same that insures my house and cars. I’m assuming this was the best because of the “umbrella” type of insurance. Others weren’t so far off, but my allstate policy for my bike was at least $350 cheaper than what I was paying at Rider.
    One of the other things noted in comments, not in the article for some reason, is that a lot of the insurance companies aren’t offering coverage for the bike. They only offer liability which covers damage you do to others, but you’ll be left with remaining bike payments for you paperweight if you really wreck it. They’ve really put the onus of responsibility on the buyer to know where the bike is worth getting collision/comp on. I ride a Ducati, and i’m shocked when I hear that any other rider, only has liability to keep the price down. Adding Comp/Coll does raise the price significantly, but if you’re bike is of any value to you…You really ought to get those coverages.
    Although I had coverage for comp/coll, I did not have UN/UM…I contacted my agent yesterday because of this article.