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.

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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.