Most people know how much Liability, Uninsured Motorist, and Comprehensive and Collision coverage they’ve got. However, you may be covered for things you didn’t expect – things your agent, broker or underwriter can help explain if you ask the right questions.
Companies that have recreational products divisions often offer extras at little or no charge at all. Accessories coverage is a great example. Most companies will offer $3000 to $5000 worth of accessories coverage at no extra cost. You have to ask your motorcycle insurance agent what the accessories coverage freebee is. What does it cover? Bags, screens, chrome, exhaust, your fuel-injection upgrade, seats, custom paint – name it and chances are it can qualify. This includes suspension upgrades. Don’t expect it to cover labor for installation, though.
Of course, there are limits to the total accessories. Usually, it has to be less than the NADA retail value of your bike. When you exceed your freebee, coverage of the additional accessories will cost additional money. It’s not usually that expensive, but the percentage varies company to company. If you do not declare your accessories and have a total loss, you will only be paid for your stock bike. There are exceptions, but it comes at a price.
Performance upgrades (going into the motor, turbo or superchargers) are allowed by some companies. The same labor-not-included rule applies, but you really should declare the upgrades. If you don’t declare it, your motor will be considered “stock” and returned to that state if your motor is damaged. Transmission work applies, as well. If you purchase a slipper clutch then make sure you add it to the total of the accessories coverage with the parts cost of the motor upgrades. If you bought a Baker 6-speed for your Harley, you have to make sure that you have it covered. You know the consequences.
Most companies will offer $3000 to $5000 worth of accessories coverage at no extra cost.
Towing is an option with many companies, but there are limits. Some companies offer you towing to the nearest motorcycle shop from where you broke down. Some offer “reasonable expense” coverage, which operates off the premise that you pay for the towing and send the bill to claims and they will reimburse you less a $50 deductible. This coverage means that, in most cases, they will go up to 300 miles before they ask why you’re towing it so far. Most people average less than 100 miles. This coverage does have a premium attached to it but usually costs less than $10 annually. It’s a pretty good deal.
Riding gear is covered by most companies. The helmet allowance is measly at $400, but if you crack that nugget it’s better than nothing. Riding gear is usually covered – leather or textile, but armored jeans are included in this since they are design specific. Casual gear like that Gap jacket or your Chuck Taylors is not covered. The point is to encourage you to buy and ride with the gear.
Document all accessories, bike build list and gear on an excel spreadsheet. This document will save you much aggravation if you have a loss. Take pictures of your bike when you add more than $1000 in accessories. Be sure to offer copies of pics and the spreadsheet to your agent as a backup.
Kirk Harrington is a longtime rider and avid motorcycle enthusiast, and he’s one of the nation’s only specialized motorcycle insurance agents, operating from his location north of Atlanta, Georgia.