Top 10 Ways to Save on Motorcycle Insurance
Gas prices are soaring. Rent and home prices are through the roof. Doctor bills are enough to give you a heart attack. There’s no doubt, the cost of living is going up. Belt-tightening is a must for all of us, so if you can save money on motorcycle insurance, you should.
As with any kind of insurance, calculating the cost of motorcycle insurance is a matter of risk and protection. A mid-range policy for a customer in his or her mid-40s who is married and owns property in a decent neighborhood could run anywhere from $250 to $1000 a year. The 21-year-old with a bad driving record who buys a Gixxer? Well, he’s going to pay more – far more.
Motorcyclists all pay different rates depending on a variety of factors, but there are ways to get the most for your money, or even lower the amount you pay now. The basic formula says the older you are, the better your driving record, the longer you’ve had your motorcycle license, the less flashy and speedy your bike and the less expensive and risky it is to cover damages in your area, then the less you’ll pay for insurance.
But there are things any rider can do to alleviate the squeeze. Here in no particular order are our Top Ten Ways to Save Money on Motorcycle Insurance.
1. Get Trained, Get Certified
Most insurance companies offer incentives for completing a safety course such as the Motorcycle Safety Foundation’s Basic Rider Course. Riders under 25 years of age and those who have a less-than-stellar record stand to benefit most from these discounts.
Because laws vary, keep in mind that if you take the course in one state or country and then try to present your certificate of completion for a motorcycle license elsewhere, the endorsement may not be accepted.
2. Keep It Clean
The bottom line is this: the better the record, the better the rate. That’s it, plain and simple. If your driving record – motorcycle and/or automobile – is free of accidents, tickets and other infractions, you will get a lower insurance rate. Progressive is one company that offers a discount for those renewing policies who did not post a claim during the most recent term.
3. Bundle Up
Usually, the more items under one umbrella, the better the rate, so look into having your motorcycle, car and homeowner insurance with one company, which can save you money on all of their premiums. And if you own a car, your insurer might offer a discount for covering your motorcycle as well. Geico, for example, offers a 5% discount for those who also insure their car with them. More than one bike? Even better. Geico offers a 10% discount for insuring more than one motorcycle. Always, always inquire about discounts, even if you think your situation is irrelevant. If you do not ask, you will not receive.
4. Be Patient
Riding time and experience are factors in reducing premiums, and there’s nothing you can do about it (except get trained – see #1). The way insurers see it, because you have less experience on the road, you are more at risk for an accident. In calculating risk, insurers look not only at a rider’s driving record but also how long he or she has been riding – and even what experience that rider has with the specific motorcycle to be insured. First-time bike owners can also expect to pay more for insurance.
One bit of advice: it stinks to wait, but if you know a previous traffic violation is about to be dropped from your driving record, hold off on requesting insurance quotes until that violation clears. This little act of patience will net a lower rate.
5. Store It, Lock It
If you own your own home or have a garage to store you motorcycle, that will reduce the cost of your motorcycle insurance. Not all companies offer discounts for security systems, but it’s worth asking.
Utilizing a security system such as those with a remote key fob should help lower your insurance rate as well. Even better? Install an anti-theft/recovery system such as LoJack. Not only can you cut down your insurance bill, chances are you’ll get your bike back if it gets jacked. That’s the best insurance policy of all, and why many insurance companies place value on these systems.
6. Join The Crowd
Group discounts are one of the most popular ways of getting cheaper rates, and many motorcycle-specific groups get discounted insurance rates. Most official OEM riders’ clubs offer discounted insurance rates, as do non-motorcycling groups such as AAA and AARP.
Consider joining the American Motorcycle Association, BMW Motorcycle Owners of America, Gold Wing Road Riders Association, Harley Owners Group, Honda Riders Club of America, Motorcycle Safety Foundation, Motorcycle Touring Association, Riders of Kawasaki, the Star Touring and Riding Association or the Suzuki Owners’ Club of North America. Check the official rider’s club of your bike to see its benefits on insurance.
7. Buy Less Motorcycle
Look, we know you want the biggest, baddest, fastest, coolest motorcycle. We all do. But if you’re shopping for a new motorcycle, don’t price yourself out of being able to ride it. Cruisers, for example, receive lower rates than sportbikes. Pre-owned, older motorcycles cost less to insure than brand new ones. Exotic bikes, vintage bikes, rare bikes, custom bikes – all will cost you more to insure than a sensible motorcycle with a sensible engine.
8. Know Your Policy
Many riders get sold on maximum coverage when they don’t need it. Experts say riders should carry enough insurance to cover bike replacement costs, hospitalization and to avoid bankruptcy. As your bike ages and depreciates in value, and the rider ages and gains experience, many riders drop comprehensive and collision coverage. You can also save money by dropping specialized coverage for accessories, total loss and trip interruption, or medical payments if you already have health care.
Yet, cheapest is not always best. For instance, liability – which covers damages to others but not yourself – is cheaper, but is even more of a liability for motorcyclists because, as we all know, there are no fender-benders on a motorcycle.
Other ways you can save on your policy include:
* Increase your deductible. The more risk you’re willing to assume, the lower your premium will be. For example, a $1,000 deductible should significantly reduce your premium.
* Pay up front, in full. Most insurance companies impose finance charges, so paying off your premium at the beginning of the term rather than in monthly increments saves money.
9. Ride When You Can, Don’t When You Can’t
Most motorcycle insurers allow riders to put their coverage on hold when they can’t ride for a period of time, or for the winter months. Many others offer “layaway” programs during the frosty season. In cases like these, accident-related insurance is suspended, but bike owners retain coverage for things like theft, vandalism and fire. Still, if there’s even a chance you might want to take a ride on an unexpectedly warm Saturday in February, a layaway program might not be worth the risk.
10. Talk, Shop, and Switch?
Get off the computer and call your insurance agent on the phone. Agents are people too, with vehicles, homes and other property that needs insuring, and he or she may be willing to offer suggestions to cutting your premiums you hadn’t considered, such as altering your coverage or bundling policies as mentioned above.
Many insurance providers offer an incentive for switching from a competitor, usually by way of a one-time discount. While you’ve your agent got on the phone, let him or her know that you’re considering getting quotes from competing agents. Companies will often offer incentives for you to keep your business right where it is. Still, it can’t hurt to shop around occasionally. If you are switching insurance companies anyway and are not offered a discount by your new insurer, ask why not. A little chat goes a long way.
More by Jon Langston