UPDATED: Sep 20, 2018
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Motorcycle insurance can be a complex thing; not all companies offer it, and some offer it only on specific types of bikes. Some offer the same discounts as with a car insurance policy, others treat it as a completely different product.
In addition, that does not even begin get into the rates, which can vary widely. Choosing the best motorcycle insurance means not only finding the company that will cover your bike, but also provides the best service and value for the coverage.
The Basics of Motorcycle Insurance
Motorcycles are subject to the same rules as cars when it comes to basic insurance requirements. That means that all riders have to carry liability limits that meet the state requirements. These vary from state to state, and in some cases may also include requirements for uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, medical payments, or other coverage.
Like a car, if you have a loan on your motorcycle you will be required by the lender to carry comprehensive and collision coverage, which would otherwise be optional. Check with your lender as they may have specific requirements including maximum deductible amounts.
Motorcycle Specific Insurance
Motorcycles are not cars, and they do have some risks and needs that are different when it comes to insurance.
Some of the additional coverage includes safety equipment, accessories, and customization. Not all policies include coverage for after-market parts or other changes you might have made to your bike.
Motorcycle insurance can also differ based on the bike; custom, vintage, or specialty bikes may need special coverage that not all companies can provide. Motorcycles over a certain engine size may also be insured differently.
Some insurance companies focus their plans on motorcycles – either as their sole product or as a flagship product. Other companies, like Geico, advertise their motorcycle insurance heavily but are not really focused on it as a company.
While we did not weigh whether or not a company is focused on motorcycle insurance when making our picks, we did consider their understanding of and dedication to the motorcycle community. All of our picks have strong connections to that community and have made a real effort to provide products that meet their needs.
We also considered the company’s overall reputation, including customer satisfaction ratings and claims handling, since a great policy does not count for much unless it’s backed by a great claims experience. All of our picks have built a reputation both in general and with riders as well.
Rates are also an important factor, and our top choices all rank among the best value for motorcycle coverage, bearing in mind that value is a combination of price and what you get for your money.
Our Top Recommendations
The number one motorcycle insurer in the U.S. is Progressive, which has been following Geico in the climb up the ladder of auto insurance market share to land in third place – pushing out Allstate – for 2017. Progressive covers a wide range of bikes, offers a slew of discounts, and has been working hard to earn the trust of bikers. They sponsor a multi-city motorcycle show among other activities in the motorcycle community.
Their motorcycle products are comprehensive and include a lot of extras in the standard policy. Progressive doesn’t have as high a rating on Consumer Affairs as Allstate, but it is hard to ignore the size of their market share – which according to their website is one in three riders.
Geico, which is currently the second-largest auto insurance company by market share in the United States, also has a big share of the motorcycle insurance market. They focus a lot of advertising on riders and offer a slew of discounts, including one just for switching to Geico. As a company overall, Geico has solid ratings, ranking high in consumer satisfaction surveys and also ranking for some of the best rates around.
They have also made strides towards supporting and becoming a part of the biker community; Geico is listed as a sponsor of one of the biggest motorcycle events in the country, the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. It also helps that Geico’s rates are consistently among the lowest, and they offer coverage for most types of bikes.
Allstate is another big name that has put a lot of focus on advertising their motorcycle insurance products. Like Geico, they offer a discount for transferring your insurance over, along with a long list of available discounts. Allstate, however, is not generally known for having the best rates due to their captive agent model that generally results in higher prices. They do have a strong reputation among motorcyclists, however, according to the reviews on Consumer Affairs.
This is the company of choice for those who prefer to work with an insurance agent, and they’re also a good bet if you’re looking to bundle insurance. Like the other two, Allstate is involved in the motorcycle community through sponsorships and is working hard to earn their place in our top three.
Choosing Motorcycle Insurance
For many people, taking out a motorcycle policy with the same company that insures their car is a good bet. The multi-policy discount is usually one of the best, and assuming you’re already getting a good value on your car insurance, adding a motorcycle can make that an even better deal.
It is a good idea, though, to shop around whenever you are looking to take out a new policy – and not just for the new product. If you’re looking to add a motorcycle to your insurance, take the time to get some bundling quotes from other insurers. It could help you to get a better rate overall.
A word of caution on motorcycle insurance; the lowest rate is not always the best choice. This is true of all insurance, but it is an especially weighty warning when it comes to motorcycles.
Because motorcycles are considered higher risk, especially if they fit certain categories for insurance purposes, they can sometimes be pricey to insure. The best way to mitigate that cost is, as previously mentioned, to bundle with one insurance company. It is also important to look for insurance that offers a lot of discounts for safe riders – and reputable companies will offer these.
Low-cost insurance that seems too good to be true is often just that – it cuts your coverage in order to get that premium down, leaving you with inadequate coverage in the event of a claim. Always make sure you’re comparing apples to apples and remember that the value your insurance policy delivers is calculated by more than just the least expensive rate.
Finally, there are a number of smaller, regional insurance companies out there that focus solely on motorcycle insurance. Rider Insurance, for example, is a motorcycle-only company that offers policies in eight states. Rider Insurance is likely to appeal to those who are deeply connected with the biker community, as they support that community through sponsorships and discounts for some biker associations. Their policies, however, do not really differ from what you might find at a big-name insurance company.
For the average motorcycle owner who rides on weekends or recreationally, or even someone who rides a commuter bike but does not consider themselves part of a community of motorcycle enthusiasts, companies like Rider may not hold as much of an appeal.
The Bottom Line
Although they are not motorcycle-only insurers, Progressive, Geico, and Allstate have all put a lot of effort into their motorcycle programs, and it shows. All three are sponsors of major motorcycle events, proving their dedication to the community. All three have a good selection of of discounts to offer and the financial strength to provide peace of mind.
Any of these big three are going to provide you with great motorcycle coverage. The specific company that can offer you the best rates will depend on what kind of bike you own, what other policies you may have with them, where and how you ride.
For a list of companies that we recommend, visit our Best Insurance Companies page.