There were 7.7 million motorcycles on U.S. roads as of 2008, according to the U.S. Federal Highway Administration, the most recent data available.
If you are in the market for motorcycle insurance, most states require you to carry a minimum amount of liability coverage. Liability insurance covers bodily injury and property damage that you may cause to other people involved in an accident. It does not cover you or your motorcycle.
It is very important to note that the basic motorcycle policy does not provide PIP (Personal Injury Protection) coverage as would be included in an auto policy nor will the PIP coverage on your auto policy cover you if you are involved in an accident while on your motorcycle.
An additional endorsement could be added to your liability insurance to provide such first-party medical coverage, in the event you want to be reimbursed for bodily injury expenses you incurred while on your motorcycle. You may also be able to purchase coverage for medical bills received from an injured party, ranging from $2,000 to $25,000. And check whether your liability coverage includes Guest Passenger Liability, which provides financial protection in the event that your passenger is injured while on your motorcycle.
Other, usually optional, coverages available to motorcycle owners are: collision (covering damage to your motorcycle); comprehensive (covering damage caused by events other than a collision, such as fire, theft or vandalism); and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (covering damages to you and your property caused by another driver who either does not have insurance or whose insurance is inadequate). Always ask your insurance agent or company representative which insurance coverages are required in your state.
It is also worth asking about motorcycle accessories coverage for items such as add-ons, customizations, aftermarket parts and anything else you may have added to your bike since purchasing it.
Many factors can affect how much you will pay in motorcycle insurance premiums, including:
Driver’s age and driving record
Where the driver lives
Model, style (sports bike vs. cruiser) and age of the motorcycle
Number of miles the motorcycle is driven each year
Where the motorcycle is stored
There are also ways of saving money on motorcycle premiums, with discounts ranging anywhere from 10 percent to 20 percent, depending on the company and the state. Some common discounts include:
Motorcycle association discounts
Discounts for experienced riders
Installation of antitheft devices
Discounts for graduates of training courses, such as the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) Rider Course
In many northern states, seasonal motorcyclists can consider buying a “lay-up” policy, in which all coverage except comprehensive is suspended during winter months
Insurance companies have separate requirements for helmets. Be sure you understand your state law and that you have read your policy to see what it requires when it comes to wearing a helmet.
If you carry seasonal coverage on your motorcycle, which allows you to eliminate liability and perhaps collision coverage in the winter months if you do not ride, check to make sure your policy is up to date and that you have a current insurance card before riding this summer.
Scooters for yourself or your teenager also must have insurance. Talk with your insurance agent or company about who will be operating the scooter. Some insurance companies might offer a discount for safety courses.
All-terrain vehicles (ATVs) are also not covered by standard automobile insurance policies; however, your homeowners policy might partially cover your liability on an ATV. Ask your insurance agent or company if this coverage is enough to protect you and your family. You might want to consider a separate ATV policy to make sure you are properly insured.
Other questions to ask your insurance agent or company:
Are there age restrictions on who may operate the ATV?
Does my policy cover friends or family who are operating the ATV?
Is there a discount for taking an operator safety course or for riding with a helmet?
If you have specific questions about boat, motorcycle or ATV insurance, contact us at the Minnesota Department of Commerce. You can email your questions to
firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Consumer Response Team at 651-296-2488 or (for outstate MN area only) 1-800-657-3602.