Risk is real! Motorcycle insurance is a necessary accessory to manage the risk.Are you paying too much for your motorcycle insurance?
In this article
If anyone ever tries to tell you that it is possible to live without risk in your life, that person has not lived. In fact, the risk of being on two wheels is one thing that makes motorcycling so exhilirating.
This article invites you to be very realistic about the risks of motorcycling and give you a few tips to help you get the most for your Motorcycle Insurance dollar.
The D.A.R.E. program has been used to keep kids off drugs for years. The same acronym can be used to show us how to stay away from risk.
D.A.R.E. to carry Motorcycle Insurance
Let me explain what I mean by each of these in the context of motorcycle insurance:
D - Unnecessary risks might include riding at excessive speeds or not performing preventive maintenance tasks on your bike. Have you checked your tires' air pressure or tread depth lately? Don't drink and ride definately applies here also.
A - Evaluate your financial situation and prepare to take some of the risk yourself by maximizing the deductible on your motorcycle insurance policy. This alone could save you considerable money.
R - Reduce your exposure to motorcycling's risks by riding on roads with a good surface, riding at reasonable speeds, and always stay off your motorcycle when you've had alcohol. Better yet don't drink at all!
E - Educate yourself by taking a MSF riders course and practice your motorcycle riding skills often. If possible ride to work to keep your skills sharp.
Once you've evaluated your level of risk and took
steps to manage that risk, you need to get the motorcycle insurance
policy that best fits your needs.
How to get the best policy for you
Don't shop motorcycle insurance by price alone. We all want to save as much as we can on motorcycle insurance, but in some cases we truly do get what we pay for. If you find a deal that seems just too good, it should raise a red flag. Look closely for exclusions that may render the motorcycle insurance policy almost useless for your situation.Recognize what a good motorcycle insurance policy would look like including what coverages you need and the levels of those coverages. Here are some optional coverages you will see when shopping for motorcycle insurance:
Can you afford not to have insurance?
Your Motorcycle Insurance policy allows you to ride with peace of mind that you are protected from a major financial disaster. This is done by having liability coverage sufficient to cover your assets.
You will see a line on your motorcycle insurance policy for collision coverage. This is the coverage for damage done to your motorcycle regardless of who is at-fault. Here is where a deductible will come into play. You normally will have selected a figure like $250, $500 or $1,000 as the portion of the expense that you will pay out of your own pocket. The insurance company will cover the amount above that level up to the limits of the policy.
Next, you will see comprehensive coverage. This will cover such things as theft, fire, hail, vandalism, glass breakage, hitting an animal, etc. In this case your motorcycle has been damaged, but not in an accident as we normally think of it. Any such damages are paid for under this provision. (Here again, a deductible comes into play).
Towing / Pickup Coverage
Included on your motorcycle insurance policy might be towing coverage. They are basically what the words indicate. Towing is to cover the expense of having your motorcycle picked up when you're broke down in the middle of nowhere.
Property Damage or Injury to Others
Now let's look at what is needed when you are at-fault in the accident and other people are injured and property gets damaged. This is certainly the major area of concern for any motorcycle owner. Even though a motorcycle is smaller than a car, they could still cause major damage to other people's property. Most states will have laws requiring that liability motorcycle insurance be carried. If you have the motorcycle financed, the lending institution will certainly require collision and comprehensive coverage. They need to protect their investment.
Liability is a financial obligation that has been created because you caused injury or property damage to someone else. This coverage could be 'Single limit' or 'Split limit'. In either case the policy will help pay for any damage that is your fault.
Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist
Uninsured Motorist is coverage that you buy from your insurance company for the liability of the other driver who has no insurance.
Underinsured Motorist is coverage that you buy from your insurance company for the liability that goes beyond his policy limits.
Calculating the premium
Since the goal is to buy the best possible motorcycle insurance coverage at the lowest possible price, it is important to understand what goes into determining your premium. Please keep in mind that this will vary from state to state and from one company to another.
What Factors Determine Costs?
Where You Live
You may not like it, but if you ride in New York, Los Angeles, or Houston you are going to pay more for motorcycle insurance than someone who lives in south central North Dakota. The risk of an accident certainly has to be included in the insurer's calculations.
Good Policy Checklist
A good policy should have coverage for personal injury and property damage. The various components that your policy may have to cover the various risks are these:
The younger you are the more likely it is that you will be involved in an accident. The rates for teen drives are understandable. They are, of course, less experienced and also tend to take greater risks.
There is no surprise here. If you have DUIs on your record or a pile of speeding tickets, the company is going to increase your rates. Period!
They certainly will take into account the number of claims that you have filed in the past. If you file a claim every six months, you are a high risk and will pay accordingly.
Value of Your motorcycle
The costs for your collision and comprehensive coverage will be directly affected by this. So if you have a taste for the expensive motorcycles, be ready to pay more.
Gender and Marital Status
Most states will have laws on the books now that call this discrimination so it may not be a factor in your state. I will let you guess as to which gender has the higher risk. But, it has been clearly proven that a married person becomes a better driver and has fewer accidents.
Where and How to Save on Motorcycle Insurance
Do not assume that the policy and company that you currently have is the best just because you have been with them. It is always good to shop this, and all other insurance, at least every three to five years. The internet has made it easy to get quotes.
This area can have a major impact on your premium and needs to be looked at very closely. It only stands to reason that if you self-insure by carrying a high deductible, then the insurer has less risk and, therefore, can lower your premium. This is generally going to apply only to the areas of collision and comprehensive coverage.
Pick an amount as high as you can stand and get a quote for that amount. Compare all levels starting at $250 and going up to $1,000 on your collision. You might be very pleasantly surprised at the rate reduction. For comprehensive you will want to check out $100, $250 and $500 and see what it does for you. If you raise the deductible and then have an accident in a short time, it will seem to have been a poor decision. But, keep a long-term perspective and you will find that it should pay off.
Dropping Collision and Comprehensive Coverage
There can be situations where this makes sense. If you own your motorcycle and it's several years old it will be basically depreciated. If the cost of replacing your bike is well within your financial means, your money may be better spent on new chrome or a new helmet or other gear :-)
Get seasonal Coverage
Some policies allow you to automatically drop your collision coverage over the winter months and since it's likely you won't be riding anyway, by all means take advantage of this feature. You will still be covered in case of theft or natural disasters in most policies, but check your quote or policy to make sure.
There are many factors which are taken into consideration when arriving at your premium. We also looked at many things that we can do to qualify for discounts that are frequently offered.
I also noted several things that you can and should consider doing that are not insurance, but just common sense items that reduce the chances of having an accident.
This article was not meant to be an all encompassing discussion of all the facets of motorcycle insurance, but I hope that you now are better equipped to get the most for your motorcycle insurance dollar.
Now get out there and RIDE!
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