Best Motorcycle Insurance in North Carolina

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    5-Second Review

    Progressive’s robust policy options and excellent financial stability are hard to beat, but older drivers might find GEICO attractively affordable.

North Carolina is home to some seriously amazing biking territory. As Bob Mihalko, manager of Team Charlotte Motorsports, put it, “NC has the finest roads for pleasure riding east of the Mississippi.” Ironically though, the state has around the fewest options for motorcycle insurance on the east coast.

Out of eight insurers that met The Simple Dollar’s minimum requirements, I found only three that directly offer policies in NC. When I got quotes, they ranged from $193 (compared to Florida where some riders can get insurance for $35 a year) all the way up to $600. What I learned is this: Progressive is the best motorcycle insurance company in the state thanks to a strong combination of coverage options, customer support tools, and excellent financial stability.

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The Best North Carolina Motorcycle Insurance

  1. Progressive
  2. GEICO
  3. Nationwide

North Carolina Motorcycle Insurance Reviews

Progressive

Progressive excels at coverage options. In fact, it’s the only company I reviewed that offered every single type of coverage I looked for. If you want coverage for a vintage bike, for example, Progressive is your only option – GEICO and Nationwide don’t offer it. Progressive is also the only top pick that offers “actual agreed value coverage,” which means that customers can collaborate with an agent to determine how much money will be paid out if something happens to the motorcycle. (This is super important for those who own decked-out rides or classic vehicles that are difficult to valuate.)

For both of my basic coverage personas, Progressive and GEICO landed at $210 a year. What’s interesting, though, is that Progressive’s annual premium for the 55 year old rider actually went up by $10 a year for my recommended coverage ($583 for the 26 year-old and $593 for the 55 year-old). This clearly illustrates the fact that Progressive does not offer a “mature rider discount” like GEICO does. But even though Progressive doesn’t give older riders a discount, its rates are generally the cheapest overall — especially for younger riders.

Progressive received an “A+” from A.M. Best, which is the second-highest financial stability rating available, but that was pretty much par for the course in NC. Nationwide also got an “A+,” while GEICO pulled slightly ahead with an “A++.” Here’s the deal: Any of my three top picks are going to be able to pay your claim when the time comes.

GEICO

GEICO has the highest financial stability rating of all three companies, but it’s not for everyone; it’s line of discounts and policy offerings don’t quite compare to Progressive. For instance, customers won’t be able to take advantage of a paid-in-full discount, safe driver discount, or guest passenger liability coverage. Another interesting downfall is that GEICO doesn’t allow you to file claims on a mobile app. Instead, you are redirected to a web portal which isn’t quite as sleek and user-friendly as Progressive’s smartphone-friendly claims reporting. However, GEICO got a 5-star rating from J.D. Power for billing accuracy and timeliness, meaning that its customers are completely happy with the clarity of the billing experience and policy information — and that’s commendable in my book.

Younger riders are at a slight disadvantage with GEICO (but that also means older drivers get a nice break). As I applied for quotes for upgrade coverage, the gap between GEICO and Progressive only grew larger: Coverage for a 26-year-old was almost $100 more expensive. However, my quote for the same persona at 55 years old dropped down to over $120 cheaper than Progressive.

Nationwide

Nationwide’s lineup of discounts and coverage fall right between Progressive and GEICO: Nationwide doesn’t offer mature rider or safe driver discounts like GEICO, nor does it offer actual agreed upon value coverage like Progressive. What’s most important, though, is that it does have all the basic coverages and grants customers a paid-in-full discount — that’s one of the primary discounts I was looking for in my evaluation.

I always recommend going opting for more than the bare-minimum coverage, but it that’s all you’re looking for, Nationwide is pretty competitive. My quote was a few dollars cheaper each year compared to GEICO, plus it has the next-lowest average in the state according to Value Penguin.

How I Found the Best Motorcycle Insurance in North Carolina

I like to ask two main questions when considering any type of insurance policy. First, does the company have the policy options and tools to serve me well? Second, does the company have the financial stability to pay my claims? The best motorcycle insurance in NC needed to be strong in both categories, so I started my search with a list of eight companies that have excellent marks — just like in The Simple Dollar’s national motorcycle insurance review.

Specifically, I sought out companies with financial strength rating of “A+” or higher from A.M. Best and Standard & Poors, along with a set of basic “must have” coverages: medical payments, property damage liability, uninsured motorist, liability, collision, and comprehensive coverages. (Both A.M. Best and Standard & Poors are global leaders in assessing the overall performance of an organization or company.) I also evaluated each company on discounts, claims, and my overall experience with the quote process. And to help hone in on the best insurance for riders of all ages, I got quotes for two fictional personas. One was a 26 year old married homeowner with 7 years of riding experience, and the other was a 55 year old married homeowner with 25 years of experience.

And to take it one step further, I had a chat with Bob Mihalko (the manager of a local dealership) to learn about the most popular rides in the state. I settled on a 2010 Harley-Davidson Softail Fat Boy and got two different quotes for each persona: one for state-minimum coverage, and one for my recommended coverage. Finally, I crunched the numbers, focusing heavily on cost, but also considering other factors like available discounts, online quote tools, claims process, and coverage options).

In the end, I found out that age made little difference in premium cost with Progressive, while GEICO gave a huge discount for age and experience. I also discovered that Nationwide wouldn’t give an online quote to someone under the age of 37. Here’s how my quotes stacked up:

My Annual Premiums for State-Minimum Coverage (30/60/25)

Motorcycle Insurance Provider

Persona 1:

26 year-old

Persona 2:

55 year-old

Progressive

$210

$210

GEICO

$210

$210

Nationwide

N/A

$193

My Annual Premiums for Upgraded Coverage (50/100/25)

Motorcycle Insurance Provider

Persona 1:

26 year-old

Persona 2:

55 year-old

Progressive

$583

$593

GEICO

$665

$473

Nationwide

N/A

$533

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How much coverage do I need in North Carolina?

State-Minimum Coverage

North Carolina has some of the most strenuous motorcycle insurance laws in the country. All NC riders are required to have insurance. But while most states simply require liability insurance, North Carolina takes it a step further and tacks uninsured motorist coverage on as a requirement as well. The liability requirements are $30,000 per person and $60,000 per accident for personal injuries. And $25,000 in liability insurance for property damage is also required. The minimum limits for uninsured motorist are the same as liability. Both are usually referred to as 30/60/25.

Recommended Coverage

While the state-minimum insurance is more robust than many states, I still recommend opting for more than the minimum. When gathering quotes for my recommended coverage, I went with $50,000 per person and $100,000 per accident for personal injury, and $25,000 for property damage. I used those limits for both liability and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. In addition I chose to include comprehensive and collision.

My decision to go with higher limits for liability and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage is based one major statistic: in 2013, the average cost of an incapacitating injury from a crash was $74,900. Whether you hurt someone in an accident, or someone hurts you and doesn’t have enough insurance to cover the medical bills (or any insurance at all), you need insurance to save you from some serious debt.

I recommend purchasing at least 50/100, if not 100/300 due to the increased risk that comes with riding a motorcycle — riders aren’t as protected on motorcycles as they are in a car. Between 2004 and 2013, 184 motorcycle riders were killed in North Carolina according to a report published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The bottom line is this: don’t skimp on uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.

Why few companies offer motorcycle insurance in North Carolina

It all boils down to the fact that the state sets the minimum requirements for motorcycle insurance so high. Since the state requires all riders to carry uninsured motorist coverage, the risk of huge payouts is too great for many companies to justify doing business in the state.

The Bottom Line

If you’re looking for the most bang for your buck, Progressive is the way to go. But that doesn’t mean you should stop there. The only way to know you’re getting the best and competitive rate is to invest some time and get quotes from all the top companies.

Find the Best Motorcycle Insurance Rates

Enter your ZIP code below and be sure to click at least 2-3 companies to find the very best rate.