Here’s the deal: Motorcycle insurance in Massachusetts stinks. (That’s a darn shame, because it’s such a beautiful state.) For one, there’s less competition (only three of my top 8 companies offer motorcycle insurance in the state), which often leads to higher rates. What’s even worse, though, is that Massachusetts has far stricter minimum insurance requirements than the rest of the country.
Compare Affordable Motorcycle Insurance Rates in Massachusetts
Finding the best motorcycle insurance in Massachusetts isn’t an easy process. And if you don’t do your homework, you are likely to overpay. I got three quotes for the same policy – they ranged about $200 to more than $4,000 a year. That’s a difference of $3,800 for the same exact policy.
While $875 is the average cost for motorcycle insurance in Massachusetts, the national average is $519. That may not sound like much of a difference, but if you own your bike for ten years, that’s $3,560.00. Of course, your cost can have a huge variance depending on a slew of factors like your age, motorcycle model, driving history, if your motorcycle is kept in a garage or on the street, if you drive it for pleasure or to work, and policy type. To get an accurate idea of what you can expect to pay, use our quote tool above.
The Best Massachusetts Motorcycle Insurance
In my search for the best motorcycle insurance in Massachusetts, I found eight insurers in the state that passed the financial stability and coverage evaluations from our national review of the best motorcycle insurance companies. Then, I applied for quotes. It was at that point that I found out only three of the eight actually underwrote motorcycle policies in Massachusetts.
To get the quotes, I created a fictitious persona based on my imaginary self who’s a 26 year-old married homeowner living in Boston… who’s also a self-made millionaire. (I can dream, right?) I asserted that I had 7 years of experience driving a motorcycle and that I had zero accidents or tickets on my record. (For the record, that part isn’t imaginary. I’m clean as a whistle.) The hog I chose to ride cross-country with was a 2012 Harley-Davidson Street Glide, which is undoubtedly a perfectly comfortable choice for the scenic state that is Massachusetts.
In the end, one company did stand out, and it also happened to be The Simple Dollar’s national pick as well: Progressive. Overall, it tallied 118 points out of a possible 130 in our evaluation of available discounts, quote accessibility and ease, claims process, and coverage options. It was also the cheapest for state-minimum coverage.
I didn’t only get a quote for the state-minimum coverage, however. But, I did get a quote for my recommended coverage which is a substantial upgrade in coverage and, unfortunately, in cost.
What I observed is that, perhaps due to the lack of stiff competition in the state, there was a huge difference in the price points that I was quoted for the same policies. State-minimum coverage was $193 a year from one provider, and $1,275 from another – which just goes to show that getting multiple quotes is a must.
Here’s how my rates stacked up:
|Motorcycle Insurance Provider||State-Minimum||Recommended Coverage|
Massachusetts Motorcycle Insurance Reviews
Out of all the companies I evaluated (even the ones that didn’t offer insurance in the state), Progressive stood out. Unlike Safeco and Geico, you can submit claims right from an app on your smartphone. Progressive also has the most coverage options. While Geico won’t cover custom or vintage bikes, Progressive will – at an actual agreed upon value.
Overall, Progressive offered the cheapest coverage. For the state-minimum coverage, it wasn’t even close. At $193 it was almost half as expensive as Geico’s price point of $334. When it comes to the recommended coverage, Geico’s premium was slightly cheaper, but Progressive’s rate was still competitive. Thankfully, Progressive’s online quote tool was simple and easy to use, so it didn’t take me long to find all this information out (unlike Safeco which required me to call independent agents).
While Progressive is clearly a quality company, it doesn’t offer a “mature rider discount” like Geico does. As a result, if you are an older rider, you might get a slightly better rate with Geico. If that’s not a concern for you, Progressive’s impressive score of 118/130 in my evaluation (as opposed to Geico’s “83” and Safeco’s “95”) makes a strong argument to choose this company for your motorcycle insurance needs.
While Geico didn’t quite shine as bright as Progressive during my evaluation, it’s still a great backup choice. It’s a quality company that ranks well nationally, as well as locally. As it turned out for me, it’s “15 minutes or less” claim turned out to be legit. The quote process ended up being painless. Since I knew my bike’s VIN, I just had to input my personal information and answer a few simple questions to get my quotes.
When I did get my quotes, I found out that Geico was definitely competitive. It was a little more pricey for the state-minimum than Progressive, but it blew Safeco out of the water (a difference of $900+). When it came to my recommended coverage Geico was quite a bit cheaper than Progressive and Safeco’s quote didn’t even compare.
While Geico doesn’t offer quite as many coverage options as Progressive, including an “agreed-upon value” coverage, it could be the cheapest option for you thanks to its unique discounts. For instance, it offers a discount if you are a “mature rider.” Since Consumer’s Advocate gave it a “excellent” rating for coverage and additional benefits, financial strength, discounts and claims and reputation , Geico could be the cheapest option for you – it’s definitely worth your while to get a quote.
Safeco is a unique company in that it doesn’t offer direct quotes either online or over the phone in Massachusetts. Instead, it provides motorcycle through independent insurance agents. The company itself is quality – it offers some great discounts, and it’s coverage options and claim reporting tools are on par with Geico’s. For instance, it offers a discount if your motorcycle has an anti-theft device installed (like LoJack).
All that being said, getting a quote from the company was a seriously painful process for me. It took me over an hour and multiple phone calls before I was able to find an independent agent that offered Safeco Motorcycle Insurance. While I can’t be sure that every quote from a Safeco would be three grand more a year than the competition, it does illustrate the problem – a lack of consistency between independent agents.
If you already do business with an independent agent, or you can get a recommendation from a friend or relative, than Safeco might be a good option for you. Otherwise, I can’t recommend going through the painful process like I did to get a quote that ended up being less-than-competitive.
Compare Affordable Motorcycle Insurance Rates in Massachusetts
How much coverage do I need in Massachusetts?
The State Minimum
Getting motorcycle insurance in Massachusetts is a pain thanks to its strict requirements for minimum coverage, which you can see below:
- Bodily Injury Liability: Massachusetts requires $20,000 per person and $5,000 per accident. Expressed as 20/40. The coverage protects you from lawsuits in the amount purchased when the other party is injured in an accident.
- Property Damage Liability: The state requires a minimum of $5,000 per accident. When combined with Bodily Injury Liability, it’s written as 20/40/5. This is paid out to the other party in an accident to cover damage to their vehicle or property.
- Personal Injury Protection: This is required since Massachusetts is a “no-fault” state. The minimum is $8,000 in coverage. Motorcycles are exempt from this insurance. Motorcycles are also exempt from personal injury protection insurance, or PIP, in Massachusetts.
- Uninsured Motorist Coverage: This covers bodily injury sustained by you in the event that the other party involved in the accident isn’t insured. The state minimum is $20,000 a person and $40,000 an accident (or 20/40).
- Safe Driver Insurance Plan: Massachusetts does not require insurance providers to have their own safe driver merit rating plan if they prefer to choose the Safe Driver Insurance Plan instead. Under this plan, insurance carriers can reward lower premiums to drivers with clean driving records. They can also increase premiums for those who have received traffic violations or have been involved in an at-fault accident.
My Recommended Coverage
While liability insurance and uninsured motorist coverage is mandatory, I recommend increasing the liability coverage to $50,000 per person, $100,000 per accident and $25,000 for property damage (50/100/25), and increasing uninsured motorist coverage to $50,000 a person and $100,000 an accident (50/100). My recommended coverage also includes underinsured motorist coverage with the same limits (50/100) and collision and comprehensive with $1,000 deductibles. Below I will briefly discuss my reasoning for raising the limits and adding additional coverage.
Since the average cost of a non-incapacitating wreck was $70,500 in 2011, you would be on the hook for more than $50,000 if you only had the state minimum coverage of $20,000. Since costs can easily skyrocket if there is a serious injury, it makes sense to pay a few extra bucks a month for the higher liability limits (my cost for the year would only be about an extra $50 for the higher limits).
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage
When riding a motorcycle, most riders understand that they are putting themselves at a higher risk of serious injury in the event of an accident. Death and disabling injuries are not out of the realm of possibility. Financially speaking, the problem arises if the irresponsible person that injured you was also irresponsible with their insurance and let it lapse. In that case, you could be left to shoulder the cost of the majority of the medical bills yourself if you didn’t have uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage.
While the state does require uninsured motorist coverage, it doesn’t require underinsured motorist coverage (which comes into play when the driver doesn’t have enough insurance to pay your medical bills). Either way, you are left with $20,000 from your own insurance or $20,000 from the other parties liability insurance if you are injured with both parties having the state-minimum insurance.
Collision and Comprehensive
The wisdom of purchasing these coverages depends a lot on your personal situation. Factors like the cost of replacing your bike, and the area you live in should be considered. For instance, if you have a bike that’s only worth $3,000, you live in a good neighborhood, and your motorcycle is parked in a garage when not in use, then comprehensive insurance that would cover you bike if it’s stolen might not make as much sense. However, if your $9,000 motorcycle is your primary means of transportation and it’s parked outside at an apartment at night, comprehensive and collision insurance might be a good idea.
One big reason that there was a $600-$800 difference between the state-minimum and my recommended coverage for the Geico and Progressive quotes was due to comprehensive insurance. For instance, there was a $400 difference on my quote from Progressive when I added comprehensive coverage with a $1,000 deductible. My research suggests that the primary reason for this is due to a disproportionately high chance of theft in the state.
The statistics say that Massachusetts had 879 motorcycle thefts in 2017, but they are only 24th in the nation for number of motorcycle riders. This leads me to believe two things. First, the likelihood of getting your motorcycle getting stolen is higher than the national average. Second, insurance companies know this, that’s why comprehensive insurance is quite pricey.
Massachusetts Motorcycle Insurance Coverage Comparison
Here’s a comparison of the line of coverages offered by my top three recommendations:
|Uninsured Motorist Coverage||✓||✓||✓|
|Guest Passenger Liability Coverage||✓||X||✓|
|Medical Payments Coverage||✓||✓||✓|
|Property Damage Liability Coverage||✓||✓||✓|
|Actual Agreed Value Coverage||✓||X||X|
|Custom Motorcycle Coverage||✓||✓||✓|
Why are there so few motorcycle insurers in Massachusetts?
Let’s recap: I started with eight companies and ended with only three. And to be honest, the reason that there are fewer options for motorcycle insurance in Massachusetts compared to the rest of the country is unclear. However, my research does suggest one viable explanation. Despite the fact that the state has a great market for riders , its state-mandated coverage requires uninsured motorist coverage, which is optional in most every other states.
Why does that matter? Think about it this way. If an uninsured motorist hits you while you’re on your bike, the odds of you being severely injured are high — and that means huge hospital bills. If you have uninsured motorist coverage, your insurer would have to cover those bills… and it would rather not. Thus, some insurers have said sayonara to Massachusetts altogether.
What are helmet laws in Massachusetts? Will it affect my insurance rates?
Some states don’t require Individuals to wear helmets and if they choose not to, it won’t affect their insurance rates. But this is not true in Massachusetts. Drivers must wear helmets approved by the United States Department of Transportation (US DOT) when operating a motorcycle, motorized bicycle or motorized scooter in Massachusetts.
How do I register my bike in Massachusetts?
Before you can ride a motorcycle in Massachusetts, you must register it with the MA Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV). To begin the process, you’ll need to:
- Ask the dealer to complete an Application for Registration and Title (Form RMV-1).
- Purchase Massachusetts motorcycle insurance. You can’t ride your motorcycle without obtaining and showing proof of insurance coverage first.
You’ll also have to provide a bill of sale and proof of ownership. Provide payment for sales tax due (6.25% of the purchase price in Massachusetts), and pay the $20 registration fee and any other applicable fees.
Outside of insurance costs, what other fees and taxes do I have to pay to own and ride a motorcycle in Massachusetts?
- Regular motorcycle registration: $20
- Specialty motorcycle registration: $40 for reserved plates, $40 for antique plates, $40 for vanity plates
- Motorcycle inspection: $15
- Registration transfer fee: $25
- MA sales tax: 6.25% of the sales price
The Bottom Line
Massachusetts is a great state to ride in, but it’s lousy in terms of insurance. Finding a quality company that won’t charge you an arm and a leg is not easy. However, getting quotes from Progressive and Geico is a great place to start. It’s also important not to skimp on coverage. At the end of the day, it’s wise to purchase a policy that doesn’t overcharge you, but does protect you from financial ruin in the event of a serious accident. Check out the quote tool below to get started.
Compare Affordable Motorcycle Insurance Rates in Massachusetts