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Best Motorcycle Insurance in New Jersey
The Best New Jersey Motorcycle Insurance Companies
On average, motorcycle insurance in New Jersey will cost you $48 monthly or $573 annually. This is about 10% higher than the national average of $519 per year but well worth the investment. There were nearly 13,000 crashes involving motorcycles in New Jersey from 2009 to 2013 alone, and even a low-speed collision can result in significant damage to your bike or expensive liability if someone else is injured.
- Progressive – Best Overall (Cheapest Upgraded and Bare-Bones Policy)
- Allstate – Runner Up
- Markel – Honorable Mention
To find the best motorcycle insurance in New Jersey, I started where best motorcycle insurance national review left off. Using similar methodology, I considered the nation’s best in terms of financial stability, claims processing, and breadth of coverage and discounts. Then, I took it to the local level and investigated the 3 top providers who write insurance directly in the state (no middlemen) and compared them according to your likely needs.
Here’s what I found: The average American motorcycle owner is around 41 years old and male (men represented 90% of bike owners in 2003.) Among bike types, sales of both sport bikes and bigger models (750cc +) have been on the rise nationwide and so are likely popular among the 149, 963 registered motorcycle owners in New Jersey. The state has the second highest median household income in the entire country, but premiums can differ widely according to zip code of the rider. New Jersey mandates that motorcycle owners have insurance at certain minimum requirements, and though there is a cheaper Basic Policy option available in the state, this coverage is rather slim considering the risks you’re likely to encounter. A look at both state minimum and upgraded coverage options is warranted.
Enter Lenny, my persona for getting quotes. Lenny is a 40-year-old male with some money to burn. He’s a responsible homeowner in Newark with a clean driving record, and he’s looking to reclaim some of the zest of his youth. A brand new Harley Sportster 1200 Custom is flashy enough for weekend fun but sleek enough for his commute to the office, if he’s feeling wild. With a wife and kids to consider, he’s looking for decent coverage at a decent price.
I tested the process first-hand to get 4 quotes for Lenny from each provider, for both bare bones and upgraded coverage at 2 different zip codes. I evaluated the competitiveness of the quotes in a points system and then weighed this against providers’ scores for customer service perks, number of discounts, reputation for claims processing, and number of coverage add-ons available.
New Jersey Motorcycle Insurance Reviews
Allstate: Runner Up
Though my quote from Allstate was the most expensive of the top three ($70/month), that price comes with some added features that give it an edge over Markel. The claims process is on par with Progressive, offering a plethora of options for filing, 24/7 on the phone, online, or in person. The quote process online was likewise painless, and the website offered more than Markel in terms of learning about bike insurance issues via blog posts and other resources.
I appreciated that the coverage was clearly laid out with the option to click on the categories to get more information. The discounts for Lenny were also clearly delineated: $1 off for being a “good rider,” $387 for home ownership, and the option to save even more by paying for a year in full, up front ($117.) Unlike Progressive, however, the upgraded option provides less coverage and at an overall higher price, making Allstate a solid runner up.
Markel: Honorable Mention
Markel is yet another strong option. The upgraded coverage was almost identical to Allstate’s but with more specialized coverage options available (such as for trikes and vintage bikes) and better pricing ($8 less per month.) The lower price is accompanied by fewer frills, however, which a rider like Lenny who can pay that extra bit more more would appreciate.
What brought Markel down in my ranking was a less promising customer experience overall. Though research elsewhere on the website confirmed that Markel offers more discounts than Allstate (such as for bike features like a theft device and anti-lock breaks), the quote didn’t list out Lenny’s discounts like Allstate or Progressive, so it’s hard to know if those are actually working in my favor.
Markel also has fewer conveniences such as education resources or an app for filing claims. Interestingly, unlike my top two, all of the quoting, purchasing, and claims process was strictly online. There was no clear option to reach out to a human agent if I wanted to. This could create a snag, for example, if I’d like to ask about the lower-cost basic policy option that is available in New Jersey. Read more about that below.
New Jersey’s Motorcycle Insurance Minimum Requirements
Insurance is required for all motorists in New Jersey including motorcyclists. A look at the state minimum requirements for insurance yields the numbers “15/30/5.” This translates to coverage of up to $15,000 for any individual injured in an accident and up to $30,000 total for all injured people in an accident, plus $5,000 for property damage. This is for a standard policy.
In addition, the Automobile Insurance Cost Reduction Act mandated that a Basic Policy be available to New Jersey drivers at a lower cost. The Basic Policy requirements are significantly lower, at 10/10/5, but do not include coverage for underinsured and uninsured motorists. The New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance explains more differences between the standard and basic policy coverage.
In my quote experience with New Jersey providers, coverage at the standard levels (15/30/5) was the lowest amount that was offered online. You may need to reach out to a provider directly or the state insurance department for assistance with the basic policy.
The cheapest motorcycle insurance policy isn’t always the best.
If you aim for the minimum of either the standard or the basic policy, this coverage is likely to be insufficient. Consider some numbers:
- Every year in New Jersey, there are approximately 2,000 injuries resulting from motorcycle accidents, and the motorcycle driver him/herself stands an 83% chance of being injured.
- A driver not seeing a the motorcycle accounted for more than two-thirds of motorcycle accidents.
- The National Safety Council estimated the average cost of a crash at $9,300 for 2013, with non-debilitating injuries. If any of the injuries are considered disabling, the average cost can soar up to $80,700 per crash.
- In New Jersey, a claim can bring a potential premium increase of over 60%, even if you were claim-free previously.
My Recommended Coverage
Let’s imagine, for example, that Lenny is out riding one weekend. He is rear-ended at a stop sign by a distracted driver who is talking on his cell phone. He is thrown from his bike and sustains head injuries that are survivable but render him unable to do the complex mental processing that his job requires. All of this would be traumatic enough, but it could get worse.
Assuming the average cost of $80,700 for medical bills, administrative costs, and property damages, Progressive’s bare bones policy (with coverage of only up to $35,000 per accident for all injuries and property) would still leave approximately $45,7000 in damages uncompensated. Progressive’s upgraded policy, however, would cover the costs of this accident completely and leave plenty of wiggle room, up to $350,000 per accident for injuries and property. Purchasing the basic policy from Progressive ($10/month) rather than the upgraded policy ($44/month) would save Lenny $408 over the course of a year, but spending an extra $408 a year to safeguard against a potential $45,700 loss seems like a no-brainer.
Lenny and his family should not have to pay for short-sightedness in choosing less comprehensive coverage. Even seasoned and confident drivers can be in the wrong place at the wrong time. If you can afford it, I would recommend coverage of at least 50/100/50 (such as the upgraded coverage from Progressive) to ease the real risk of financial and personal disaster.
Where you live in New Jersey does indeed have an effect on your motorcycle insurance premium. Take a look at these monthly premiums for Lenny as a homeowner in both Newark and Brick:
New Jersey car insurance cost differs by city
If you have upgraded coverage from Markel for example, your zip code could make a difference by as much as $29 a month or $348 a year. That’s money that Lenny could be spending on a new seat, saddlebags, or other fun accessories for his Harley Sportster.
The reasons for this are as stark as the contrasts between Brick and Newark themselves. A smaller town nestled on the coast, Brick has been ranked among America’s safest cities. A lower incidence of crime lowers the risk of claims like vandalism and theft and thus a lower premium to insure your ride. At 21% lower than the state average for motorcycle coverage, Brick holds the title for cheapest location for motorcycle insurance in the state.
Newark, however, is the most populated city in the state and brings with it an increased risk of crime and other urban complexities that could lead to claims down the road. This amounts to a 73% rate increase over the state average, making it the most expensive motorcycle insurance in the state.