- Progressive: Best overall
- Nationwide: Best cheap motorcycle insurance
- Markel: Best bare-bones coverage
- Foremost: Best for owners of custom/vintage bikes
- USAA: Best for military members
When you consider that even the most careful riders can still get into an accident – or have their bike stolen or damaged – the need for good motorcycle insurance is clear. Just like car insurance, the best motorcycle insurance companies strike a balance between adequate coverage and affordability. As with all insurance, premiums will vary from person to person, but our top five picks — Progressive, Geico, Safeco, Foremost and USAA — are a great place to start shopping, no matter what kind of bike you own.
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Progressive: Best Overall: Progressive:
Progressive is a moderately rated behemoth in the insurance industry for home-owners and auto-insurance, but it was one of the best standard motorcycle coverage providers we found. With its collision and comprehensive, you automatically get $3,000 of additional coverage for custom accessories and safety gear. If your customization requires more coverage, you can increase itup to $30,000.
Purchasing collision and comprehensive coverage with Progressive also earns you Progressive’s OEM (original equipment manufacturer) guaranteeThis means Progressive will repair your Harley with genuine Harley parts. Progressive’s coverage comes with a no-depreciation, full replacement cost guarantee for qualified bikes. For example, if you total a motorcycle worth $10,000, and the current model costs $12,000, Progressive will pay $12,000 for the replacement bike.
Progressive’s online quote process is among the easiest, resulting in an online quote rather than a follow-up email or phone call from an agent. You can also easily make adjustments and customize your coverage all while viewing the impact to your premium. All providers here provide online quote options, however, we found Progressive to have one of the quickest quote processes and most transparent process for customization.
Best cheap motorcycle insurance: Nationwide
Nationwide ranks a close second to Progressive in terms of affordability and coverage. Like Progressive, it provides all the standard types of motorcycle insurance coverage, plus $3,000 of custom equipment coverage if you purchase comprehensive protection. This limit can be raised up to $30,000 if you need it. Nationwide also offers OEM coverage. Unlike Progressive however, Nationwide does require you to purchase this as an optional add-on, and its other drawback is that it only covers motorcycles under 10 years old.
Nationwide has addons and discount options that are comparable to Progressive’s. Owning a home and insuring multiple motorcycles can help you save. Bundling your motorcycle insurance with your home and auto policy is one of the best ways to cut your premiums down significantly if you are already a customer with Nationwide. Taking a motorcycle safety course is another good way to save with Nationwide. Nationwide also offers a further potential to earn discounts if you’re a member of a riding association or one of Nationwide’s affinity groups.
Best bare-bones coverage: Markel
Markel is a good option if you don’t need custom bike coverage. It offers all the basic types of coverage, but its accessory coverage falls behind the other companies on this list. If you purchase comprehensive coverage, you get $1,000 accessory coverage included. You can add up to $30,000 of protection for custom equipment, but you’ll have to pay extra for those higher limits.
A potential advantage Markel offers that no other company on this list does is coverage for mechanical breakdown. This pays for any repairs your bike needs due to normal wear and tear. If you’re interested in this type of coverage, Markel is worth checking out.
Nationwide and Progressive have a greater selection of potential discounts, but safety-conscious drivers should still find plenty of savings with Markel. If your bike has an anti-theft device or anti-lock brakes, you’ll be eligible for discounts. Completing a safety course and staying accident-free will also lead to savings.
Markel also offers accident forgiveness to drivers who go four years without an accident, and for every accident-free year you have, your deductible will decrease by 25% until it’s gone. This is a great advantage for safe drivers.
Best for custom or vintage bike Owners: Foremost
Foremost’s collision and comprehensive policies stand out for offering $3,500 worth of coverage for after-market equipment, making Foremost a great choice for bikes with significant custom additions. These policies cover your custom paint jobs and any other items that were added after your bike had been purchased from the manufacturer. If you need more than $3,500 of coverage, you can raise this limit up to $15,000. That same coverage also includes $1,500 to cover safety apparel, proving Foremost’s commitment to protecting your body as well as your bike.
Foremost provides coverage for vintage bikes 25 years old or older and limited edition motorcycles. It also writes policies for low-speed electric vehicles and “elite” custom bikes with over $30,000 worth of optional equipment.
If you ride with a DOT-approved helmet, Foremost will provide you with an extra $500 of medical payments coverage at no cost to you. And if your bike has a stolen vehicle recovery system, your “Other Than Collision” deductible will be reduced by $500 if your motorcycle is stolen.
Best for military members: USAA
USAA only offers insurance policies for military members and their families. In J.D. Power’s 2019 U.S. Auto Insurance Study, USAA earned top marks in all customer satisfaction categories in all U.S. regions, making it a perfect choice for military members and their loved ones.
Qualified USAA members can receive a 5% discount when they buy a motorcycle policy, along with discounts for taking a safety course and maintaining a claims-free record. USAA does not limit coverage to motorcycles; they also cover all-terrain vehicles, mopeds and scooters.
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What to know before you shop for cheap motorcycle insurance
1. Go with standalone motorcycle insurance rather than an endorsement on your existing auto policy.
If you already have good car insurance, you might be able to add motorcycle coverage as an endorsement or “rider” to your existing policy. But beware, the coverage you get through a rider likely won’t be as thorough, or as customizable, as what you’ll get with a standalone motorcycle policy. A standalone policy could also save you money, because endorsement pricing often doesn’t account for the precise risks of biking.
2. Know your state’s insurance requirements.
Most states treat motorcycle riding just like driving a car. States require certain levels of liability coverage and some require uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. If you finance your bike, the bank may require you to buy collision and comprehensive insurance, too. Before shopping for motorcycle insurance – or better yet, before you buy a bike – familiarize yourself with the types of motorcycle insurance coverage you might need.
- Liability (bodily injury and property damage): This covers expenses that result from injury to others, damage to their property or lawsuits they file after an accident. All states require liability coverage.
- Uninsured and underinsured motorist:This covers your medical and property damage costs if another person is at fault and doesn’t have adequate insurance, or in hit-and-run accidents. Many states require uninsured and underinsured coverage.
- Collision: Covers repairs to your bike after a collision. Though not required by law, lenders typically require collision coverage for financed bikes.
- Comprehensive: This covers repairs to your bike if it’s damaged by anything other than a collision, such as vandalism or weather damage, or if it’s stolen. States don’t require comprehensive insurance, but some lenders do.
- Customized parts coverage:This covers parts added to your motorcycle after purchasing it such as sidecars, custom paint and chrome wheel rims. States don’t require this special coverage, but a lender might.
Insurance is about protecting your financial future, and owning a motorcycle carries financial risks. There’s a good chance your state’s minimum motorcycle insurance coverage won’t be enough. Typically, the required insurance minimums aren’t that high, and in some states, they only apply to liability coverage, which pays for someone else’s injuries or property damage. To find out how much coverage you need, check the website of your state’s insurance commissioner or the Insurance Information Institute.
3. The best motorcycle insurance companies have four things in common.
Price and coverage are basic considerations, but also look for insurance companies that:
Are financially sound: AM Best rates insurance companies based on their financial stability, which plays a vital role in their ability to pay claims. Always check AM Best’s ratings when choosing an insurance company.
Offer all major coverage types: Whether or not it’s required in your state, you should still be able to buy all the protection you want for your bike, from extra liability to replacement cost collision coverage.
Offer discounts: If you’re a responsible rider who takes care of your bike, pays on time and is a loyal customer, your insurance company should reward you with a lower premium. When comparing insurers, look for the following discounts:
- Claims-free: For bikers who maintain a claims-free record
- Safety course: For motorcyclists who take an approved safety course to reduce the risk of getting into an accident
- Motorcycle association membership: For bikers who join associations such as the Harley Owners Group
- Bundling: For policyholders who bundle their motorcycle insurance with other types of coverage such as home or auto policies
- Anti-theft device: For bikers who install anti-theft equipment such as GPS or alarm devices
- Paid in full: For policyholders who choose to pay their entire premium in one payment
- Anti-lock brakes: For bikers who own motorcycles with anti-lock brakes
Make the claims process easy: Claims processes vary by company. Some companies have local agents, whom you can call to file a claim, while others only accept claims online or over the phone. The claims process comes down to personal choice. If you prefer to work with a dedicated agent, make sure the company you choose offers that option.
4. Prioritize your coverage according to your needs and budget.
If you ride your bike, you must comply with state minimum insurance requirements. But not all bikers need the same amount of coverage. Motorcyclists who own older bikes might choose to drop comprehensive and collision coverages. Collectors who never ride their bikes on the road, might decide to only carry comprehensive insurance to protect against theft or damage caused by fire or storms.
5. Older, less powerful bikes are cheaper to insure.
This isn’t a shocker, but the flashiest, highest horsepower motorcycles are also the most expensive to insure. The reasons include higher replacement costs, greater risk of accidents and higher desirability to thieves.
If you want to save money, you might not want to buy expensive models such as the 172-hp Suzuki Hayabusa. For getting from point A to point B, you’ll save money by buying an older bike with a smaller engine.
6. Umbrella coverage can be a cost-effective way to increase your motorcycle liability limits.
If you cause an accident that leaves someone else hospitalized, they could sue you for more than your liability policy covers. An umbrella policy kicks in when your primary liability policy comes up short.
7. If you’re insuring more than one bike, “stacking” can help you squeeze more value out of your uninsured motorist coverage.
When insuring multiple vehicles with uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage, some states allow a practice known as “stacking”. It’s a smart way to multiply your limits without buying any additional insurance.
If you have more than one vehicle on your policy and you stack your uninsured and underinsured coverage, you can multiply the limits by the number of vehicles covered. For example, if a biker owns two motorcycles, each with uninsured and underinsured coverage of $100,000 per accident, stacking the policies can increase the limit on both policies to $200,000.
8. Take a safety course, even if you’re an experienced biker.
Most motorcycle accidents happen within a person’s first month of riding. But even if you’ve been riding for years, it doesn’t mean you can’t improve your skills. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation licenses safety courses nationwide. Taking a safety course can make you more aware of the road, reduce your risk of accidents and save you money on your insurance premium.
9. Your credit score matters.
When you request a quote, don’t be surprised when insurance companies ask you for permission to check your credit history. Many states allow insurance companies to rate insurance premiums using a driver’s credit score, because studies have shown that people with poor credit often file more insurance claims. Motorists with higher credit scores will almost always receive a cheaper insurance quote than those with a low credit score.
The bottom line
Always protect yourself from financial risk by buying motorcycle insurance. The minimum legal coverage is rarely enough to offset real-world risks, particularly in states with low minimums where some drivers are more likely to drive without coverage.
The best motorcycle insurance companies allow you to tailor your coverage to fit both your bike and the risks that come with the way you use it. You’re never too old or too experienced to become a better driver, so taking a safety course is one of the best ways to save money on your insurance premium from Progressive, GEICO, Safeco, Nationwide, Markel, Foremost or USAA.
Frequently asked questions
Do states require motorcycle owners to buy insurance?
Typically, states require motorcyclists to carry the same levels of liability coverage as automobile owners. In some states, bikers must also purchase uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage.
Can I bundle my motorcycle insurance with my home and auto insurance?
Many insurance companies allow you to bundle your auto, home and motorcycle policies. It’s a great way to earn discounts on all your policies.
How can I lower my motorcycle insurance rate?
You can lower your insurance rate by earning discounts for maintaining a safe driving record, not filing claims or taking a rider safety course. If you own an older bike, you can often save loads of money by dropping collision and comprehensive coverages.
Can you insure a motorcycle without a license?
Most states require you to hold a motorcycle license to ride on roads and highways. Some insurance providers might consider covering collectible motorcycles, which the owner does not ride. But, if you want to insure a bike which you plan to ride, you’d better make sure you have a valid motorcycle license.