Driving a motorcycle provides a new level of freedom, but with it comes responsibility. As fun as riding one can be, it is not without risks. Like or not, there are particular risks involving motorcycles, and accidents can be quite perilous.

As you would with any type of vehicle, you will need insurance if you want to protect yourself, those around you, and your budget. No matter if you’re a novice biker or you’ve been riding for years, you know having modest motorcycle insurance is a must. You and your motorcycle must be ready for the unexpected: Accidents happen, and they have to be taken care of immediately. To help, we put together some of the most important insurance coverage types and requirements you might need to get on with your two-wheels adventure.

Motorcycle Insurance Requirements

Whether you own a car, a motorcycle, or a truck, if you plan to drive it on public roads, it must be registered with the legal agency in your state. One of the requirements for registration of a motor vehicle, including a motorcycle, in most states, is proof of insurance coverage meeting required minimum coverages for property damages and bodily injury.

Liability insurance, which is almost always required, covers other’s damages or injuries if you are at fault. The minimum amount of liability insurance you must pay for the vehicle is the same as your state’s car insurance minimum conditions.

Property damage and bodily injury coverage protect you against claims filed by other parties in the event of an accident caused by you. When someone else suffers physical injuries and proves you were at fault, the financial load of compensating them is met by your insurer under the liability coverage. The damage you cause to another property or vehicle is covered by the damage coverage.

If your state mandates that all motorcycle drivers have insurance, the operation of the motorcycle without the minimum coverage is a violation of the law. However, states like Washington, Montana, and Florida do not specifically require motorcycle drivers to show proof of insurance.

If you live in one of those states, it’s recommended to have motorcycle insurance, even though your state doesn’t require it. You either choose to be safer than sorry or be prepared to be financially accountable for claims from damage caused by an accident that was your fault.

Common Coverage Options

Coverage options for motorcycle insurance are pretty much the same as those you will find for car insurance. Besides liability and uninsured/underinsured motorcycle coverage, most insurance agencies offer these options:

Collision: This coverage type will cover damages to your vehicle, minus your deductible amount – the amount you choose when you purchase a new policy that’s deducted from a claim check. Comprehensive: Covers the expenses suffered if your vehicle is damaged or stolen by something other than a collision with another vehicle.

Medical expenses: Not applicable in all states, medical expenses coverage pays for medical bills you and your passenger suffer in an accident. Unlike personal injury coverage, medical payments do not cover lost incomes or other expenses.

Simply put, riding or driving a motorbike comes with risks, no matter how careful the driver might be. This form of payment comes in handy if you don’t have enough health insurance or don’t have it at all.

Personal injury protection: Pays out for medical bills you or other passenger or pedestrian suffer in an accident regardless of who is at fault. Note that rules might vary from one state to another, and some states may not allow insurers to sell the coverage to motorcycles specifically due to their great exposure to accidents.

Insurance for stolen or destroyed bikes

One of the most important things to understand about your motorbike coverage is how it pays out if your vehicle is stolen or destroyed. As we know, there are three types of reimbursements:

Actual cash value: Covers the amount of what your vehicle is worth, minus deductible and depreciation.

Stated amount: Cover the cash value you selected when you purchased the policy.

Agreed value: cover the amount you and your insurer agreed on when you purchased the policy. The amount does not change, and no deductible is taken from a claim check. Owners of customer or classic motorcycles are generally offered a stated amount or agreed value coverage.

What Do Insurance Companies Look at to Determine Costs?

Insurers take into account several factors when you’re deciding whether to cover your vehicle and the premium to charge if they do. Among those factors are:

Age: The best part about it is that your premium will get lower as you get older and more experienced. Due to their age (and the likelihood of accidents), younger riders encounter greater premiums.

Driving Record: Do you have traffic violations, speeding tickets, or accidents in your driving history? If that’s the case, you might have to pay a higher than usual rate. Your driving record can be an indication of future behavior, and insurance agencies like to see a flawless record.

Location: If you happen to live in a climate with a longer motorcycle-riding season, you might have to pay more for coverage than in a cold climate with a shorter season for biking.

Style and Type of Motorcycle: The same goes for those with a high-performance sport bike. The costs for coverage are much higher because you drive more often than someone with a lumbering cruiser.

Motorcycle Age: New motorcycles cost more to insure than older ones simply because replacing parts in a new motorcycle is much more expensive than those for an older bike.

Before your ride…

Purchasing and riding a motorcycle can be a blast in your spare time or provide efficient transportation if you have to commute. Note that in almost every state, you must hold a minimum of coverage for your vehicle. Be wary and explore all of your coverage options before deciding to buy one.