You probably think shopping for motorcycle insurance is about as much fun as eating a gravel sandwich at 40 miles an hour. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
At Guy P. Williams Insurance Agency, we’ll help you shine a headlight on this subject by giving you some insider tips.
#1: TRY TO SHOP IN ADVANCE
When shopping for motorcycle insurance, it pays to plan ahead. Buy it before you need it. Don’t wait until the day before to buy a policy. Do your research and buy your plan a few weeks ahead. Your rate will be lower because you will have shown yourself to be a better planner, someone who is more responsible.
Another reason you may get a better rate is that buying in advance helps insurance companies protect against fraud. People who purchase policies weeks ahead of time pose no risk of filing claims for accidents they have already had. Smart.
#2: DON’T BE FOOLED BY PLANS WITH LOW PREMIUMS
When comparing the costs of insurance plans, remember: premiums are only part of the equation. Oftentimes, plans with lower premiums have higher deductibles and are missing key coverages, which means one serious claim could cost you big time.
Look at not just the premiums, but the deductibles and coverage limits as well. Small differences on paper can make a very big difference in what you’ll actually pay if you have to file a claim.
Price is an important consideration, but ultimately, it’s the coverage that matters. After all, the reason you buy insurance is to help protect yourself against financial loss. If your low-cost ‘econo’ plan doesn’t do that, you’re essentially wasting your money.
#3: CHOOSE THE RIGHT COVERAGE
If you want to cover your bike against damage or loss, you’ll want collision or comprehensive coverage.
Collision coverage helps to cover damages to your bike in an accident involving collision or upset, regardless of fault and regardless of whether the other party has insurance. Comprehensive coverage helps to cover losses not caused by a collision—such as theft, flood, and fire.
Collision and comprehensive each offer three types of settlements. Which one you choose will decide how the value of your motorcycle is determined should you file a claim.
The most common settlement type, ‘actual cash value’ takes into account depreciation. If you are facing a total loss, the insurance company will pay you the market value of your motorcycle at the time of your claim.
‘Replacement cost settlement’ coverage pays for the cost of a new motorcycle with no deduction for depreciation. If you have a new bike, you may want to consider replacement cost settlement.
Lately, ‘agreed value settlement’ is the best option for collectors or people with classic, custom, or highly accessorized bikes. This type of coverage essentially “locks in” the value of your motorcycle at an agreed-upon price, with depreciation only for tires, battery, and engine parts.
If you have this type of coverage and the worst happens to your bike, you will receive payment for the agreed-upon value if the insurance company is unable to replace your bike with one of equal quality, make, and model.
#4: YOU SHOULDN’T FORGET ACCESSORY COVERAGE
Accessory coverage protects what collision and comprehensive don’t, which is anything and everything that isn’t “stock” on your bike. We’re talking custom paint, pipes, seat, and even riding gear such as your leather riding jacket.
So, how much accessory coverage do you need? To decide, you need to account for everything added onto the bike that is not included from the manufacturer. That means anything added by the dealership or a previous owner.
#5: LEARN THE LINGO
You’d be surprised how many consumers are sure that their insurance policies cover something, only to find out after filing a claim that it does not. That’s why it is so important to understand the different coverage options available to you and make sure you have what you need.
Liability insurance helps protect you financially if you are at fault in an accident that causes damage to someone else’s property, or injury to someone who is not insured on your policy.
Other less well-understood coverages include:
Uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage. This helps provide protection for your injuries or death if you are involved in a motorcycle accident with a motorist who has no insurance or insufficient coverage, and is considered at fault.
Uninsured/underinsured motorist property damage coverage. This helps provide additional protection against damage to your motorcycle caused by a motorist who has no insurance or insufficient coverage, and is considered at fault.
Medical payments coverage will help to cover medical payments, after any other medical coverage, if you or a passenger are injured on your bike, regardless of who’s at fault.
#6: DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK QUESTIONS
Ask questions! Lots of them. Motorcycle insurance is no easy topic, but you deserve to talk to someone who is willing to help you understand.
#7: SHOP AROUND
Because finding the right motorcycle insurance policy is so important, we recommend comparing coverage and prices from at least three different companies.
Quotes are free, and most take only a few minutes.
Just make sure you compare apples to apples. Find out what is included in a basic policy, and what costs extra. Slight differences in quoting can add up to big differences in your premiums.
Some of the larger insurance companies would be happy to sell you a motorcycle insurance policy to go along with your existing home or auto coverage. This strategy, known as bundling, is great for insurers, but it’s not always the best choice for consumers.
We hear all the time from customers who used to bundle their motorcycle coverage with a single ‘cover-it-all’ insurance company. They thought bundling would save them money, but in the end it cost them more time, money and hassle than it was worth.