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Whether you’d like to embark on a cross-country adventure or you just enjoy riding around town, all motorcyclists need protection from unexpected circumstances. From accidents to breakdowns and property damage, motorcycle insurance is something that every responsible rider should have. In fact, it could be required depending on the state in which you live. Here’s what you need to know about motorcycle insurance policies and safe riding.

What Is Motorcycle Insurance?

Motorcycle coverage protects you, your passengers, and your motorcycle in the event of an accident. Most states require motorcyclists to purchase insurance when they start to ride, usually to the same degree as auto insurance minimum requirements. Depending on the type of motorcycle insurance policy you invest in, you can reduce your financial liability for medical expenses, repair costs, and more.

Motorcycle insurance is similar to automobile insurance in coverage, but differs in a few key aspects:

  • Passenger coverage is usually a separate purchase in motorcycle coverage, since passengers are a rarer occurrence on a motorcycle than they are in a vehicle.
  • Motorcycle accidents are more likely to yield injuries than a car accident, so you may need to purchase a higher amount of personal injury protection coverage than you would for a vehicle.
  • Motorcycle coverage isn’t always year-round. Many motorcycle insurance policies offer “Lay Up” options where you can reduce your monthly premiums by suspending some of your insurance during periods where you do not use your motorcycle, such as the winter months.
Man driving a motorcycle wearing a protective helmet

How Does Motorcycle Insurance Work?

If you have auto insurance, then you already have a good idea of how motorcycle coverage works. Just like auto insurance, motorcycle insurance policies help cover any related costs in the event of an accident. Depending on where you live and what type of insurance you have, your motorcycle insurance policy can cover the costs of any injuries and damages incurred by all parties and their property if you are found at fault.

After you are in a motorcycle accident, you will file a claim with your insurance company and discuss the facts of your accident. You can then receive compensation for your injuries and damages. If you were at-fault, the other party or parties will receive compensation as well. In the event of an accident, motorcycle insurance is a serious financial advantage.

Some motorcyclists believe that they don’t need insurance because it is simply an additional cost and is not useful; however, this is not true. Motorcycle insurance is beneficial to all riders, regardless of how often they ride their motorcycles, in a number of ways.

  • If you cause an accident and the other driver or rider suffers serious injuries, you could be responsible for their medical expenses. To avoid paying thousands of dollars in liability, motorcycle insurance policies will pay for these damages on your behalf.
  • Because you don’t have the same protections in a motorcycle as you would in a car, motorcycle accidents often result in serious injuries – which can lead to very expensive medical bills. Motorcycle insurance provides funds for your medical expenses so that you don’t have to drown in debt.
  • Since motor vehicles are significantly heavier than a bike, motorcycles tend to bear the brunt of the damage in a collision. These repairs can be very expensive and replacing your bike is just as costly as repairing it. When you have a motorcycle insurance policy, you can protect your bike, receive funds for your repairs, or even replace your motorcycle if you have a total loss.

Do I Need a Motorcycle Insurance Policy?

Motorcycle coverage may seem like an unnecessary cost for many riders. These individuals may believe that, since they are safe riders, they don’t need motorcycle insurance and can get away with riding around unprotected. However, motorcycle insurance is not only the smartest financial investment you can make for your bike – operating a motorcycle without it could be against the law.

In the majority of states across the country, all motorcyclists must carry a minimum amount of insurance coverage to lawfully operate their bikes. The requirements for these motorcycle insurance policies vary from state to state.

For example, California requires the following minimum insurance amounts for motorcyclists:

  • $15,000 per person injured in an accident (bodily injury liability)
  • $30,000 for bodily injury liability per accident
  • $5,000 for property damage per accident

California offers a standard plan for motorcycle coverage, but other states have greater minimum requirements. In contrast, Texas requires the following minimum motorcycle coverage amounts:

  • $30,000 in bodily injury liability per person
  • $60,000 for total bodily injury per accident
  • $25,000 in property damage per accident
What happens if I have an motorcycle accident?

If you do not have motorcycle insurance in a state that requires it, then you can face penalties that range from fines to losing your license. Only two states in the country do not require motorcycle coverage: Florida and Washington. Florida, however, does require some form of insurance in certain circumstances.

You should still consider making an investment in motorcycle coverage even if it isn’t legally required in your state. If you do not have this coverage and you cause an accident, then you could be on the financial hook for any injuries or losses. If you live in a state that requires personal injury protection insurance and you are in an accident that you did not cause, you cannot receive compensation for your own losses. In this case, you could find yourself injured and in thousands of dollars of debt. Having the means to financially protect yourself in the case of a motorcycle accident is the reason why so many states require at least a minimal level of coverage.

Man trying to make a decision to buy a motorcycle

What Does Motorcycle Insurance Cover?

When you purchase motorcycle insurance, you will have to decide what types of motorcycle coverage to purchase. Your state will require you to carry some types of coverage, while other policy options are additional but cover all of your bases in case of an accident. Listed below are the different types of motorcycle insurance coverage you could purchase and what they cover.


Liability coverage is the most common type of motorcycle insurance you can purchase, and most states usually require some amount of it. This motorcycle coverage includes bodily injury and property damage in the case of an accident. Liability motorcycle insurance helps cover your financial bases in the event you cause an accident, keeping you from having to pay for other people’s injuries.

Liability insurance covers costs such as:

  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Repair costs
  • Vehicle replacements
  • Lost wages
  • Pain and suffering
Man sitting next to broken down motorcycle

Collision Coverage

Collision coverage is another type of motorcycle insurance that kicks in when you cause an accident while riding. While liability insurance covers the losses of the other driver, collision coverage helps pay for your injuries and losses. Collision coverage pays for any damage to your bike, as well as your riding apparel, helmets, and other forms of property damage. You can use collision coverage if you collide with another driver while on the road.

Comprehensive Coverage

Not all motorcycle incidents involve another driver or a collision – in these situations, your comprehensive coverage helps you cover your losses. When a non-collision incident harms your motorcycle, comprehensive coverage can help you pay for the damage or replace your motorcycle. Some examples of situations where you can use comprehensive coverage include:

  • When someone steals your motorcycle
  • When a falling object, such as a tree limb or debris, crashes on your bike and destroys it
  • When a hail storm damages your motorcycle
  • When vandals destroy your motorcycle
Beware uninsured drivers signage

Uninsured and Underinsured Motorists Coverage

While all states across the country require motor vehicle operators to carry a minimum amount of insurance, not all drivers abide by this law. Sometimes, you might find yourself in an accident caused by an uninsured or underinsured driver – and if you need compensation for your injuries and losses, you could find yourself in a tricky situation. In the event that a driver cannot pay for your losses in an accident s/he causes, uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage can help. This motorcycle coverage pays for your property damage, lost wages, medical expenses, and other losses if you encounter an uninsured driver on the road.

Property Damage Liability Coverage

Most states require motorcycle coverage to include funds for property damage liability. If you cause an accident while riding and damage someone else’s property, including other vehicles and homes, you could be responsible for paying for this damage. Property damage liability coverage helps cover this physical damage for you, providing compensation for the people who need the repairs and helping reduce your out of pocket liability.

Medical Payments, No-Fault or Personal Injury Protection Coverage

If you live in a state that operates on a no-fault insurance system, you may need to purchase additional motorcycle coverage to pay for your losses. Unlike a traditional fault-based system, each driver or rider in an accident in a no-fault state is responsible for paying for their own losses. Personal injury protection coverage helps compensate for your injuries, providing funds for medical expenses such as:

  • Doctor’s visits
  • Medications
  • Surgeries
  • Mobility equipment
  • Lost wages due to recovery time
  • Physical therapies
  • Any other past and future medical costs associated with the accident

Multi-Policies for Multiple Bikes

Motorcyclists are often collectors, keeping multiple makes and models in their garages. Purchasing individual motorcycle insurance policies for each bike can become very costly. To combat this, you can invest in a multi-bike policy. Many insurance companies will allow you to cover up to four bikes under one policy, with further coverage available for additional bikes. With multi-bike motorcycle coverage, you can ride all of your bikes with the same peace of mind, knowing they are all protected.

Motorcycles parked in a row

Multi-bike insurance will look at each individual motorcycle you own and how you use it. Different bikes will receive different premiums from the insurance company, based on the road risk of each motorcycle. Insurers will usually charge you the premium on the most expensive motorcycle and you can add on your additional bikes for a much cheaper price. These policies include all of the same types of motorcycle coverage we discussed above, from comprehensive and collision coverage to bodily injury liability and uninsured motorist coverage.

Types of Motorcycle Insurance Coverage

How much motorcycle coverage do I need?

How Much Coverage Do I Need?

The amount of motorcycle insurance that you need to purchase will depend on a number of factors. First, you will need to look at your state’s motorcycle insurance requirements and ensure that you purchase at least the minimum amounts. In many cases, it is a smart investment to purchase more than the minimum insurance coverage you need to ensure you have enough protection in case of a severe accident.

Next, you will need to consider that not all insurance companies build motorcycle insurance policies the same way. Some policies have a lot of shortcomings and many holes in their coverage, such as not providing options for uninsured and underinsured motorists or personal injury protection. You will need to read these policies very carefully to ensure you receive the coverage you need.

Your specific coverage needs will depend on where you live and what your potential risks are – for example, if you live in a high-crime area, comprehensive coverage is very important. If you live in a safe, quiet area with a temperate climate, this type of coverage may not be a top priority and collision coverage may be more important. Traditional fault-based states will not require personal injury protection, while this coverage is a necessity in a no-fault state.

Motorcycle insurance is not one-size-fits-all. If you need to build a motorcycle insurance policy that fits your situation and risks, speak to a motorcycle insurance professional as soon as possible. A knowledgeable insurance agent can help you discuss your insurance options and learn more about the types of coverage that could benefit you. At the end of your meeting, you will receive a comprehensive and customized plan that fits your lifestyle and needs.

Invest in Motorcycle Insurance Today

Motorcycle coverage is one of the most important investments you can make as a responsible rider. If you need a helping hand designing the best motorcycle insurance policy for you, contact Acceptance Insurance today. Our insurance experts will guide you through your insurance policy options and help you create a plan that covers all of your bases, taking into account your state requirements and your location-based needs.