At this point in the year, the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security reports that 133 people have died in motorcycle accidents. This is compared to 114 for the entirety of 2011, and this could very well mean that the state might have their third highest death rate in more than a decade.
The U.S. Government Accountability Office conducted an audit and found that with fewer limitations on the federal grants used to promote motorcycle safety, the state could see more benefits, maybe leading to fewer deaths. There are those that argue the driver is ultimately responsible and the allocation of funds does not change a bad driver. Despite where the money is being funneled, motorcycle accidents are still occurring and riders need to know how to best protect themselves and their passengers.
Insuring a Motorcycle
Motorcycles can be considered prized possessions and are rarely the sole transportation vehicle for one person. Just to purchase a motorcycle can be expensive and many come with customizable options that make the bike that much more of an individual statement. This can become very expensive on top of the original cost. As with any item of high value, you want to make sure that it is properly insured in the case of an accident. To insure your motorcycle, you will need to purchase a special insurance policy. Just as with car insurance, most states require that motorcycle drivers have some form of insurance but policies can be expensive and you need to know what is available to choose the correct coverage. Your car insurance provider may have an option for motorcycle coverage but it is completely separate from your car insurance.
How to Purchase the Right Motorcycle Insurance
As with any insurance, it is best to shop around to find the best rates. Finding motorcycle insurance can be just as easy as searching for car insurance as long as you know what you are searching for and what you need. You should always check to see what the minimum legal limits are required by your state but in the event of a serious accident, it may not be enough to cover the different types of damages. Liability will not cover any damage done to your personal bike. If you already own auto insurance, you could check with them to see if they offer motorcycle options. They might offer a discount for holding multiple policies but just because that is where your car is insured does not mean they will provide the best rate.
As car insurance has specific factors that determine a premium, so do motorcycles. While some factors remain standard such as age, driving record, and your physical location other factors specific to bike ownership come into play. The style of motorcycle is very important.
Ben Sheridan, general manager of motorcycle insurance for Progressive Casualty Insurance Co. says that, “From one bike to another, they can be five to ten times different.”
As an example, he noted that a small or mid-size commuter bike might have a premium of $200 while a high horse powered hog could carry a premiums reaching up to and above $1000. That’s a significantly different amount of money spent depending on bike style.
It is also important to take into consideration your riding style. Is your bike being ridden year round? Will you be carrying passengers? Will you be participating in any kind of track races or just street riding? You can also check to see if there are any discounts offered for taking safety courses. Once you have taken all this into consideration and know the minimum amount required by law, you can begin to tailor your insurance package.
What Motorcycle Owners Need to Pay Attention To When Buying Insurance
Consider the age of your bike. As with a car, if it is older you may be able to forgo collision and comprehensive, which will drastically lower your premiums. Also, if you have comprehensive health policies where you work, Med Pay, which is basically medical coverage, could be left off your policy. As a secondary policy, it would only cover those expenses which weren’t covered by your health insurance. Just make sure those health insurance limits can cover the unexpected or you have enough saved to cover any that it won’t. If you bike is shiny and brand new, Collision and Comprehensive will be more expensive but will pay off if you are in an accident. Comprehensive will cover any unexpected damages such as theft and weather damage and collision is there in case of accidents.
One of the more important things to note particularly for motorcycle drivers is the coverage of passengers. While this is automatically built into most car insurance policies, not all motorcycle policies include this aspect. Some states require that this be on a policy while others do not but if you plan on having a passenger, be sure to purchase guest passenger liability. This will cover any damages sustained by the passenger in the case of an accident.
Will Your Motorcycle Affect Your Car Insurance?
Since motorcycle and car policies are purchased separately, rarely do your motorcycle rates factor into your car insurance premiums. If you receive multiple citations on your bike, that can affect your driving record, which may in turn affect your auto policy. But, you can possibly save money by combining both policies at the same insurer. Approach motorcycle insurance the same way you would car insurance and be sure to purchase what you need but make that will cover you and any passengers in the case of an accident or other unexpected circumstances. Safety is of the utmost importance, no matter your mode of transportation.