The Best and Cheapest California Motorcycle Insurance

The Best and Cheapest California Motorcycle Insurance

We looked at five of the most popular motorcycle insurance companies in California and found that Geico had the cheapest insurance for most riders, at an average of $780 per year. That's more than $1,000 cheaper than the state average of $1,816.

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The best motorcycle insurance companies in California

We looked at five of the most popular motorcycle insurance companies in California, considering cost, coverage options and customer service, among others. We have a main pick that will be a good fit for most motorcycle riders, plus extra options for people with more specialized insurance needs.

Best for most people: Geico

Consider this if Geico is the best insurance company for riders in California due to its fantastic prices and great customer service.
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Based on our research, the best motorcycle insurance company for California riders is Geico. Geico offers affordable rates and well-regarded customer service to its riders.

Geico's average price statewide was $780 — 57% cheaper than the typical annual rate we found in California. Geico has a positive complaint index of 0.79, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). This means the company has been the subject of only 79% as many complaints as a company of its size.

As one of the nation's largest insurers, Geico is also a great choice for bundling with other insurance policy types. By insuring your car and motorcycle with the same company, you can typically reduce your bill for both, while simplifying your monthly bill payments in the process.

Geico’s biggest drawback is that it doesn't have as many coverage options as other insurers, which may deter you if you have specialized coverage needs. While Geico allow you to buy optional coverage for accessories and roadside assistance, there aren't options for things like OEM parts.

Best for affordable coverage options: Allstate

Get a Quote Allstate has more coverage options than other affordable insurers, at a price that's still on the affordable side.
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For motorcycle riders who want more coverage options than the basics but still want an affordable price, we recommend Allstate.

Allstate offers many coverage options that will appeal to frequent riders, such as replacement cost coverage, towing and rental reimbursement, which is especially valuable to riders who depend on their motorcycles as their primary vehicles.

Furthermore, Allstate's prices were on the affordable side. Its typical rate was $1,399 per year, 23% cheaper than the state average of $1,816 per year.

However, we were dissatisfied with Allstate's customer service ratings. It received a complaint index of 2.09 from the NAIC. That means Allstate was more than twice as likely to receive a complaint as a typical insurance company of the same size. As a result, it suggests that Allstate customers are more likely to be dissatisfied with their service.

Best for military families: USAA

USAA offers insurance at a discount from a company with strong coverage options.
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Military service members, veterans and some of their family members can get a discount on their motorcycle insurance through USAA. The company has some of the best customer service around but is only available to a limited group of consumers.

USAA doesn't sell its own motorcycle insurance but instead works through Progressive. USAA members get a 5% discount, which can be added to Progressive's strong set of discounts. We were also impressed with Progressive's coverage options, including useful extras like carried contents coverage and trip interruption coverage.

It's worth noting that Progressive's pre-discount prices for motorcycle insurance are on the high side in California — an average of $2,774 per year. Even USAA's discount may not bring Progressive's rates down enough to make it competitive with other insurers. Always make sure to get multiple quotes to ensure you've found the best price for you.

The best-reviewed California motorcycle insurers

When selecting a motorcycle insurance company, price is important, but so is the quality of service. When we evaluate an insurance company, two key ways we measure its level of service are the complaint index issued by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) and AM Best’s financial stability rating (FSR).

The NAIC complaint index measures how many complaints a company has received relative to its total insurance premiums, with lower numbers indicating better performance. And the AM Best financial stability rating is an overall measure of how strong the company is from a financial perspective. A company with a better AM Best rating is more likely to pay out claims, even in widespread disasters and economic downturns.

Insurer

NAIC complaint index
AM Best rating
Allstate2.09A+
Dairyland2.69A+
Geico0.79A++
Progressive2.27A+
USAA0.98A++

Markel did not receive any personal passenger vehicle insurance complaints in 2020. However, as a specialty insurer, it also has a very small market share, so its score of 0 may be an anomaly.

Note that the NAIC combines automobile and motorcycle insurance into a single industry category; as such, these complaint indexes are based on each company's combined premium dollars for motorcycles and cars.

The cheapest motorcycle insurance companies in California

We collected 204 motorcycle insurance quotes to determine the most affordable option for California riders. Geico had the best price, with an average annual cost of $780.

Column chart showing the cost of five motorcycle insurance companies in California

Motorcycle license requirements in California

To operate a typical motorcycle in California, you need to hold a Class M1 license, which also allows you to drive mopeds and motorized scooters. Note that a Class M2 license allows you to operate other two-wheeled vehicles but excludes motorcycles. If your motorcycle has a sidecar or three wheels, you would need a Class C license instead.

In order to apply for and obtain a California motorcycle license, you’re required to:

  • Pass a vision test
  • Pass a written test
  • Complete a California Highway Patrol motorcycle basic rider course (or a driving test if you're over 18)
  • Obtain a Certificate of Completion of Motorcycle Training

If you are under 21 and want to apply for a motorcycle license, you must hold a motorcycle instruction permit for 6 months before applying.

Motorcycle insurance requirements in California

Motorcycle insurance is required in California for all drivers. The state mandates the following levels of liability insurance coverage:

  • $15,000 bodily injury liability coverage for injuries to one person in an accident
  • $30,000 bodily injury liability coverage for total injuries in an accident
  • $5,000 property damage liability coverage

Though other forms of insurance, such as medical payments and uninsured motorist coverage, aren’t required to drive a motorcycle in California, we recommend consider ingthem when purchasing a policy.

We always recommend people buy insurance that matches their coverage needs, but given the inherent risk of riding a motorcycle, it's crucial to do so for motorcycle insurance. California's legal motorcycle insurance minimums only include liability coverage, which pays for damage you cause to others. Motorcycles are in crashes far more often than cars, and you are at a greater risk of injury and damage to your vehicle than a car would be in the same crash.

For example, when we were selecting a sample quote that we felt would be indicative of most people's coverage needs, we opted for $350,000 of total liability coverage, plus comprehensive and collision coverage that pay for damage to the rider's motorcycle.

Motorcycle insurance costs: city-by-city breakdown

To help California motorcycle riders understand the cost of insurance statewide, we calculated the citywide averages for 40 of the largest cities in California to help understand how rates compare statewide.

City
Average cost
% difference from average
State average$1,816
Antioch$2,08614.9%
Bakersfield$1,763-2.9%
Berkeley$2,04712.7%
Chula Vista$2,28225.7%
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Methodology

To do our statewide motorcycle insurance rate analysis, we collected 204 quotes for motorcycle riders across the state of California. Our sample rider profile was a 45-year-old man who owns a 2021 Harley-Davidson Street Glide. Coverage limits include:

  • Bodily injury liability coverage: $100,000 per person/$300,000 per accident
  • Property damage liability coverage: $50,000 per accident
  • Collision coverage: Included/$500 deductible
  • Comprehensive coverage: Included/$500 deductible
  • All other coverages: Not included

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.