Custom Motorcycle Insurance

Custom Motorcycle Insurance

Find Cheap Motorcycle Insurance Quotes in Your Area

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Custom motorcycles and choppers — bikes that have been modified from their original design — are required to have motorcycle insurance like any other bike.

But unlike most two-wheel machines, custom motorcycles are often one-of-a-kind and can be difficult to insure.

Most custom motorcycle owners will not be able to get a quote for their chopper online and, instead, will have to work with an agent in person or over the telephone. Below is a walkthrough of custom motorcycle insurance and everything else a bike owner needs to know when it comes to shopping for a policy.

What does custom motorcycle insurance cover?

Motorcycle insurance policies typically include standard coverage along with valuable add-ons to protect your custom ride.

If you cause an accident, bodily injury and property damage liability coverages pay for the other party's medical expenses and property repair bills. Most states require this type of coverage, and almost all motorcycle insurance companies offer it for custom bikes.

But because liability insurance won't cover any of your own repair costs following an accident, many riders choose to buy collision and comprehensive coverages. This portion covers the costs to repair or replace your own motorcycle following a covered incident. Collision and comprehensive coverages come with deductibles, which are typically higher for custom bikes.

That's because choppers are one-of-a-kind machines and typically more valuable than regular-production and classic bikes. Beyond the cost of fabricated parts, the labor costs associated with repairing or replacing custom components are significantly higher.

For example, a basic motorcycle paint job can cost more than $1,000 — and customizations such as unique artwork, custom frame and handlebars, and expensive factory parts could push the value of a bike even higher. These bikes might also take longer to repair, further driving up repair bills. Insurance companies must cover these higher costs when a rider submits a claim, so they'll raise premiums accordingly.

Another popular coverage is an optional one: medical payments. MedPay covers your own medical bills and anyone else who's injured while riding. Coverage for uninsured and underinsured motorists (sometimes shortened to UM/UIM) pays for bodily injuries and damage to your custom motorcycle if you're hit by a driver who's inadequately insured.

The coverage requirements and options may differ for ATVs, mopeds and scooters, and dirt bikes. Check your local department of motor vehicles for rules and regulations, and ask your insurer about protection.

Who needs custom motorcycle insurance?

Every motorcycle owner has a need for insurance whether they have a new, inexpensive bike or a pricey chopper.

Most states require motorcycle owners to have bodily injury and property damage liability if they ride on public highways or roads.

But even a motorcycle that's meant only for show and never sees the open road likely needs insurance. Your bike could be stolen, vandalized or even damaged in transit. Without insurance, you'd be stuck paying for any expenses out of pocket.

Custom motorcycle owners arguably need insurance more than other bike owners because of the vehicle's high value. As we mention above, the cost of custom parts, upgrades and labor hours increase the value of bikes compared to what is available out of the factory. This higher value tends to require greater insurance coverage, especially when it comes to comprehensive or collision coverage.

Gathering custom motorcycle insurance quotes

Most insurance companies, such as Liberty Mutual's Safeco Insurance and Allstate, will only quote custom motorcycle insurance policies via phone call because it's too difficult to determine value online. The agent will ask you a series of questions to gauge the value of your unique bike and the cost of your insurance.

Nationwide does not offer online quotes for custom motorcycles either, but unlike other major carriers, it asks specific questions relevant to choppers. The company has a category for custom and limited-edition bikes that shoppers can select, and it asks what type of modifications have been made. No other major carrier includes both those details in their online quoting, which suggests that Nationwide's quotes might be more accurate going into the call with an agent.

Although a phone call might seem time-consuming, it's in your best interest to negotiate the bike's value and figure out how much coverage you need.

Other companies, such as Geico and Progressive, cover customizations to factory-built motorcycles. At the end of the quoting process, it's up to the owner to choose adequate coverage for their chopper. But it's best to call an agent to discuss coverage and check limitations.

Custom motorcycle insurance discounts

It's generally more expensive to insure a customized motorcycle, but choppers are generally eligible for the same motorcycle insurance discounts as factory-built bikes.

When gathering quotes for your custom bike, ask the insurer about its menu of discounts. For example, you might qualify for a discount if you bundle policies or use anti-theft devices. Depending on the carrier, discounts could be as high as 30% or more off of a regular premium.

Chris Moon

Chris is a Product Manager for ValuePenguin with years of experience in addressing critical questions about mortgages and homeowners insurance. He spends his time evaluating insurance providers and policy features to understand where consumers might find the most cost-effective coverage. Chris has contributed insights to the New York Times and many other publications.

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.