Motorcycle Insurance

Does The State You Live In Affect Your Motorcycle Insurance Rate?

Few people are probably using motorcycle insurance premiums to decide where to live, but they still might wonder who has the best rates after paying their annual premium. Like auto insurance policies, the cost of motorcycle insurance (which also covers ATVs, mopeds, scooters and dirt bikes) varies a considerable amount across states.

In a ValuePenguin study that gathered motorcycle insurance quotes from as many as five carriers in all 50 states, for a sample rider and policy, a number of states had substantially cheaper or more expensive policies.

The five states with the most affordable motorcycle insurance policies – North Dakota, Iowa, Oklahoma, New Hampshire and Wyoming – all had average rates in the study that were at least 32% lower than the U.S. average ($519). The same study showed the five state with the highest premiums were Louisiana, Texas, Michigan, Delaware and Florida.

Rates in the most expensive place, Louisiana, were more than 3x the cost of the cheapest place, North Dakota.

The reason some states have much higher rates than others is hard to answer. Claim history in an area is largely what insurers use to price policies but some might think: There must be more motorcycle riders in the states where rates were higher? In fact, the opposite is true.

New Hampshire (the fourth cheapest state) has the second most motorcycles per resident, with one bike for every 17 people. South Dakota, which has one motorcycle for every 12 residents, has the ninth cheapest motorcycle insurance rates. Clearly the ratio of motorcycles to residents has little or no bearing on the cost of premiums in a state.

Considering the five cheapest states, It’s possible that geography has an impact on rates. More specifically, the climate of some states. Many of the states with the cheapest motorcycle insurance rates were located in the midwest, where the winters impact the number of days motorcyclists can ride. Few days means less time on the road and fewer accidents, driving rates down.

However, this theory doesn’t really hold up when considering the states with the most expensive motorcycle insurance rates. Louisiana, Texas and Florida have few days during the year that would prevent a motorcycle rider from taking their bike out, but Michigan and Delaware both have snow-heavy winters. The number of motorcycle ride-friendly days is certainly fewer in those two states than the other three.

Another factor that impacts motorcycle insurance rates is theft, although this might not be as significant as many believe.

Motorcycles are highly sought after by thieves and easier to steal than cars. Reported motorcycle thefts in the U.S. increased 6% to 45,555 in 2015, according to the National Crime Information Center of the FBI.

The number of thefts doesn’t grow or shrink in tandem with the cost of motorcycle insurance rates, though. California had the highest number of motorcycle thefts, by far, with 7,221 in 2015. Florida, where motorcycle insurance rates are higher, had the second most reported thefts, but a distance total number: 4,758.

Michael Thrasher

Michael is a former research analyst at ValuePenguin covering property and casualty insurance, including homeowners and renters insurance.