Storing A Motorcycle In The Winter And Lay-Up Insurance

Find the Cheapest Insurance Quotes in Your Area

Currently Insured?

A lot of motorcycle riders live in places that experience a winter season (some longer than others) that prevents them from riding their bike. To save money on motorcycle insurance while they aren’t riding, some might consider canceling their policy but they should think twice. There are other ways they can save without compromising their coverage.

Cancelling Motorcycle Insurance In The Winter

Planning to save on motorcycle insurance by cancelling your policy before the winter and renewing it in the spring is ill-advised. Almost all insurance policies typically have a one-year term and a carrier might charge you a termination fee for cancelling it early.

Some motorcycle insurance carriers charge a cancellation fee for terminating a policy early, but they also might refund a policyholder a prorated amount for the months they were not covered. For example, a policyholder might cancel a policy costing $1,000 per year (the average in the U.S. is $519) only halfway through the year and be refunded $500. If they are charged a typical $30 cancellation fee, they might only receive $470 after cancelling the policy.

That savings might be appealing and beneficial in the short term, but cancelling a motorcycle insurance policy and renewing the same one a few months later might not work as smoothly as a rider anticipates. 

There’s a chance a rider’s motorcycle insurance company will recognize they are cyclically cancelling and renewing their policy to save money and choose not to insure them again. If that happens, a rider would need to get insurance from another carrier and the premiums might be more expensive. Depending on how long they plan to own their motorcycle, they might end up paying more in premiums over time than the amount they saved been insurance policies.

Cancelling and renewing a motorcycle insurance policy to save money also opens a window of uninsured risk. Even if a motorcycle is only sitting in a garage during the winter, there are still opportunities for it to be damaged or stolen. If something happens to a rider’s bike during the period it is uninsured, the rider would have to pay to repair or replace it entirely on their own. This situation assumes the rider’s motorcycle insurance policy includes comprehensive coverage.

There is also a chance unseasonably warm weather will occur and someone might choose to take their bike out for ride. In that case, the rider who cancelled their motorcycle insurance might not be able to get a new policy that same day and be unable to legally ride.

“Lay-Up” Insurance And Storing Motorcycles

Some carriers offer what are called “lay-up”motorcycle insurance policies. They allow policyholders to effectively pause the liability, collision and other coverages on their motorcycle while maintaining the comprehensive protection. The policies are commonly offered in northern states of the U.S. where driving conditions November through March are too hazardous for motorcycles. 

In places with long winters, many riders choose to store their motorcycle with no intention of riding it until the season changes. “Lay-up” policies are ideal for those riders. Others who think they might ride their bike sometime in the winter months should either maintain their coverage as they normally would, or make sure their policy can accommodate unseasonably warm weather.

Insurance carriers that offer a “lay-up” period (or some form of mid-term coverage alteration) also might include a “sunny day clause” that allows them one day of liability coverage during the lay up period.

Raise Your Deductible To Save

Increasing the deductible for a motorcycle insurance policy’s comprehensive coverage will lower the cost of the premiums. A higher deductible – the amount toward a claim paid by the policyholder – reduced the cost of premiums for a GEICO motorcycle insurance policy as much as 35% for a sample rider and bike. It’s a simple way to make premiums more affordable without compromising coverage or risk judgement by your insurance carrier for cancelling your policy.

Insurance DeductibleAnnual Premium*
(No Comprehensive Coverage) $99
$50 $313
$100 $283
$200 $273
$250 $244
$500 $219
$1,000 $202

*The annual premiums quoted by GEICO were for a sample rider: a 45-year-old male who is married and lives in Ohio. The sample motorcycle was a 2016 Harley-Davidson Street Glide.

How much every motorcycle owner can save on premiums by increasing their deductible depends on the insurance carrier, motorcycle and the deductible itself. It’s possible other motorcycle insurance companies offer better reductions in price for deductibles than GEICO. Although, GEICO offers one of the best selections of deductibles.

For motorcycle owners who don’t ride their bike frequently, either due to seasonal changes or by choice, increasing the cost of their deductible is an especially good method to save on premiums. They are probably less likely to get get into an accident because they aren’t on the road as much. 

Comments and Questions