Motorcycle insurance is very similar to auto insurance. Riders are required by law to have bodily injury and property damage liability coverage in most states. A number of optional insurance coverages are also available to motorcyclists – here is a breakdown of each one and why riders should consider purchasing them.
Guest Passenger Liability
In some states, bodily injury and property protection are required to include guest passenger liability coverage, which protects anyone riding on the back of a driver’s motorcycle. But policies that don’t already include guest passenger liability still usually offer it as an optional coverage.
Having separate protection for anyone who might hop onto the back of a bike is good idea, especially for some riders. While one motorcycle owner might never have any passengers, another might have a passenger on the back very frequently.
Total Loss Coverage
Some insurance carriers offer total loss coverage, or some version of it, for motorcycles that are totaled in a crash. That means no matter the book value of the bike, the insure will pay the suggested retail value toward its replacement.
This could mean a substantial difference in the amount an insurance company pays out for a crash because motorcycles are like other vehicles. They significantly decrease in value the moment they are driven off a lot and are considered used.
Total loss coverage might only be available for the first few years of a vehicle’s life, since insurance companies can’t afford to replace bikes that are worth considerably less the older they are. It doesn’t make a lot of sense for a carrier to pay out the MSRP of a bike that might only be worth, say, 20% of what it once was.
Contents And Personal Belongings
Most riders don’t just invest in a motorcycle, they invest in a helmet, gloves, jacket, tools and other gear, and expenses for those things add up fast. To make sure all of the necessary personal effects associated with a motorcycle are protected, insurers sell additional coverage.
A nice perk to coverage for contents and personal belongings is that it doesn’t just apply to items directly related to the bike. It will also cover your cell phone and other belongings. For example, if a motorcyclist has a backpack with clothes or other valuables, that would be covered.
Contents and personal belongings don’t have to be stolen or damaged in a crash to qualify for a claim either. They might accidentally fall off a motorcycle and be lost, which would be covered.
Adding this coverage might be worth it to more riders than others, depending on the value of their personal property and how often them transport other items with their motorcycle. Relative to the cost of motorcycle insurance, coverage for a rider’s contents and personal belongings is not exorbitant.
Roadside assistance is another coverage that some insurance companies might include, but it is typically optional and can be added to a policy in exchange for a higher premium.
In most cases, if a rider buys the coverage, they are getting peace of mind that fixing their bike can be done with as little stress as possible. Roadside assistance programs often will tow a motorcycle to the nearest shop, free of charge. They also usually cover battery failure, flat tires, or mechanical or electrical breakdown and include free delivery of water, oil or fuel.
Riders considering this optional coverage should make sure they don’t already have these benefits by any other means, such as a membership to AAA.