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motorcycle insurance

liability insurance

In most states, motorcycle riders are required by law to carry two forms of liability insurance: bodily injury and property damage liability coverage. Like the names suggest, these cover any injury to others or damage a motorcycle rider might cause to a third party while operating their vehicle. Bodily injury and property damage liability does not cover you (the rider) or the motorcycle itself.

If you’re involved in a collision, a third party will typically file a liability claim against your insurance company for whatever damages you’re believed to be responsible for. Therefore, liability insurance is sometimes referred to as third-party insurance.

Every motorcycle insurance policy limits the amount of money it will pay out to others for bodily injury and property damage, respectively. The limits are frequently shown with slashes between them, for example: $25,000/$50,000/$10,000. The first number is the claim limit, or maximum dollar amount, per injured person an insurance company will pay out after a crash. The second number is the claim limit per accident. The third number is the claim limit a policy will pay to another party for any property damaged by the policyholder, or rider.

Comprehensive insurance

Full coverage motorcycle insurance generally refers to a policy that includes both liability insurance as well as comprehensive and collision insurance for your bike. Comprehensive and collision insurance are different from property liability insurance in that they cover your own damages if you’re involved in an accident or your bike is damaged. These policies are required but are typically worth the cost if your bike is relatively new or would be expensive to repair.

In the event your motorcycle is involved in an accident—with another vehicle or an object—collision coverage pays for the cost to repair or replace your motorcycle, minus your deductible. It usually covers up to the Kelley Blue Book value of the motorcycle, which is an aggregate price of the identical bike for sale across thousands of dealerships in the U.S., rather than a claim limit that is a specific dollar amount.

Comprehensive motorcycle insurance covers repair or replacement costs to your motorcycle in the event of nearly anything other than a collision. For example, if your bike was damaged in a fire or storm, vandalized, or stolen, those things would fall under comprehensive coverage. This coverage is valuable even when you’re not riding the bike, so we recommend maintaining comprehensive coverage even when storing your motorcycle.

Remember that collision and comprehensive coverages usually only pay for the cost of factory or standard parts. Any additional parts, features, paint jobs, graphics or other additional equipment will probably not be covered by your motorcycle insurer unless you’ve added specific coverage for it. Coverage for those types of upgrades, if available, would typically require a special policy or endorsement.

Uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance

While it’s not generally required, motorcyclists can also add uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (sometimes shortened to UM/UIM) to their motorcycle insurance policies. It covers injuries to you as a rider, as well as damages to your bike caused by another driver who is inadequately insured. Whether the driver doesn’t have any liability insurance or the cost of your damages was beyond the limits of their policy, this picks up where their coverage leaves off.

Uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage usually pays for medical bills, lost wages and other damages a policyholder might incur if the other party involved was not adequately insured. However, UM/UIM coverage offered by some insurance policies does not include personal property damage. You would have to opt in to uninsured/underinsured motorist property damage coverage as well.