Nothing is quite like the experience of riding a motorcycle or ATV. You can feel the wind as you increase your speed and there is a sense of freedom. However, with that thrill comes some risk.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), the number of deaths per mile traveled on motorcycles was estimated to be nearly 29 times more than the number in cars. Further, about 300 ATV riders die each year on public roads and many more accidents occur.
While riding these vehicles is dangerous, motorcycle and ATV insurance can help you protect yourself and your vehicle while out on the road.
Motorcycle and ATV Insurance Guide
Motorcycle insurance coverage basics
If you drive a motorcycle, you need insurance. In many states, the minimum requirement is liability coverage, but it’s best to check with an insurance agent to find out the requirements for the state in which you live.
Standard coverage options
The motorcycle insurance coverage options available with many insurers include:
- Liability. If you cause an accident, liability covers the bodily injury and property damage you cause to others involved. An additional coverage option—guest passenger liability—may be available, which covers any injuries a passenger on your motorcycle incurs if you’re in an accident.
- Comprehensive. If your motorcycle incurs damage due to a covered non-collision event (e.g. theft, fire, falling object, etc.), this coverage will pay for the damages, minus your deductible.
- Collision. If you’re in an accident and are at fault, this will cover the cost to repair your motorcycle, minus the deductible.
- Personal injury protection. Available in some states, this will cover the costs of medical bills for injuries that you, your passengers, and pedestrians incur from an accident. It offers coverage no matter who is at fault and will cover lost wages.
- Medical payments. This coverage is also only available in some states. It covers the cost of medical bills if you or your passenger are injured in an accident.
- Uninsured/underinsured coverage. If someone causes an accident and doesn’t have any or enough insurance, this coverage will pay for the damages to you and your motorcycle.
Add-on coverage options
- Umbrella coverage. While not specific to motorcycle insurance, an umbrella policy can help to cover the costs if you get sued for causing an accident resulting in damages that exceed your policy limits.
- Customized motorcycle parts and equipment. If you have custom parts on your motorcycle (e.g., a custom paint job, chrome parts, etc.), you’ll usually need this extra coverage. Standard insurance coverage only covers the factory parts on motorcycles or limits the coverage.
- Roadside assistance. If your motorcycle breaks down and you need assistance, this coverage pays for towing and the costs of labor.
- Transport trailer. If you have a motorcycle trailer, this add-on can cover it against damages.
- Trip Interruption. If you plan to take long trips on your motorcycle, this coverage will pay out if you suffer a collision far from home. It covers the costs of transportation, lodging, and food.
Liability is often the minimum coverage requirement for motorcycles. However, it does not protect you or your bike.
If you cause an accident, fall victim to a natural disaster, or are hit by another driver who doesn’t have adequate insurance, the costs for damages will fall on you.
Being so, the more coverage you have, the less you’ll have to worry—the higher your premium will be, however. Analyze your level of risk against the cost to find the right balance.
Next, let’s look at the basics of ATV insurance.
All-terrain vehicle (ATV) insurance coverage
The definition of an all-terrain vehicle varies by state, but it generally refers to an off-road motorized vehicle with at least two wheels.
ATV insurance is not a legal requirement like motorcycle insurance, because the vehicles are not meant to be driven on roads or highways. However, liability insurance is a requirement in some parks and state-owned lands.
Be sure to review the regulations of the areas where you plan to ride. It’s also important to note that insurance companies provide specifications on the conditions under which the ATV is covered.
For example, damages incurred while commuting to work or riding for fun in a legal area would generally be covered. On the other hand, damages incurred while racing or riding on highways or roads would not be covered.
Make sure you read the fine print of the policies to understand all of the coverage inclusions and exclusions.
ATV insurance coverage options
ATV insurance often includes the same coverage types as those for motorcycle insurance, which include:
- Bodily injury and property damage liability.
- Medical payments coverage.
- Personal injury protection coverage.
- Collision coverage.
- Comprehensive coverage.
- Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.
- Additional equipment coverage.
- Passenger coverage.
- Increased limits.
- Original equipment manufacturer coverage (optional).
Holding coverage, even if you don’t have to by law, can help you protect yourself and your finances. If you’re in an accident and don’t have insurance, the costs for medical bills and vehicle repairs will have to come out-of-pocket.
Motorcycle and ATV insurance costs
Motorcycle insurance is typically more expensive than ATV insurance. The average cost for a motorcycle policy is around $520 a year. But it can vary dramatically from one rider to another.
The factors that determine how much your motorcycle or ATV insurance will cost depends on the amount of risk you present to the lender. The lower the risk, the lower your cost.
What determines the cost of motorcycle and ATV insurance:
Cost-influencing factors include:
- Credit score. A correlation has been found between low credit scores and a greater likelihood of filing an insurance claim. The higher your score, the less risk you present.
- Annual mileage. The lower your annual mileage, the lower your risk of getting in an accident.
- Moving violation and accident history. Your driving history can help insurers evaluate how likely it is that you’ll get in an accident. The fewer accidents and moving violations you have, the better.
- Age and gender. Your age and gender can also influence the rate you get based on the statistics showing who gets in more accidents.
- Vehicle type (year, make, model, engine type). The cost of your motorcycle and its power play a role. The more expensive and powerful, the higher your costs.
- Location. Location is also an issue because you are more likely to get in an accident in an area with densely-populated roads.
- Marital status. Typically, married riders can get a lower rate.
Motorcycle and ATV insurance discounts
Discounts, such as those below, help to reduce your motorcycle and ATV insurance costs:
Motorcycle and ATV insurance discounts:
Motorcycle and ATV settlement payout methods
If your insurer deems your motorcycle or ATV a total loss and you file a claim for reimbursement, there are three ways that insurance companies generally pay out settlements.
- Agreed Value. This is an amount that you and the insurance company agree on when you begin your policy.
- Stated Amount. This is an amount that you select when buying your policy.
- Actual cash value. This pays out what your vehicle is worth, minus your deductible and depreciation.
It’s important to know what payout type you will get upfront, as you don’t want any surprises after the fact. Actual Cash Value is often the cheapest option but may not provide you with a high enough settlement to replace your motorcycle or ATV.
Tip: This may also be why one company offers a much lower quote than another. Be sure to check the method each insurer uses to pay out claims.
Find the best motorcycle and ATV insurance providers
Many leading insurance companies in the U.S. provide motorcycle and ATV insurance, such as Allstate and Liberty Mutual. The policies are often available independently and as an add-on to a vehicle policy.
We recommend doing an in-depth comparison of at least three insurers to find the one that provides the best value for your situation.
Try to find the insurer and policy that ticks as many of the following boxes as possible:
☐ Coverage options that suit your needs.
☐ Your preferred settlement payout method.
☐ Affordable premiums/deductibles.
☐ Quality customer service.
☐ Strong financial strength.
☐ Unique incentives and features.
Compare top motorcycle and ATV insurance all in one place to find your best option.
Andrew is the managing editor for SuperMoney and a certified personal finance counselor. He loves to geek out on financial data and translate it into actionable insights everyone can understand. His work is often cited by major publications and institutions, such as Forbes, U.S. News, Fox Business, SFGate, Realtor, Deloitte, and Business Insider.