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How to shop for motorcycle and atv insurance
Many insurance companies specialize in motorcycle and ATV insurance. So choosing the right one can be a challenge. This guide will tell you everything you need to know about this type of coverage and how to find the best policy for you.
Nothing is quite like the experience of riding a motorcycle or all-terrain vehicle (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.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) regularly updates its analysis of the most recent data available from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS). According to the 2021 analysis of FARS data through 2019, the number of deaths per mile traveled on motorcycles was almost 29 times the number in cars. And, in recent years, hundreds of ATV riders have died in accidents on public roads, where ATVs are not designed to be ridden.
While riding these vehicles is dangerous, motorcycle and ATV insurance can help you protect yourself and your vehicle.
What type of ATV and motorcycle insurance do you need?
When buying motorcycle insurance, you must determine what kind of insurance you need and the level of coverage you require. Once you’ve established that, make sure you set the same coverage and limits when you compare policies.
The types of ATV and motorcycle insurance offered by many insurers include the following. In all cases, the insurance described will pay the eligible costs minus your deductible.
- Comprehensive and collision: This coverage will repair or replace your motorcycle if it’s stolen, vandalized, or damaged. Purchasing this coverage is optional. However, if you have a ride that is worth $6,000 or more, you probably should get comprehensive and collision coverage. As you might guess from the name, this includes two types of insurance:
- Comprehensive. If your motorcycle incurs damage due to a covered non-collision event (theft, fire, falling object, etc.), this coverage will pay for the damages.
- Collision. If you’re in an accident and are at fault, this will cover the cost to repair your vehicle.
- Bodily injury and property damage liability: If you’re at fault in an accident, liability coverage will pay for the damage you cause to others and their property. Unless you live in Washington State or Florida, this coverage is mandatory.
- Guest passenger liability: Passengers may not be covered automatically by your motorcycle or ATV policy as they typically are with automobile insurance. Guest passenger liability remedies this defect. It covers any injuries a passenger on your motorcycle or ATV suffers if you get in an accident.
- Uninsured/underinsured motorist: If you or your passengers are injured or your vehicle is damaged in an accident caused by someone else, this will pay for the injuries or damage when the at-fault party has no or insufficient insurance and can’t afford to pay.
- 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, regardless of who is at fault. Like personal injury protection, this coverage is particularly useful if you don’t have great health insurance coverage. Unlike personal injury protection, it does not cover lost wages.
Some companies offer additional coverages, such as:
- Total loss coverage: Conditions vary by insurer, but you’ll typically get the full manufacturer’s suggested retail price for a brand new bike or ATV should yours be totaled.
- Carried contents: Offers coverage for personal belongings that you carry on your bike if they’re damaged, stolen , or lost. This includes camping equipment, phones, and hunting gear.
- Customized motorcycle parts and equipment. If you have custom parts on your motorcycle or ATV (a custom paint job, chrome parts, etc.), you’ll usually need this extra coverage. Standard insurance only covers the factory parts on vehicles, or it limits the coverage to an amount near what factory parts would cost.
- 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 trailer for your motorcycle or ATV, this add-on can cover it against damages.
- Trip Interruption. If you plan to take long trips on your motorcycle, this coverage could be worthwhile. It will pay out if you suffer a collision far from home. It covers the costs of transportation, lodging, and food. Since ATVs are not designed for road use and long trips, this additional coverage probably won’t be available for your ATV.
- Umbrella coverage. While not specific to motorcycle and ATV 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.
Liability is often the minimum coverage required for motorcycles. 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 required for ATVs in some parks and state-owned lands.
Though liability typically fulfills the legal requirements, 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.
Given this, the more coverage you have, the less you’ll have to worry. But the more coverage you have, the higher your premium will be. Analyze your level of risk against the cost to find the right balance.
A note on settlements: payout methods
Different insurers handle settlement payouts for claims differently. You should pay close attention to payout methods because these can greatly affect the cost of your policy.
For example, if your insurer deems your motorcycle or ATV a total loss and you file a claim for reimbursement, how will it pay you? 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.
A note on 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.
As already noted, insurance coverage may be legally mandated if you ride your ATV in certain areas. So be sure to review the regulations covering 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 policies’ fine print to understand all of the coverage inclusions and exclusions.
Conclusion: You’re only as secure as the coverage you carry
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.
How much will your motorcycle or ATV insurance cost?
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 depend on the amount of risk you present to the lender. The lower the risk, the lower your cost.
Factors influencing the cost of motorcycle and ATV insurance:
What discounts can you get on motorcycle and ATV insurance?
Discounts, such as those below, help to reduce your motorcycle and ATV insurance costs.
Motorcycle and ATV insurance discounts:
The discounts will vary by insurer, so be sure to shop around.
How should you compare motorcycle and ATV insurance companies?
Many leading insurance companies in the U.S., such as Allstate and Liberty Mutual, provide motorcycle and ATV insurance. The policies are often available independently and as add-ons to automobile policies.
The key to finding the best deal in motorcycle and ATV insurance is to compare multiple policies that have similar coverages, limits, and deductibles. Doing this can save you a lot of money as insurers can quote prices that vary by hundreds of dollars for the same policy. We recommend doing an in-depth comparison of policies from at least three insurers.
Insurance companies consider multiple factors when estimating the risk of insuring riders and setting their rates. These factors include age, riding history, and the motorcycle model. However, the companies weigh these factors differently when establishing rates for specific riders. This means the cheapest policy may vary from one rider to another.
Once you have a good selection of quotes to compare, it’s time to decide which one is the best deal. For this you will need to focus on cost, company ratings, and customer reviews. SuperMoney provides the financial ratings of leading insurance companies, as well as free motorcycle and ATV insurance reviews.
What are the most important factors to consider when buying motorcycle insurance?
Try to find the insurer and policy that ticks as many of the following boxes as possible:
- Discounts that reduce your costs.
- Coverage options that suit your needs.
- Your preferred settlement payout method.
- Affordable premiums/deductibles.
- Coverage limits that offer adequate protection.
- Quality customer service.
- Strong financial strength.
- Unique incentives and features.
One motorcycle insurance policy may not be equal to another. Let’s take a closer look at some of the main things you should consider when investing in motorcycle insurance. These questions will help you focus on the most important factors to consider when comparing motorcycle insurance.
Is the motorcycle and ATV insurance company licensed in your state?
Not all insurance companies are licensed to operate in every state. It’s a good idea to avoid insurance companies that aren’t licensed by your state insurance department. If you have problems in the future, your state licensing agency can offer valuable assistance.
What is the financial rating of the motorcycle and ATV insurance company?
The purpose of motorcycle insurance is to protect you financially and give you peace of mind. That’s why it’s important for you to choose an insurance company that is likely to be financially sound for many years. You can do this by using company ratings from independent rating agencies. SuperMoney combines the financial ratings of multiple rating agencies, along with other factors, to determine an insurance company’s financial stability.
What do ATV and motorcycle insurance reviews say about the company?
Insurance companies should answer your questions and handle your claims fairly and efficiently. Unfortunately, they don’t always do so. Find out what other customers have to say about their experiences by reading SuperMoney’s free motorcycle and ATV insurance reviews.
How do you get an online motorcycle and ATV insurance quote?
Most ATV and motorcycle insurance companies give consumers the option to apply for a quote online. Applying online makes it easier to get multiple quotes, and there is no commitment to buy a policy.
Use the comparison tools and reviews below to find a good selection of companies to compare.
Once you are ready to apply, you will probably need to provide the following information:
- Your name and ID.
- Your motorcycle or ATV’s VIN. The exact make, model, and year may be enough.
- How many miles do you drive on average every year.
- Any accident prevention and advance riding courses you’ve taken.
- Details on your current insurance policy.
- How many years you have been riding a motorcycle.
Now that you have a better understanding of how motorcycle and ATV insurance works, it is time to get some quotes.
- First, use the list below to find insurance companies that offer the coverage levels you need.
- Second, check the financial rating and consumer rating of your top choices. Compare the profiles and consumer reviews for each insurance company.
- Get a quote from at least three insurance companies. Make sure you use the same insurance type and coverage level for each.