NEW YORK, February 21, 2008 — With motorcycles growing in popularity, some auto insurers are now offering motorcycle insurance, either as a separate policy or as an endorsement to a personal automobile policy, according to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.).
Motorcycles are appealing to a new group of enthusiasts, consisting largely of older and more affluent riders, surveys have found. Indeed, sales of all types of two-wheelers reached about 1.16 million vehicles in 2006, I.I.I. research indicates: http://www.iii.org/media/hottopics/insurance/motorcycle/.
“Motorcycles are by their nature more vulnerable to the hazards of weather and road conditions than closed vehicles,” said Michael Barry, vice president of media relations for the I.I.I. “They are also less visible to other drivers and pedestrians and less stable than four-wheel vehicles. Operating a motorcycle requires a different combination of physical and mental skills than those used in driving four-wheel vehicles.”
Those in the market for motorcycle insurance will find that most states require you to carry a minimum amount of liability coverage. Liability insurance covers bodily injury and property damage that you may cause to other people involved in an accident. It doesn’t cover you or your motorcycle. You need to buy first-party medical coverage if you want to be reimbursed for bodily injury expenses you incurred while on your motorcycle. Depending upon the policy, a motorcyclist can purchase coverage for medical bills he or she receives, ranging from $2,000 to $25,000. Moreover, find out if your liability coverage also includes Guest Passenger Liability, which provides financial protection in the event that your passenger is injured while on your motorcycle.
Other coverages available to motorcycle owners are usually optional, such as collision (covering damage to your motorcycle), comprehensive (covering damage caused by events other than a collision, such as fire, theft or vandalism) and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (damages to you and your property caused by another driver who either doesn’t have insurance [uninsured] or doesn’t have adequate insurance [underinsured] to cover your damages). Always ask your insurance agent or company representative which insurance coverages are required in your state.
Many factors play a role in determining what a motorcycle owner’s insurance costs will be, such as the individual’s age, driving record, where he or she lives and the type of motorcycle the policyholder owns. Some additional criteria weighing on the eventual cost of a motorcycle insurance policy are:
- The model, style (sports bike vs. cruiser) and age of the motorcycle, as well as the number of miles you drive it in any given year—and where you store your bike—affect how much you will pay in motorcycle insurance premiums.
- Find out what discounts your insurance representative offers. Multibike discounts for those insuring more than one bike, motorcycle association discounts and mature rider discounts for experienced riders offer additional cost-saving possibilities. Discounts can range anywhere from 10 percent to 20 percent, depending on the company and your state.
- Many companies offer discounts on motorcycle insurance for graduates of training courses, such as the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) rider course. Riders under the age of 25, usually considered at higher risk, and motorcyclists who have already had accidents stand to save the most if they complete this type of course.
- The installation or presence of antitheft devices can result in additional motorcycle insurance premium savings, too.
- In many northern states, seasonal motorcyclists may save money by buying a “lay-up” policy. With a lay-up policy, all coverage except comprehensive is suspended during winter months.
- Be sure to ask your insurance agent about motorcycle accessories coverage for items such as add-ons, customizations, aftermarket parts and any other additions that a motorcycle’s owner has affixed to their bike since its purchase.
“Many motorcycle owners also own all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and choose not to insure their ATVs because most are not used on public roadways. Nonetheless, ATVs pose many inherent dangers and risks,” the I.I.I.’s Barry continued. “All-terrain vehicle policies are very similar to those involving motorcycles but cost substantially less. In fact, the average annual ATV policy is priced in the $200 range, a small price to pay for peace of mind.”
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued last week its 2006 Annual Report of ATV-Related Deaths and Injuries, situated under “Incident Data” at http://www.cpsc.gov/volstd/atv/atv.html. The CPSC considers an ATV to be an off-road, motorized vehicle having three or four low-pressure tires, a straddle seat and handlebars. Nearly all ATVs in use today have four wheels.
For additional information about insurance, go to the I.I.I. Web site www.iii.org.
For related audio, go to I.I.I. Offers Tips On Motorcycle Coverage Needs.
For things to consider before purchasing auto insurance, see our Buying Checklist.
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