Saturday, October 31, 2020

Motorcycle Insurance Through the Seasons

Indianapolis, IN (October 31, 2020) - Winter’s blast is just around the corner. But even if you can’t cruise down south for sunnier climates you can adjust your coverage and save during colder months. 

Here’s a few tidbits of what you need to know about saving — and your risks of overpaying — throughout the seasons.

Motorcycle Insurance for Warmer Months

You’ll hear a lot of the same lingo for motorcycle insurance that’s similar for auto insurance. To break it down in simple language, motorcycle insurance includes several types of coverage:

Liability coverage: If you’re at fault in an accident, a liability policy helps cover the cost of damage to others’ property, as well as their bodily injuries.

Comprehensive coverage: Comprehensive coverage covers your motorcycle for theft and other things that aren’t your fault, like vandalism, fire and hail damage.

Uninsured or under insured motorist coverage: This type of coverage covers damage to your motorcycle and injury to yourself caused by someone who doesn’t have sufficient insurance or any at all.

Many motorcyclists add collision coverage. This type of coverage helps you if you damage your own motorcycle by hitting a another parked vehicle or a stationary object like a fence or a tree.

You can also get towing and roadside assistance coverage or bodily injury coverage for any of your passengers. You may also be able to get coverage for your accessories, which can include saddlebags, safety apparel and custom parts.

Check with your insurance carrier to learn more about your insurance coverage options. Find out how you can cover your motorcycle for unexpected events such as theft, fire and damaging weather.

Motorcycle Insurance for Colder Months

It might be tempting to quit insurance cold turkey during the winter months. But what if something happens to your motorcycle during that time? Just because you’re not zipping through a canyon doesn’t mean something can’t happen to it while it’s parked in the garage.

Think through a few worst-case scenarios that could befall your bike: 
  • Theft 
  • Vandalism 
  • Fire 
  • Storm damage 

That’s why it’s a good idea to maintain comprehensive coverage, which protects you against events not related to a collision, such as theft, vandalism or other similar incident that might occur while your bike is in storage.

Think about this: Canceling your motorcycle insurance means that you have to foot the bill for the total cost of repairing or replacing the motorcycle. As you might imagine, paying for motorcycle damage from your own wallet is pricey. 

Also, remember that unseasonably warm day last December when you tested your heated grips and cold-weather riding gear? Getting on your motorcycle for a few hours was a major thrill after two weeks of solid snow, right?

If you cancel your insurance, you won’t be able to enjoy the day on your motorcycle (and you can’t send Snaps to your other biker friends to brag about your adventures).

Despite these warnings, you can tap into a few solutions to save money:

Check with your insurer to find out about something called “lay-up” or “laid up” insurance. These policies temporarily stop parts of your coverage that won’t generate a claim if your motorcycle’s not used.

Find out whether you can lower your premium. Many insurance carriers will not allow you to remove all collision and liability, but your insurer might allow you to reduce coverage to your state’s minimums to lower your premium during that time. Take a look at your deductible. You can also look at your policy deductibles and consider raising those during the winter months.

In other words, find out about temporary reductions of coverage's on your own policy. (Just be sure to reinstate all your coverage's before you get back on the bike in the spring.)

If you do decide to cancel altogether during the winter months, make sure you’re not on the hook for paying fees or penalties.

Motorcycle Insurance Quotes

There’s no law that says you have to stick with your current insurance company if your current company doesn’t offer a layup policy or another, more flexible option during the winter months. Shop around for quotes from multiple insurers — it’s the best way to see what's available to you.

Target carriers that offer a layup option during the winter months or look for coverage options that fit your wallet and offer any other ways for you to save with the best motorcycle insurance companies.

Get the Right Insurance for Chilly Months

Even if you can’t roam the open road right now, you can still find a reason to smile: Saving money right now lets you park your money in a fund for a motorcycle trip during the spring or summer. 

Friday, October 5, 2018

Laying the Bike Down. Where Insurance and Motorcycles Meet

Indianapolis, IN (October 5, 2018) -- I had a conversation last week that gives me hope for society and makes me angry at the same time. It all goes back to an unfortunate incident where a friend had a motorcycle accident. He and his bike are in rough shape. He asked me if he should just file a claim with his insurance company or pursue the claim with the at fault driver.

His question comes from an honest place. He just wants to be indemnified. He’s not looking for a windfall. He’s not looking to collect more than he’s due. He wants his bike and his bones fixed. That seems pretty fair. He didn’t even think about issues like pain and suffering or consequential loss. He just wants what’s broken to be fixed. I’m relieved that there are still people in the world that want their insurance to work the way it was designed.

So why am I angry?

He was sucked in by the insurance industry advertising that tells us that, “in 15 minutes, you can save 15%”. When he called the 15% off insurance company, the first question that the “agent” asked him was “do you want the state minimum limits?” There’s your savings. The company essentially tells the customer that he is overpaying for limits that he won’t need anyway. Thankfully, my friend didn’t end up with the state minimum limits. Unfortunately, he ended up with limits that are so low that they won’t actually protect him and his assets.

Friends, if you know anyone that has bought insurance through the save 15% in 15 minutes company, check their policies and make sure that they didn’t save 15% at the cost of their protection.

Is that all?

No. That’s not all. He didn’t understand his policy at all. Not only did they sell him an inferior insurance product, but they didn’t explain it at all. I know that the standard of care is to get the insured the policy that they want and caveat emptor, but I have a real problem with this. Buying insurance isn’t like buying a toaster, a car, or a house. Buying insurance is about buying a promise that won’t be fulfilled until someone has had the worst day of their lives. So, when we sell a policy without helping the customer to understand what they bought, we set them up for failure. Let me specific to the case of my friend.

Coverage for “bodily injury”?

He believed that liability (specifically auto liability) provided coverage for “bodily injury” (BI) and “property damage” (PD). That’s not exactly right. Let’s go to the insuring agreement and I’ll show you what I mean and by the way I’m using my auto policy for this example.

We will pay compensatory damages for BI or PD for which any covered person becomes legally liable because of an auto accident. We will settle or defend, as we consider appropriate, any claim or suit asking for these damages.

The coverage is not for BI or PD. There must be BI or PD for there to be coverage, but that’s not what the coverage is for. Let’s work it out.

There must be BI or PD.
There must be an auto accident.
A covered person must be legally liable, or at least the company must determine that they may be liable.
There must be compensatory damages.
The BI or PD is the result of an auto accident. The have to be damages related to the BI or PD as a result of the auto accident. Someone needs to ask for money for the damages related to the BI or PD as a result of the auto accident. This particular policy specifically restricts damages to compensatory damages.

My friend didn’t understand that the term compensatory damages encompasses more than the doctor bills and damages to his motorcycle. Let’s see if we can define compensatory damages so that your customer doesn’t have the same trouble that my friend is having.

According to Black’s Law Dictionary, there are two broad types of damages: compensatory and punitive. Punitive damages are meant to punish someone for the wrong that they have done. As a matter of public policy, many jurisdictions do not allow insurance to cover punitive damages.

Let’s look at the definition of compensatory damages, since our policy refers specifically to them. Compensatory damages are meant to compensate a person for a loss that they have incurred. It’s really that simple, but it isn’t. Compensatory damages can also be divided into two groups: special and general damages.

Going back to Black’s Law Dictionary, special damages include those damages that you can easily put a dollar amount to. These include medical bills, lost wages, towing fees, vehicle storage, and ambulance charges all come to mind as special damages. You could think of special damages as damages that come in writing, either in a bill, or a wage and earnings statement.

General damages are harder to calculate because they don’t come with a bill. You’ve probably heard of these general damages before. We are talking about things like: pain and suffering, anxiety, and emotional distress. There’s no specific dollar amount attached to these losses, but they are considered losses just the same and the injured party can be compensated for them.

Now that we have an idea what compensatory damages are, when we consider the insuring agreement again, we understand that there is more that could be paid than just the medical expenses or damage to a vehicle. With more and more people looking at auto insurance as a commodity that can be bought just like you would buy a new hat online, more and more customers don’t really understand their insurance.

Did his policy cover anything?

More customers don’t know what their policy actually covers. He lives in a no fault state, but in those states, you can’t get no fault insurance on a motorcycle. They will give the customer some medical payments coverage, but that’s it. When my friend asked about making the claim against the other driver or not, he didn’t realize that his motorcycle policy had less than $1,000 in medical payments for his injuries.

In the end, will my friend be indemnified? Only time can tell. Hopefully, after a few conversations, and taking time to look at actual policy language, he’ll get the claim paid and he’ll get his bones and his bike fixed. Whether or not he gets back on the bike; if I had to guess, he’ll climb back on come spring and he’ll have a better understanding of what insurance he has in place.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Average Cost of Motorcycle Insurance in 2018

Indianapolis, IN (August 9, 2018) -- Every motorcycle owner needs motorcycle insurance, whether they’re a full-time rider or only occasionally ride on the weekends. The average cost of motorcycle insurance can vary depending on the coverage you choose.

Most states require that motorcycle owners have at least liability coverage. The minimum liability insurance requirement is the same as what’s required for car insurance.

In some states, there’s also a requirement to have uninsured/underinsured coverage. This coverage pays for an accident caused by a motorist who doesn’t have sufficient insurance. Beyond that, motorcycle insurance coverage options are similar to auto insurance. There are options that include collision, comprehensive, and personal injury policies. In some states, there’s medical payment coverage available.

Typically, states with the most insured bike riders also have the lowest motorcycle insurance rates, but other factors play a role as well.

Average Cost of Motorcycle Insurance
Generally, the average cost of motorcycle insurance is highest where there are urban areas. These areas are crowded and congested, and may pose the most risk to riders. States where there are higher death rates associated with motorcycle accidents, as well as states with higher theft levels, will also typically have the highest motorcycle insurance rates.

The least expensive regions of the U.S. are the upper Midwest regions and the Great Plains. There isn’t a lot of theft in these areas. There are fewer motorists on the roads, and there are fewer accidents in general. The least expensive states in regard to the average cost of motorcycle insurance are Iowa, North Dakota, Oklahoma, New Hampshire, and Wyoming.

Weather is another factor that can affect the average cost of motorcycle insurance at the state level. For example, Florida is generally more expensive because the weather allows for year-round riding.

For example, Progressive says its motorcycle insurance premiums start at $75 per year. But the U.S. average for motorcycle premium rates is $519 per year. While the majority of the least expensive states are all close to one another in the Midwestern region (except New Hampshire), the most expensive states are in different geographic regions.

The following is the average cost of motorcycle insurance per year in these least expensive states, according to

North Dakota: $283
​Iowa: $323
​Oklahoma: $341
​New Hampshire: $352
Wyoming: $354
The following states have the highest motorcycle insurance premiums on average:

Louisiana: $896
​Texas: $749
​Michigan: $734
​Delaware: $734
Florida: $689

Factors That Affect Motorcycle Insurance Cost
Along with state and regional factors, other individual factors can affect motorcycle insurance cost. They include:

City: Even within a single state, there can be differences between cities in terms of motorcycle insurance cost.
​Driver age: The motorcyclist’s age is one of the biggest factors that plays a role in how much you’ll pay for motorcycle insurance. For example, if you’re 18, you’re likely to end up paying around $100 more per month than what someone who’s 50 will pay. The idea is similar to car insurance — insurers believe younger drivers have less experience, so they are more likely to be in an accident.

Accident history: This is something that’s looked at with any type of motor vehicle insurance policy. If you have a good driving history, you’re probably going to pay less than someone with a less-than-perfect record.
Type of bike: If you have a sportbike, you’ll likely pay more than someone with a cruiser or a touring bike. Specifically, insurers will look at the value of the motorcycle, its general safety features, the crash-related data, and how often that type of bike is stolen.
Factors that can also play a role in the cost of motorcycle insurance, also include mileage, credit score, and more.

How to Save on Motorcycle Insurance
There are different ways to save on motorcycle insurance, regardless of where you live. Riders can qualify for discounts such as multiple-policy and safe driver discounts. These can help save from 5 percent to 20 percent on motorcycle insurance rates.

Choosing a smaller or less powerful motorcycle can save money. Paying annually, adding security features to your bike, completing motorcycle safety courses, and storing it in a safe location are all other ways to help lower the motorcycle insurance costs.

Bottom Line
Every motorcycle owner needs insurance, although rates vary. The average cost of motorcycle insurance tends to be the least expensive in the Midwest region and New Hampshire. However, even if you don’t live in these areas, there are ways to save such as bundling multiple policies and having safety features on your bike.