Differences between Insuring a Motorcycle and a Car

Insuring a Motorcycle is Generally Less Expensive 

You will usually pay far less for motorcycle insurance than you would pay for car insurance. This is because most motorcycles are worth far less than automobiles. If you drive a rare or extremely expensive motorcycle your rates will be higher, but in general, you should be able to pay less for your motorcycle coverage. The fact that motorcycles do not cause severe damage in most accidents is another reason insurance rates are lower. Even a small car can cause much more damage than a large motorcycle in the same accident. 

Motorcycle Insurance Can Take the Winter Off 

If you only ride your motorcycle during the warmer months, you can purchase motorcycle insurance that goes dormant during the months when your bike is in storage. Since most people tend to drive their cars all year, many car insurance policies do not make allowances for several months of storage as a standard part of coverage. A motorcycle rider can effectively cut insurance costs by a third or even half if they can prove to the insurance company that they do not ride their motorcycle for a certain period each year. The time when the bike is in storage and the policy is suspended will not count as a formal break in coverage. Every insurance company is a little different, so you will need to discuss how you can qualify for this type of dormant coverage policy with your motorcycle insurance company. 

Passenger Liability Coverage 

There are certain types of coverage that you have to purchase when you shop for motorcycle insurance. Car insurance typically covers all of the passengers in the vehicle as well as the driver under mandatory liability coverage. This insurance pays for damages, injuries and other expenses your passengers may incur if you are at fault for an accident. 

However, motorcycle insurance doesn't always cover your liability for passengers on the motorcycle. In this case, riders are wise to purchase Guest Passenger Liability coverage. 

Personal Injury Protection Not Offered for Motorcycles in Every State 

Another big difference between motorcycle insurance and typical car insurance is that Personal Injury Protection (PIP) does not cover a motorcycle rider. Most states require that anyone who operates an automobile must carry PIP for the injuries to the operator and occupants of the vehicle if involved in an accident. Motorcycle insurance does not cover riders or passengers. PIP only affords protection for pedestrians injured by your motorcycle. The main reason this coverage is not available for a motorcycle rider is that the chances of injury to the rider are significant in any type of accident. Insurance covers damage from unexpected events. Insurers see motorcycle injuries as likely and probable. 

Lack of Medical Coverage for Motorcycle Riders 

While motorcycle riders cannot always purchase personal injury protection coverage, they are usually able to find coverage through their motorcycle insurance company. If motorcyclists want medical insurance, they must buy Medical Payments (MedPay) coverage. With the high risk of an accident on a motorcycle, it makes sense to purchase this supplemental coverage to gain protecting from the high cost of medical bills. MedPay only covers medical costs not paid by other types of medical insurance. 

Medical payments insurance is a supplemental part of the policy, so you will have to pay an additional premium in order to take advantage of the coverage. A medical payments policy will cover any medical bills personal injury protection insurance or your health insurance does not cover. Since motorcycle accidents can result in severe injuries, it is a good idea to carry as much medical protection as you can afford. Medical payments coverage will also help with injuries that you might sustain if involved in a single vehicle accident. The Medical Payments coverage will kick in when you exceed your coverage through your health insurance plan. 

Motorcycle Insurance Discounts 

Just like car insurance companies, motorcycle insurance companies offer several different kinds of discount for riders who qualify. A recent surge in motorcycle sales in the United States has led to stiff competition between motorcycle insurance companies for the new business. This has led to special discounts made to attract more customers. 

You can qualify for discounts if you are an older rider with more experience. Many companies offer discounts to motorcycle riders who also insure their cars through the same company. Riders who complete specific types of safety training may also be eligible for safety discounts on their motorcycle insurance. Companies that offer car insurance discounts for customers who maintain good safety records and install safety equipment on their vehicles tend to offer the same discounts for motorcycle riders who do the same thing. When you are shopping for motorcycle insurance, make sure you look into the different discount packages offered by each company. 

Insurance terms: 

Insurance Terms Dictionary Agent: In insurance, the person authorized to represent the insurer in negotiating, servicing, or effecting insurance policies. Applicant: The party applying for an insurance policy. Application: A printed form developed by an insurer that includes questions about the prospective insured and the desired insurance coverage and limits. Auto Collision Coverage: Optional auto insurance which pays for damage to your car caused by collision with another car or object, or by rolling the car over. Frequently required if you have a car loan. Auto Comprehensive Physical Damage Coverage: Optional auto insurance which pays for damage to your auto caused by things other than collision or rolling the car over, such as fire, theft, vandalism, flood or hail. Frequently required if you have a car loan. Bodily Injury Liability Coverage: Pays when an insured person is legally liable for bodily injury or death caused by your vehicle or your operation of most non-owned vehicles. This coverage also pays for your legal defense if you are sued. Claim: A person's request for payment from an insurer for a loss covered by the insurance policy. Collision Coverage: Pays for loss to your covered vehicle when it collides with another object or overturns. We will also pay for a collision loss to any non-owned vehicle, or to a vehicle you have rented other than a vehicle rented for use in connection with your business or employment, while that vehicle is in your custody, or while you are operating it. Comprehensive Coverage: Pays for loss or damage to your covered vehicle caused by any event other than collision. This includes damages due to events such as fire, theft, windstorm, flood, and vandalism. We will also pay transportation and loss of use expenses under this coverage if your motor vehicle is stolen. Conditions: The part of your insurance policy that states the obligations of the person insured and those of the insurance company. Continuously Insured: Insurance coverage was in effect from an insurer or more than one insurer at all times, without a break or lapse in coverage for any reason. Contract: A legally enforceable agreement between two or more parties. Declarations Page: The report from your insurance company listing: the types of coverage you have elected; the limit for each coverage; the cost for each coverage; the specified vehicles covered by the policy; the types of coverage for each vehicle covered by the policy; and other information applicable to the policy. Deductibles: The portion of the loss that the policyholder agrees to pay out of pocket, before the insurance company pays the amount they are obligated to cover. For example, if the covered claim is $1000 and your deductible is $250, you pay $250 and your company will pay $750. Deductibles help to keep insurance rates reasonable. Raising the amount of the deductible lowers the cost of insurance. Depreciation: Reduction in the value of property due to age and use. Endorsement: Attachment or addendum to an insurance policy; an endorsement changes the contract's original terms. Garaging Location: The ZIP code where your vehicle is parked when not in use and usually corresponds to your primary residence. Insurance Company: An organization that has been chartered by a governmental entity to transact the business of insurance. Insured: The person whose insurable interest is protected under an insurance policy. Insurer: See Insurance Company. Lapse: Termination of a policy due to nonpayment of premiums. Liability: A legal obligation to compensate a person harmed by another's acts or omissions. Liability Coverage: Insurance that provides compensation for a harm or wrong to a third party for which an insured is legally obligated to pay. Life Insurance: Insurance that pays a specified sum of money to designated beneficiaries if the insured person dies during the policy term. Limits: The most we will pay for a specific insurance coverage. You may choose the limit which meets your needs. Most states have laws that specify the minimum limits you must purchase. Loss: A claim either paid or payable due to the insurer's policy obligations. Medical Payments Coverage: Medical and funeral expense coverage for bodily injuries sustained from or while occupying an insured vehicle, regardless of the insured's negligence. Named Insured: The first person in whose name the insurance policy is issued. Negligence: Failure to use a generally acceptable level of care and caution. No-fault Insurance: A system of compensation enacted by law in many states under which indemnification is made by the insured's own insurance company regardless of who is at fault. Details of this system vary significantly from state to state. Occasional Driver: The person who is not the primary or principal driver of the vehicle. Peril: The cause of loss or damage. Personal Property Insurance: Protects against the loss of, or damage to property other than real property (real estate) caused by specific perils. Policy Expiration Date: The date when your current insurance policy expires. This date can be found on your current policy, Declaration (or "DEC") page, insurance identification card or recent cancellation notice. This date is not to be confused with the date of your next payment or when your renewal payment is due. Policy Term: The length of time that the policy is in force. Usually 6 months or a year. Primary Residence: The place where you will reside for the majority of your policy term. If you are a homeowner who does not reside in the home you own, please choose the "rent" or "other" option. Primary Use: What your vehicle is mainly used for: To/From Work If you use your vehicle to commute to and from your work and/or school. Business If your vehicle is used for one or all of the following: used to make sales calls used as vehicle for business trips to bank or post office, picking up supplies, going to different locations owned or leased by a partnership or corporation that have a business listed as and additional interest on the car Farm If your vehicle is used primarily on a farm, ranch or orchard Pleasure No others apply Policy: The written forms that make up the insurance contract between an insured and insurer. A policy includes the terms and conditions of the coverage, the perils insured or excluded, etc. Policy Declarations: The part of the insurance contract that lists basic underwriting information, including the insured's name, address and description of insured locations as well as policy limits. Policy Limits: The maximum amount an insured may collect or for which an insured is protected, under the terms of the policy. Policyholder: The person who buys insurance. Policyowner: An individual with an ownership interest in an insurance policy. Policy Period: The amount of time an insurance contract or policy lasts. Premium: The price for insurance coverage as described in the insurance policy for a specific period of time. Principal Driver: The person who drives the car most often. Proof of Loss: A sworn statement that usually must be furnished by the insured to an insurer before any loss under a policy may be paid. Property Damage Liability Coverage: Pays when an insured person is legally liable for damage to the property of others caused by your vehicle or your operation of most non-owned vehicles. This coverage also pays for your legal defense costs if you are sued. Reimbursement: The payment of an amount of money by an insurance policy for a covered loss that was initially paid by the insured or a third party. Reinstatement: The process by which a insurance company puts back in force a policy that has lapsed or has been canceled for nonpayment of premium. Riders: An addition to an insurance policy that becomes a part of the contract. Risk: The possibility or chance of loss or injury. Second Named Insured: The named insured or listed agent on a policy may request to designate any other person listed on the policy as a "second named insured". The second named insured has the same coverage under the policy as the named insured. Settlement: An agreement between a claimant to an insurance policy and the insurance company regarding the amount and method of a claim or benefit payment. Theft Limit (or Inside Policy Limits): The highest amount an insurance company will pay on certain items of personal property. For instance, some policies have a $5,000 limit for computers. Underwriting: The process of reviewing applications for coverage. Applications that are accepted are then classified by the underwriter according to the type and degree of risk. Uninsured Motorist Coverage: Coverage that pays for covered damage for bodily injury that an uninsured motorist is legally liable but unable to pay. VIN: The vehicle identification number (VIN) on your vehicle. This number is usually found on the dashboard of your vehicle on the driver's side, and is usually listed on the vehicle registration and title. The VIN number is a combination of letters and numbers 17 characters in length that can be used to identify the make, model, and year of your car.