Motorcycles are quickly gaining in popularity as full-function vehicles rather than just machines used for recreation. They are often more fuel-efficient than cars and easier to park in crowded cities. Whether you use your bike to commute to work or just ride it occasionally, you still need to carry insurance in order to register and operate the vehicle.

Motorcycle insurance is usually much more affordable than auto insurance. By researching what type of coverage you need and comparison shopping for the best insurer, you can save money and guarantee that the policy you buy will cover your needs.

Why is Motorcycle Insurance so Affordable?

When buying basic liability insurance, motorcycles are much more affordable than cars or trucks. This is because a motorcycle is less likely to cause damage than another type of vehicle. Many motorcycles are only driven a few thousand miles each year, reducing their risk level significantly. Additionally, whenever an accident does occur, the motorcycle is not likely to cause as much damage to another person’s property as the bike itself will receive. It’s fairly uncommon, for example, for a motorcycle to total a car in a collision.

Collision and comprehensive coverage are also less expensive for most motorcycles because the vehicle itself costs less than a car or truck. The less expensive it is to replace a vehicle, the less the premiums will cost. Of course, there are some exceptions to this; if the motorcycle is rare, antique or custom-built, it will have unique insurance needs. Most standard manufactured bikes are less expensive than cars, though, and this translates into lower premiums.

An area of motorcycle insurance that may be expensive is injury coverage. Motorcycle accidents are notorious for causing injuries because there is not as much protection to drivers or passengers. Even minor collisions can cause severe or even life-threatening injuries for motorcyclists. Because the risk is higher for these types of collision, injury coverage on motorcycles may be fairly expensive. The overall low cost of the policy should help to balance this out, however, and in some situations extensive first-party injury coverage is unnecessary.

What Coverage Do I Need?

If you’re financing the bike, you’ll need to carry full coverage insurance until the vehicle has been paid off. Otherwise, it’s up to the insured to decide how much coverage is necessary. For motorcycles that are stored most of the year, comprehensive coverage may be more valuable than collision. This coverage protects the motorcycle against weather, theft, vandalism and other non-accident damage.

Any vehicle that’s driven on public roads needs to carry the state required minimums for liability insurance. Liability insurance covers damage and injuries that the driver causes in an at-fault accident. Insurance policies are sold with liability limits; any damage over this limit is the driver’s responsibility to pay out of pocket. Even if you’re operating a motorcycle, it may be a good idea to buy more than the minimum required insurance, especially if the requirements in the state are low.

It’s also a good idea to carry at least some medical coverage on the motorcycle. If you don’t have a car or any health insurance, you’ll want to buy a lot of medical coverage. If you do have car insurance as well, your insurer may be able to borrow coverage from the auto insurance in order to pay for severe injuries on motorcycle accidents. Be sure to ask if this is a possibility, and select your insurance accordingly.

Most motorcycle policies will automatically provide coverage for helmets and protective gear, but double check the policy to make sure that’s the case with your insurer. If not, see if it would cost extra to add that coverage and determine if the additional expense would be worthwhile.

How to Keep Insurance Costs Down

Although motorcycle insurance is usually very affordable, there are a few ways to reduce the cost further:

Bundle Coverage

If you own both a car and a motorcycle, consider insuring both through the same company. Most insurers offer multi-policy discounts that will apply to both policies. The more lines of insurance a customer has with a single company, the less each individual policy will usually cost.

Track Mileage

Provide odometer readings to the insurance company as necessary to prove the mileage of your motorcycle. If the bike is only being used a few times a year, the odometer readings will prove that and the cost of coverage should decrease.

Increase the Deductible

A high deductible reduces the cost of premiums. By agreeing to pay a higher portion of the repair cost out of pocket in the event of an accident, you can save a lot of money throughout the life of the policy.

Buy only what you need

If the motorcycle is only worth a few thousand dollars, it’s usually not worthwhile to carry full coverage. Buy only the coverage that you need for the value of the bike and put the rest of the money toward savings or regular maintenance on the motorcycle.

How to Find Motorcycle Insurance

If you already have auto insurance, you may want to try getting motorcycle insurance through the same company. Not all insurers offer motorcycle insurance, however, and the company may not offer the best deal even with a multi-policy discount. In some cases it may actually be cheaper to purchase auto insurance with the new motorcycle insurer than add motorcycle coverage to an existing auto policy.

The best way to find affordable motorcycle insurance is to obtain a quote online. By comparison shopping among multiple different insurance companies, you can be sure to find an insurer who will offer the best possible rates. Once you’ve chosen an insurer that will meet your needs, you can discuss the specifics of the policy with the insurance company and ask any questions that you may have.