Motorcycle vs Car Insurance

How Does Motorcycle Insurance Differ From Car Insurance?

California requires that all motorists purchase liability coverage before they take their vehicles on California’s roads, and the requirements are the same for both motorcycles and motor vehicles. The premiums that motorcycle riders pay for their coverage is usually higher than the price that owners of motor vehicles pay, and there are several reasons for this, including the following:

The Factors that Affect Motorcycle Rates

It Costs More to Insure a Motorcycle than a Car

The average motorcycle costs between $5,000 and $35,000, but the average car costs approximately $42,258. This is just one of the reasons that it costs more to insure a car than a motorcycle. In addition to that, motorcycle riders were 29 times more likely to perish in a motorcycle accident than passengers in a car were to die in a car accident. Motorcycle riders were also four times more likely to sustain injuries in a crash. On top of that, the injuries received in a motorcycle accident are likely to be much more catastrophic than those sustained in a car accident. For these reasons, insuring a motorcycle is going to be much more expensive than insuring a motor vehicle in California.


Motorcycle riders receive more catastrophic injuries from accidents than riders in motor vehicles because they are not protected inside of a vehicle. Many riders have been thrown from their motorcycles and sustained injuries as they hit the ground. Motorcyclists have the option of purchasing coverage called “medical payments” or MedPay. MedPay covers the medical bills of people injured in a collision no matter who caused the accident.

MedPay will cover expenses related to medical bills for physicians and hospitals, the deductibles and copayments for your health insurance, the ambulance or emergency technician’s fees, bills for X-rays, surgeries and prostheses, and nursing services. This additional coverage is necessary if you take a passenger on your motorcycle because the liability coverage you are required to have will not cover your medical bills or the bills of your passenger.

Additional Coverage for Passengers

Before you may take your motorcycle out on the road, the state of California requires that you purchase liability coverage so that you can take financial responsibility for the collision if you are at fault for the crash. This includes $15,000 of personal injury liability coverage for one person, $30,000 of liability coverage for one accident and $5,000 of property damage liability coverage for one collision. This coverage only applies to the people in the other vehicle that you hit.

If you want to provide for your passengers, you have the option of purchasing MedPay coverage as was mentioned above, but you can also purchase guest passenger liability coverage. Guest passenger liability coverage will pay your passenger’s medical bills in the event that you cause a collision in which your passenger is injured.

What’s the Difference between Insuring a Motorcycle and Insuring a Car?

The main differences between insuring a motorcycle and a car include the following:

  • You may have purchased several items for your motorcycle that you do not have to purchase for a car. These may include your helmet, your backrest and your saddlebags. These additional items will increase the price of your motorcycle coverage.
  • Because it is more likely that you will suffer serious injuries on a motorcycle, your agent will charge you more for medical coverage. Motorcycle riders are at higher risks for personal injuries than drivers of other types of vehicles.
  • If you are insuring a car, your passengers are included in the price for your personal injury coverage. Motorcycle insurance doesn’t cover passengers because you are expected to be the only person on the bike. Therefore, you must purchase additional coverage if you want to ensure that your passenger can be covered.

Add-Ons for Motorcycle Coverage

You can add several other types of coverage to your motorcycle policy that do not necessarily apply to a motor vehicle. These include the following:

Roadside Assistance

If you have roadside assistance coverage, emergency services will come to your aid to get your motorcycle back in working order again. Roadside assistance coverage applies to several mishaps, including a jump when your battery will not start. If the mechanic cannot get your motorcycle to work again, a tow truck will take it to the shop of your choice.

Original Equipment Manufacturer

This coverage guarantees that your mechanic will replace your motorcycle’s parts with the original manufacturer’s parts.

Fluid Delivery Coverage

This coverage protects you in the event that you need gasoline or oil while you are on the road. In most cases, you will need to pay for the fluid.

Flat Tire

If you have a flat tire while you are on the road, this coverage offers you a tow to the closest mechanic. If the tire cannot be fixed by being plugged and will need to be towed, your policy will cover this charge, but it will not cover the cost of replacing the tire.

Accessories or Added Equipment

This coverage is in addition to your comprehensive coverage. In the event that your accessories or the add-ons that you applied to your motorcycle are damaged, the policy will pay to replace these items. Eligible items include your helmet, your radio and your seat.

Coverage for Personal Items

If any items that you are carrying on your motorcycle are stolen, this coverage will pay to replace them.

The Similarities between Motorcycle and Car Insurance

Purchasing coverage for a motorcycle or a car is actually very similar. They both include the following:

Liability Coverage

Liability coverage is required for both motorcycles and motor vehicles. You must purchase personal injury liability for physical injuries to the people hurt in an accident that you cause. You must also purchase property damage liability for the damages to property in an accident that you cause.

Collision Coverage

Both motorcycles and motor vehicles may be covered by collision coverage, and it is optional. It covers the damages to your motorcycle after a collision with another vehicle or an object whether you caused the collision or not.

Comprehensive Coverage

Comprehensive coverage is also optional, and it covers the damages that occur when you are not riding your motorcycle. For example, this policy covers damages due to vandalism, weather events, fire or theft.

Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage

Although everyone is required to purchase the means to take financial responsibility if an accident occurs, not everyone does this. You have the option of purchasing uninsured motorist coverage for the times that you are hit by a driver without the proper coverage. If you are hit by someone without enough insurance to cover all of your medical bills and property repair bills, underinsured motorist coverage will make up the difference between the motorist’s coverage and the amount that is left over for you to pay.

Can You Lower the Amount You Pay for Motorcycle Coverage?

Since motorcycle coverage may cost you more than you are willing to pay, you may be able to take some of the following steps to make sure that your coverage is as inexpensive as possible:

Obtain Several Quotes before You Purchase a Policy.

You can obtain quotes from several companies before you decide to purchase a policy. You can do this easily by visiting each company’s website.

Ask the Agent if You Qualify for Any Discounts.

If you are switching from one company to another, your new company may offer you a discount. Your company may have a discount for you after you take a motorcycle safety class. Companies offer discounts when their clients pay their premiums in full rather than monthly. Automatic payments may entitle you to a discount as well.

Insure All of Your Property with the Same Company.

Known as “bundling,” you can insure your motorcycle with the same company that you insure your car. If you need to file an insurance claim, your insurer may only charge you a single deductible for both your motorcycle coverage and your car coverage. The deductible is the amount of money that you must pay before your insurer begins to pay the costs associated with an accident.

The amount you will pay to insure your motorcycle will also depend on several personal factors. For example, younger riders receive higher quotes for their coverage because they are seen as higher risks. The city you live in also plays a role. A city or town that is densely populated makes you a greater risk for having a collision. If you live in a city with high crime rates, you are a higher risk because of the higher chance that your motorcycle will be vandalized or stolen. If your driving record shows that you have tickets and accidents, the insurer will also see this as a higher risk.

If you have been involved in a motorcycle accident, you need to hire a personal injury attorney. At the JT Legal Group, a personal injury attorney can file an insurance claim against the damages that a negligent driver caused during a collision. Contact us today.


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