So you want to know the average cost of motorcycle insurance. Well that’s a great question, especially if you are about to purchase a motorcycle. The only problem is, the average cost of motorcycle insurance varies greatly dependant upon a number of factors. These factors include age, the type of motorcycle, experience, driving record, credit score, education level etc. If you know anyone who is an actuarial analyst for an insurance company, you know how much math goes into these rate calculations. I unfortunately do not have a calculator big enough to hash out an exact average cost of motorcycle insurance. I do however know how much I and some others pay, and will gladly share that information and more on how the decision is made.
The first thing that insurance providers look at is a rider’s age. Age plays a very important role in the actuarial process. A 16 year old rider with a Super Sport class motorcycle should expect to pay upwards of $1,200/month. This rate would decrease drastically for a 30 year old rider with a cruiser. A good friend of mine is 50 years old, rides a Harley Fat Boy and pays $300 per year in the Pennsylvania suburbs. He has a relatively clean driving record and has been riding for over 30 years. Therefore, one might expect the average cost of motorcycle insurance for a person of his age, demographics and motorcycle type to be in the same ballpark. $300 per year is a very reasonable price in my opinion for motorcycle insurance. You might be wondering, why so cheap? The obvious answer is, motorcycles do not do much damage to vehicles that they meet up with on the road. This reduces the overall liability to the insurer, and lowers costs to the rider. If you are new to the motorcycle world, I highly highly recommend reading Keith Code's Twist of the Wrist: The Motorcycle Roadracers Handbook
After age, the insurance company will take a look at the model of motorcycle that you would like motorcycle insurance for. This is a major factor, since the majority of motorcycle accidents revolve around “sport bikes.” When you call for an insurance quote, they will ask you for the VIN number of the motorcycle that you would like to insure. This VIN is entered into a database, which tells the insurance company the specifics about the bike. Engine size, horsepower, torque, all add up to create a finished cost profile for the insurance company. In general, any Super Sport bike, such as, GSXR’s, CBR’s, Yamaha R models will be much more expensive than non super sport models. Furthermore, as the engine size increases, so does the price. Generally, all else equal, a CBR600rr will have lower insurance costs than a CBR1000rr. If you want fast, you’re going to have to pay to play. The average insurance cost for sport bikes in suburban New Jersey range from $900 - $1500 per year (higher or lower too dependant upon your individual situation).
Classic motorcycle insurance comparisons are also worth looking into. For instance, I own a 1974 Honda CB550 that costs less than $100 per year to insure. Classic motorcycles have certain rules that apply to their usage, so beware of your state’s individual laws. In order to qualify for Classic or Antique insurance, you will have to apply for a classic or antique tag from your local department of motor vehicles. As previously mentioned, be sure to understand the ramifications of doing this, since there are specific restrictions levied upon motor vehicles that carry classic or antique designations. You don’t want to end up getting in trouble do you?
Once the motorcycle insurance companies look at age and bike type, they will of course look at your driving record. If anything pops up that might show them a history of reckless driving, your odds of getting cheap insurance go down drastically. Most states use a point system to track a person’s driving history. When your points jump above a certain level, you become high risk in the eyes of the insurance companies. The average cost of a motorcycle insurance policy can also be reduced by taking the motorcycle safety course in your local state. In Pennsylvania the motorcycle safety course is free, however I can not speak for other states. I took this two day course, and not only was it extremely informative, it was free and reduced my insurance costs. See, you probably thought cycle insurance would be much simpler. Not so!
Insurance companies will also ask the prospective insuree about their intended use for the motorcycle. Will the motorcycle be used on a racetrack? Will it be ridden year round or just seasonally? Will the motorcycle be used for business purposes or just for recreation? How many miles do you expect to ride per year? Is your motorcycle kept in an enclosed garage or outdoors? These are all extremely important in the eyes of the potential insurer. For instance, cycle insurance for a bike that is used for business and racing and is kept outside will be significantly more expensive than cycle insurance for that same motorcycle kept inside, and only used on weekends on public roads.
Motorcycle insurance cost averages will also vary from company to company. It has been my experience that Allstate provides the most competitive motorcycle insurance rates. My Honda CB550 insurance was purchased through them, like I said for less than $100 per year, $78 to be exact. I would however take the time to shop around, as this will give you a better idea of the pricing landscape. An informed purchaser is always the best purchaser in the eyes of the insurance companies. Informed customers are generally less needy and cost less to maintain down the road. Don’t be afraid to play the insurance companies against one another. If you get a good quote from Allstate, you can certainly take that quote to the local State Farm and see if they can meet or beat it. Be sure however that the price is an apples to apples comparison. What I mean here is that the price quote should be for matching policy coverage.
Have an insured motorcycle? Care to share your insurance costs? Comment below and help the community better understand the cycle insurance market.