D. Gilson is a writer and author of essays, poetry, and scholarship that explore the relationship between popular culture, literature, sexuality, and memoir. His latest book is Jesus Freak, with Will Stockton, part of Bloomsbury’s 33 1/3 Series. His other books include I Will Say This Exactly One Time and Crush. His first chapbook, Catch & Release, won the 2012 Robin Becker Prize from Seve...

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Reviewed by Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Lawyer

UPDATED: Jul 19, 2021

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Ah, there is just no time that can compare to spring. In like a lion, out like a lamb – and as the weather gets calmer and warmer, more motorcycles hit the road each day, often by new cyclists who have caught the appeal of cruising down the open road exposed to the elements. You may be just such a person, or even considering purchasing a motorcycle for pleasure driving or daily commuting.

Motorcycle insurance shares many common features with car insurance, although they are very different vehicles. We advise soon-to-be bikers to examine the types of coverage available for motorcycles and to tailor their coverage to fit their needs.  Here are some of the insurance coverages available for motorcycles:

Accessory Coverage

Accessory coverage includes additional equipment you’ve added to your motorcycle or that did not come as a standard factory option. This could include items such as electronics, a sidecar that’s been attached to the motorcycle, pull-behind trailers, custom painting and/or plating, custom exhaust systems, and in some cases, basic safety gear such as leathers and helmets.

Many motorcycle insurers add a limited amount of accessory coverage as a standard feature of purchasing collision and comprehensive coverage, so be sure to check if this is included and will meet your needs.

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Bodily Injury Liability

This basic piece of liability coverage insures against other people’s bodily injuries or death for which you are responsible for due to an accident. It will also cover you if you are sued as of a result of the accident. It pays for things like medical bills, loss of income due to inability to work and basic pain and suffering.

Comprehensive Physical Damage

Comprehensive coverage pays out in case of loss related to your vehicle resulting from incidents other than collisions, such as the so-called acts of God, which include fires, floods, wind, hail and even theft.

It covers the cost of fixing your motorcycle minus your deductible amount. Taking the highest deductible you can afford will lower the overall cost of your motorcycle insurance premium.


Collision coverage is the insurance that pays for damage to your motorcycle. It will pay for the cost of repairs to your motorcycle minus the deductible amount you selected.

As with comprehensive coverage, the higher the deductible you select, generally the lower the premiums will be.

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Medical Payments

Medical Payments coverage is optional insurance that will pay for medical expenses incurred by you, your family members and/or your passengers when injured in an accident, regardless of whose fault it is. Check your policy closely, as this coverage may also extend to you and your family members, if you are injured as a passenger or as a pedestrian.

This coverage generally does not cover pain and suffering, but does pay for medical bills and funeral expenses.

Personal Injury Protection

In the event of a catastrophic accident, heath care costs can escalate into the six-figure range quickly. The financial considerations can be quite significant.

Personal injury protection (PIP) is normally a required part of a policy in states with no-fault laws and regulations, and is an add on in other states, although not all insurers will offer this. PIP coverage is often bundled with uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.

Property Damage Liability

Property Damage Liability coverage is the second and final piece of basic liability insurance, which is generally required in most states. It covers you if you damage someone else’s personal property, regardless of whether that property is a car, fence, house or any other property. It also covers your legal defense if a lawsuit stemming from an accident is filed against you. Property Damage Liability coverage does not pay to repair or replace your motorcycle, however.

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Roadside Assistance

Roadside assistance will pay for your costs in the event of a breakdown or other situation that leaves with a motorcycle that isn’t running. This coverage would also cover the costs of transport in for repair or delivery of water and gas.

Roadside assistance is normally a very reasonable added cost of just a few dollars a month to your auto policy, depending upon your insurance company. You may be already have such coverage however, through AAA or another third party.

Underinsured Motorist/Uninsured Motorist

One of the realities of modern times is that state minimum insurance coverages are often not adequate to cover one’s liabilities. Uninsured and underinsured coverages are usually sold together as a single package, although some carriers may offer them individually.

The Insurance Research Council estimates that as many as 16% of drivers are currently driving without insurance – that’s nearly one out of every six drivers on the road.
The coverages are nearly self-explanatory: uninsured motorist coverage will pay if you are involved in a crash with a driver who is uninsured. Underinsured motorist coverage pays out after the underinsured driver’s policy limits are met.

In the end, be sure to investigate combining your motorcycle insurance with an auto policy as well as homeowner’s or renter’s insurance from a single insurer. That, along with allowing for as large a deductible as you can afford with collision and comprehensive coverage will ensure you’re getting the lowest premiums possible on each policy.