When it comes to insurance, many people have the assumption that car and motorcycle coverage both work in the same way. While they both serve the same primary purpose—protecting you and your vehicle or bike—there are still some important differences to be aware of. Different states have different minimum requirements that all drivers should be aware of before they get behind the wheel. If you are considering a car or motorcycle purchase soon, keep these comparisons in mind when you make your final decision.
Insurance Requirements for Motorcycles
Most states make motorcycle liability insurance mandatory if you ride a bike. This coverage pays out for damages caused where the motorcycle driver is at fault. The lowest amount of insurance you have to buy for your bike is the same as your state’s minimum car insurance requirements. Minimum coverage may not be enough to cover legal fees or any other costs if you are sued. It’s recommended to purchase extra liability coverage to protect yourself and your assets.
Some states also require bike drivers to have uninsured motorist insurance. This insurance pays out for damages that were caused by someone who either didn’t have insurance or was underinsured. The coverage can even cover hit-and-run accidents where you were not at fault. It helps to protect you and your finances if reckless and illegal drivers hurt you.
Insurance Requirements for Cars
Car insurance minimums vary from state to state, and many of them offer alternatives to this type of coverage. Virginia and New Hampshire are the only states that do not require a driver to have insurance. However, this doesn’t mean you cannot be held responsible in an accident. You may not be ticketed for having any coverage, but if you are at fault, you are still going to be held liable for the damages and costs associated with them. If you don’t have the money to cover the damages, you could be faced with registration or license suspension.
Some states have a bond option that drivers can use in place of insurance. In this instance, you have to prove that you are financially responsible for handling an accident if it should happen to you. Typically, you need to buy a bond that can be used during a vehicle collision. The amount of the bond depends on the state. This paperwork covers all expenses incurred up to the stated limit. After it is used, the driver has to repay that money plus interest.
Average Cost of Motorcycle Insurance
You may think that because a motorcycle costs less than a car, insurance costs are lower for a bike driver too. This is correct. In general, motorcycle insurance is less expensive when you compare just the bike to a car. However, when you ride a motorcycle, you are taking on more danger than driving a car. How so? By riding a motorcycle, there is a higher probability of being in an accident than driving a car. Research has shown that you are five times more likely to be hurt while riding one.
Various factors affect motorcycle insurance rates:
Driver’s Age— If you have a good driving record, you can typically qualify for better rates when you are over the age of 25. The cost for a driver who is between 16-24 is extraordinarily high due to the lack of experience of the driver.
Type of Motorcycle— The model of motorcycle you drive also has an impact on insurance cost. In most cases, the newer the bike, the more expensive your insurance is going to be. It’s the same situation for a sports bike versus a cruiser. The insurance for a sports motorcycle is going to cost more due to the higher risk of being in a collision.
Location is Important— Motorcycle insurance rates also depend on the state that you are riding your bike in. States like Florida and Michigan have higher prices, while Oklahoma and Iowa have some of the best rates in the country.
On average, when you put all of these variables into the mix, motorcycle insurance can cost you approximately $700-$1000 per year.
Average Cost of Car Insurance
Car insurance rates also fluctuate due to different reasons. Some of the more significant factors are listed here.
Age and Gender— Males ages 16-25 tend to have higher rates than females of the same age. Statistics show that young men in this age group are more likely to be involved in accidents than young women in the same age range. If you are between the ages of 25 and 60, this is where you can see your insurance rates go down. Elderly drivers over 60 are deemed riskier due to declining eyesight and other bodily performances needed to be a safe driver.
Where You Reside— More populated areas means that the risk of accidents and car theft is higher. Location significantly affects the cost of your insurance coverage. The state you live in also plays a role in how much your rate is going to be. Unemployment rates also affect the price since drivers who don’t work typically don’t have insurance.
Marital Status— Statistics also show that married people have fewer accidents and collisions than a single person. Married couples tend to have lower rates if both drivers have a good driving record. If one spouse doesn’t have a clean record, you may have higher than average rates than a safer driving couple with a similar background.
Age of Car— A newer car is less likely to be considered totaled in a car accident than an older model vehicle. If an old car was in a severe collision, the damages could be a lot more than the car is even worth. In most cases like this, drivers typically get rid of that vehicle for a newer one. Replacing a new car that was in the same type of accident is going to cost more, and they have a higher coverage rate and premium because of it.
Your Occupation— In certain situations, insurance companies also look at a person’s job to see how much of a risk they face when on the road. If you are driving a lot, this may affect your rate.
Driving History— Your driving habits also play a huge role in your insurance coverage rates. If you have received numerous tickets, been in plenty of accidents, or have had your car broken into more than once, you can probably expect to pay more. After a certain threshold, some car insurance companies could decline to cover you at all.
With all of these items taken into account, research tells us that the average cost of car insurance is around $1,500 per year.
Personal Injury Protection
Personal injury protection (PIP) is supplementary coverage that you can add to your car insurance policy. It typically covers medical expenses and other damages that may happen when you’re in a car accident, no matter who is at fault. Not all states have this protection, while some have made it mandatory to have. For cars, there are currently 16 states that require a minimum amount of personal injury protection coverage. The cost depends on your insurance policy’s limit and deductible.
Here is a detailed look of what PIP can cover:
Medical Expenses— The coverage pays out for medical expenses. This can include ambulatory services, treatment, surgeries, dental procedures, and medications.
Lost Wages— Depending on your policy, lost wages can also be included in PIP coverage. If the driver or a passenger has been unable to go to work due to an accident, this policy can help you to get those lost payments back.
Funeral Expenses— This also depends on your policy. Some PIP plans can help cover the cost of fatal injuries and funeral expenses that happened because of a car accident.
Household Services and Tasks— In some cases, PIP can also cover the costs of hiring someone to help around the house because of injuries you sustained in a car wreck. These services can include cleaning, cooking, and other routine tasks that need to be done around the house.
Motorcycles don’t give a driver many safeguards when in an accident. They have a higher risk of becoming severely injured due to being thrown from the bike. Just the impact of the asphalt on the body is enough to cause catastrophic injuries. It is suggested that all motorcycle drivers get PIP coverage, but it is not mandatory. With this protection, it may help not only to cover the driver, but the passenger as well. It depends on the state and availability.
In either situation, if you have proper health insurance that includes post-accident benefits, all you may need to carry is the minimum requirements for your state. Whether a biker or car driver, you need to weigh out the situation according to your needs carefully.
A lot of car drivers have never heard of seasonal or laid up insurance coverage. However, if you ride a motorcycle, you know that this type of insurance exists. Seasonal coverage is usually seen in the northern states where winter weather happens every year. With this policy, your insurance is lowered or suspended during the months you aren’t using your bike. Liability and collision coverage are paused until winter breaks, and you are ready to go out on the road again. You still have comprehensive coverage to protect your motorcycle from damages or vandalism.
If you live in a northern state and still want to ride your bike during the winter months, you can ask the insurance company to give you a lower level of liability coverage that keeps you legal while on the road. For most companies, they consider the most hazardous months to be November through March. Roads are snowy, icy, and unpredictable. Companies know that most drivers winterize their motorcycles at this time, and it is much more convenient for the bike driver to do this than to stop insurance altogether. Stopping protection may cause higher rates when you decide to come back. This action is an unnecessary expense that doesn’t have to happen if you use seasonal coverage when available. Keep in mind that, if you decide to take your bike out during this time and have laid up coverage, you are not going to be covered.
Additional Coverage for Motorcycles and Cars
Riding a motorcycle also means you can customize your insurance more than you can with a car. There are different add-ons you can choose to help protect you and your bike. Drivers can choose to have their transport trailer insured, as well as have other custom parts and accessories covered. These parts can include saddlebags, chrome attachments, and other expensive personalization.
Guest passenger liability is also an option for motorcycle drivers. This type of coverage gives coverage to passengers if they are hurt during an accident. This policy helps to cover the passenger’s medical expenses if the bike driver is the one at fault. If the motorcycle driver is not at fault, the liability then goes to the party who is. Their coverage may or may not help pay for the motorcycle passenger’s expenses. Car insurance protects not just the driver, but the passengers as well through liability insurance, so this type of coverage is not needed.
Car drivers do have some choices when it comes to add-ons, but not as much. One of the more well-known ones includes roadside assistance that protects you when your car breaks down, you run out of gas, or have a flat tire. A lot of car drivers have this option included in their policy because it is so helpful and can be added at a nominal fee.
Motorcycle insurance and car insurance are both designed to protect the driver and the bike or car itself. As a driver of either, you must be insured to at least the minimum standards that your state allows. You don’t only want to protect yourself but your loved ones also. Make sure you are aware of your state’s laws and policies before you make this necessary purchase. Driving on the road is a privilege that comes with a huge responsibility.