a motorcycle, blue, on a white shield with hands covering them symbolizing motorcycle insurance

Is Motorcycle Insurance Separate From Car Insurance?

Nearly every state in the United States mandates motorcyclists to have insurance coverage. If you are a motorcyclist, you must show proof of insurance policy when registering your motorcycle before you can legally ride on public roads. We answer some frequently asked questions regarding motorcycle insurance.

Is Motorcycle Insurance Separate From Car Insurance?

Yes. Motorcycle insurance and car insurance are not the same. Both are insurance policies designed to cover motorcycles or cars’ unique needs and risks.

I Have Car Insurance. Do I Still Need Motorcycle Insurance?

Yes. You still need motorcycle insurance even if you already have car insurance. Having car insurance does not mean you are also covered when driving a motorcycle. Car insurance policies cover the cost of injuries or property damages in a car accident. You need to have a separate insurance policy to cover your motorcycle. However, some top insurance providers offer a motorcycle endorsement, which allows you to add motorcycles, mopeds, or scooters to your existing car insurance for an extra premium.

What Are the Differences Between Motorcycle Insurance and Car Insurance?

Motorcycles and car insurance have similar purposes and the same claim process. But they have some differences, including:

Cost of Insurance Coverage

Motorcycle riders are more prone to sustaining injuries in accidents compared to car drivers. Also, injuries from motorcycle accidents are usually more severe than those sustained in a car accident because motorcyclists are more exposed. Insurance companies keep this in mind when determining the cost of insuring a motorcycle, which can make it more expensive than car insurance. However, having an inexpensive bike and a good riding history can reduce your premium. 

Passenger Coverage

Car insurance automatically covers passengers when an accident occurs. Motorcycle insurance is different because it is assumed that bikes are a means of transportation for one person.  So, the motorcycle insurance coverage is for only the motorcyclist. If you want your insurance to cover passengers, you must purchase additional coverage, such as guest passenger liability insurance or medical payment coverage.

Laid-Up Insurance

You can use laid-up insurance coverage during the winter months when the bike is not in use to reduce annual insurance costs. This insurance covers the rider against fire, theft, or other damages during this period. Laid-up insurance is only available in motorcycle insurance.

What Does Motorcycle Insurance Cover?

The types of coverage required by the law vary by state. However, most states require motorcyclists to carry a minimum liability coverage. You can decide to have other additional motorcycle insurance coverage.

  • Liability Insurance: Required by law to cover both bodily injuries and property damages caused by the motorcyclist to others involved in an accident. It does not cover any injuries sustained by the motorcyclist or damages to the motorcycle.
  • Collision Insurance: Covers repairs or replacement of the motorcycle when there is a collision with a vehicle or any other object
  • Comprehensive Insurance: Pays for repairs or replacement of the motorcycle when it’s stolen, vandalized, or destroyed by fire
  • Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Insurance: Protects the rider when injured in an accident caused by an uninsured motorist or a motorist with insurance coverage that is insufficient to cover damages incurred

What Factors Influence Motorcycle Insurance Rates?

Here are key factors that affect motorcycle insurance premiums:

Place of Residence 

Places with long winter months have a lower rate compared to places with short winter months. This is because the riding period is shorter, as people don’t usually ride during winter. Less time spent riding will result in fewer potential accidents and the need for insurance coverage. Also, places with high crime rates are considered high risk for insurance providers and can increase the insurance rate.


Generally, experienced motorcyclists tend to pay lower insurance premiums than those with little experience. Experience is important in determining the probability of a rider being involved in an accident. You can reduce your insurance premium by taking an authorized defensive driving course and having a good driving record.

Purpose of Use

How frequently you use the bike will influence the insurance rate. For example, someone who uses their bike for work or daily business activities will pay a higher rate than someone who rides their bike for leisure or only on weekends.

Model of Motorcycle

Bikes with more powerful engines and accessories allow riders to speed faster, but they also increase the potential for accidents. This will attract a higher premium for the bike owner.

Type of Coverage

The type and extent of the coverage the rider purchases also influence the insurance rate. An insurance policy that provides only the minimum insurance coverage is less expensive than a comprehensive insurance policy and other additional coverages.

How Can I Lower My Motorcycle Insurance Cost?

Most insurance providers offer riders discounts and ways to save money from their motorcycle insurance policy. Here are some ways you can reduce your motorcycle insurance rate:

  • Obtain quotes from several insurance providers. You can contact different insurance providers and get their quotes. Compare each quote to know what they offer and at what rate and go for the best deal.
  • Buy a simple motorcycle. Buying a less sophisticated bike can save you from paying a high insurance premium. This is because insurance providers consider the model of the motorcycle in determining the cost of insurance.
  • Purchase only the required liability coverage. States differ in their requirements for minimum motorcycle coverage while making additional coverage optional. You can purchase only the mandatory motorcycle insurance policy.
  • Combine with another policy. Most insurance companies offer multi-policy discounts, so consider combining your motorcycle insurance with your car or home insurance policy.
  • Ask your agent about other insurance discounts. Some insurance companies offer discounts to their customers, such as payment discounts, association discounts, and discounts for driving responsibly for a long time. These discounts reduce the cost of your insurance premium.


Motorcycle Legal Foundation: Do You Need Motorcycle Insurance in 2023?

Progressive.com: What Is Motorcycle Liability Insurance?

Progressive.com: Motorcycle Insurance Coverages

Morris & Dewett provides this information to the public for general education and interest. The firm does not represent clients in every topic discussed in legal & injury news. The information is curated and produced based on trends in law, governance, and society to present relevant issues to the general public. Every effort is made to provide accurate information. Do not make any decision solely based on the information provided, please seek relevant counsel for each topic area. Consult an attorney before making any legal decision, consult a doctor before making any medical decision, and consult a financial advisor before making any fiscal decision. If you have any legal needs that we can assist you with, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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