How Does Your Motorcycle Affect Your Insurance Cost?
Insurance and Customized Motorcycles
Top 5 Low Insurance Motorcycles
Motorcycle insurance is a must for any rider and there are numerous factors that will affect the premium price for that steel steed ranging from custom modifications to credit scores. Most riders take immense pride in their bikes and like to customize them to reflect their personal style and this can affect rates if the insurance agent understands the situation. Both seasoned riders and novices can learn some insider industry tips from this article to ensure their bike is properly covered, at the best rate on low-cost insurance, for when they might need it most.
There are numerous factors that will affect the quote for insurance on a motorcycle:
- Age of both the motorcycle and the rider
- Length of time the motorcyclist has been riding and the advanced safety classes they’ve successfully completed.
- Engine size of the bike
○ A Honda Rebel is a popular “starter” motorcycle with 471 cc yet, the Harley-Davidson Sportster 883 is a very popular choice among lady motorcyclists even though it is a beefier 883 cc.
- Zip Code of where the motorcycle will be garaged.
○ Areas with less crime equate to better insurance rates.
- Credit score of the rider
○ Riders with good credit scores receive much more favorable rates as it is perceived that if a person is responsible for a good score, they will be a responsible rider.
Credit Score Pro Tip:
601-660 is considered a Fair score; however, a rider should see a noticeable difference in securing low-cost insurance premiums if they have a good credit score of 661-780 or higher. If you’ve been working to improve your credit score and a decrease isn’t noticed when it’s time to renew an insurance policy, reach out to your insurance provider and ask for them to re-evaluate. Every bit of savings on insurance frees up that much more money for after-market motorcycle parts!
“Be damn sure that an insurance agent is motorcycle savvy before agreeing to a policy,” said noted motorcycle industry professional Rick Fairless of Strokers Dallas. “Not all of them will be; they are so focused on trying to get a customer a low cost insurance policy, they aren’t listening to what is being said about the customization of the bike.”
Fairless is in a position to know as he launched his own agency, Fearless Insurance, to address the needs of today’s motorcyclists. His policies are often written through Allstate as the company has traditionally been very motorcycle friendly and savvy to the unique needs of riders while offering low-cost insurance options.
All riders want to ensure they have the best coverage at the lowest rates but it is vital to remember that if a motorcycle has had extensive customization or after-market parts added to it, they may not be covered if the insurance agent isn’t savvy about bikes.
“My customers have stressed the importance of keeping all their paperwork and receipts,” said custom wheel designer Jevon Lau of Pickard USA. “Without documentation, the insurance companies will often go by the manufacturer’s stock info associated with the motorcycle’s VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) and not give any consideration to what the bike’s owner has done with customization.”
A motorcyclist may think they are getting a low insurance rate; however, if they ever need to file a claim and cannot prove the customization that has happened to their bike, they will be receiving pennies on the dollar when it comes time for a settlement.
“Insurance companies look at a motorcycle as an asset that depreciates over time,” said rider Michael Owens who has a home garage filled with a collection of Harley-Davidson, Triumph, and Ducati motorcycles that he insured in a bundle with his home and life insurance policies through State Farm. “Reality is that a bike is a frame, motor, wheels, and some tins. Once you begin to make modifications, after a while, the only thing that might be stock on that bike is the frame.”
Even though Owens had invested considerable time with his original insurance agent explaining the customization he had done to his 2001 Harley-Davidson Road King, he realized upon reviewing the fine print on his policy months later that the $10,000 custom paint job, the $4,500 in Bad Dad after-market parts, the $2,400 Pickard USA custom wheels, and several other elements were not noted in the policy which means they wouldn’t be covered should something happen to that motorcycle. Owens addressed this situation by submitting a portfolio of that ‘01 Road King which his insurance agent keeps on hand. Included are receipts and photos showing the bike’s evolution. Originally, on paper to the insurance agent, the bike was worth about $6,000; in reality, it should have been valued at replacement cost closer to $15,000. A special insurance rider has now been included in the policies on the bikes that document the modifications which directly influence the premiums.
Insurance agents will look at getting you low-cost insurance rates, but the cheapest rates may not cover the bike like it actually needs. By investing time in pulling together receipts and photos, a rider can ensure they are evaluating insurance coverage so that a true apples-to-apples comparison can be done and ensure they are getting the best rates for low-cost insurance.