Is it Cheaper to Insure a Motorcycle or a Car?

Last Updated on April 25, 2021

There’s nothing better than hitting the open road on the back of your bike; feeling the power of the motor underneath you and feeling the wind whipping through your hair. It really is quite an exhilarating experience.Is it Cheaper to Insure a Motorcycle or a Car?

However, while riding a motorcycle is certainly thrilling, it can also be quite dangerous. In order to protect yourself – and other motorists – carrying the right type of motorcycle insurance is an absolute must. Plus, in order to legally operate your motorcycle, you are required to carry an adequate amount of coverage.

But, if you’re new to riding a motorcycle, you probably have a lot of questions about insurance coverage. Namely, you likely want to know if it will cost more to insure your hog than it will to insure your car. Below, we answer the most frequently asked question among new motorcyclists: Is it cheaper to insure a motorcycle than it is to insure a car?

Motorcycle Insurance and Car Insurance: The Similarities

First, let’s take a look at the similarities between motorcycle insurance and car insurance. Of course, both types of coverage are meant to protect you and other drivers from the property damages and physical injuries that can occur in the event of an accident. In most states, you are legally required to carry a minimum of liability insurance for both types of vehicles. This type of insurance offers coverage for third-party injuries and property damages; it doesn’t protect you or your vehicle. For instance, if you are involved in an accident and you are at fault, liability coverage will pay for the injuries and damages that the other party experiences; it will not pay for damages you or your property sustains.

Of course, you can purchase additional types of coverage, such as uninsured/underinsured motorist, collision, and comprehensive.

Whichever type of insurance you carry on your motorcycle, there are a number of factors that an insurance provider will take into consideration when determining how much it will cost to cover the bike. These factors are generally the same as those that are considered when determining how much it will cost to cover a car.

These factors include:

  • The type of bike you are riding
  • How much the bike cost
  • Whether or not you are financing the bike
  • Where you reside
  • Where you will be riding
  • Other individuals that may be riding your bike
  • How often you plan on riding
  • Your driving record

Whichever type of insurance you are purchasing for your motorcycle, all of these factors will be taken into consideration when determining your rates.

Which Costs More to Insure – a Motorcycle or an Automobile?

Most people think that motorcycle insurance costs more than car insurance. They think this because motorcycles are statistically much riskier than automobiles and tend to be involved in more serious accidents. In addition to the greater likelihood that an accident will occur while riding a bike, it’s also much more likely catastrophic injuries will occur – resulting in expensive medical costs.

Fortunately, for motorcycle drivers, this risk does not push motorcycle insurance premiums too high. Motorcycle insurance is not only cheaper than auto insurance, it’s much cheaper. The reason for this is simple – automobiles cost more to replace than motorcycles. If you total a car, your insurer will need to cut you a check for the value of the vehicle – often $10,000 or even $50,000. Motorcycles, however, are usually only worth between $4,000 and $6,000, so the burden on your insurer will be much lower.

Not only do automobiles cost more to replace than motorcycles, but they also cost more to repair. According to AAA, the average automobile repair bill costs between $500 and $600. The average motorcycle repair bill, according to Consumer Reports, is just $342.

Because motorcycles are much smaller and more lightweight than automobiles, they also inflict less property damage. If a motorcyle crashes into somebody’s yard, for example, it might only cause damage to the fence and the landscaping. An automobile, on the other hand, might simply drive right through the house resulting in upwards of $100,000 in damages.

Average Full Coverage Insurance Rates by State

Not surprisingly, the most expensive state to insure your motorcycle in is California, with an average annual rate of $1,360 for full coverage motorcycle insurance. In comparison, the average full coverage auto insurance policy in the Golden State costs $2,065 annually. Nationwide, the average full coverage motorcycle insurance policy costs just $702 while the average full coverage auto insurance policy costs $1,674.

The table below shows the average rates for the top 10 most expensive states for full coverage motorcycle insurance.

RankStateAnnual Full Coverage Motorcycle RatesAnnual Full Coverage Auto Rates
4New York$969$2,321
8Rhode Island$889$2,018

How Can You Lower the Cost of Your Motorcycle Insurance?

While it generally costs more to insure an automobile than it does to insure a motorcyle, there are ways that you can keep the costs down. The methods for lowering the price of your motorcycle coverage are very much the same as keeping the cost of your car insurance premiums down.

Here are a few pointers:

  • Ride a safe bike. Just like a safer car costs less to insure, a safer bike will also cost less to insure. Consider driving a bike that offers key safety features, such as anti-lock brakes, stability control, LED lighting, anti-theft devices, and even airbags. Yes, motorcycles are not being manufactured with airbags.
  • Ride safely. Make sure you adhere to the rules of the road, avoid driving in inclement weather, keep your speed down, and don’t take risks. The safer you drive, the better your record will be, which can translate to substantial discounts on your premiums.
  • Use the same insurer for your car and motorcycle. Your insurance provider may offer discounts if you insure both vehicles with them.
  • Take defensive driving courses. Your insurance carrier may offer discounts if you complete a defensive driving course.

The Bottom Line on Motorcycle Insurance

Motorcyclists can rest easy to know that insuring their bike will cost less than insuring their car. The average full coverage auto insurance policy will cost you around $1700 per year while the average full coverage motorcycle insurance policy will cost you just $700 per year.

While riding a motorcycle can certainly be an exhilarating experience, it can also be dangerous. To ensure your safety, carrying the right type of coverage is paramount; even if it does not cost you more than your car insurance. To take advantage of bundled insurance discounts, call your insurer today to ask about adding motorcycle insurance to your existing account.

James Shaffer
James Shaffer James Shaffer is a writer for and a well-seasoned auto insurance industry veteran. He has a deep knowledge of insurance rules and regulations and is passionate about helping drivers save money on auto insurance. He is responsible for researching and writing about anything auto insurance-related. He holds a bachelor's degree from Bentley University and his work has been quoted by NBC News, CNN, and The Washington Post.
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