Rachael Brennan has been working in the insurance industry since 2006 when she began working as a licensed insurance representative for 21st Century Insurance, during which time she earned her Property and Casualty license in all 50 states. After several years she expanded her insurance expertise, earning her license in Health and AD&D insurance as well. She has worked for small health insuran...

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Written by Rachael Brennan
Licensed Agent for 15 Years Rachael Brennan

Chris Harrigan has an economic degree from Limestone College and an MBA from Clemson University. He previously managed auto insurance claims for Enterprise Rent-A-Car. Currently, he is using his business and insurance expertise to provide insurance data analysis and visualizations to enhance the user experience.

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Reviewed by Chris Harrigan
Former Auto Insurance Claims Manager Chris Harrigan

UPDATED: Jun 21, 2022

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Key takeaways...

  • When you own a motorcycle, you need special coverage that’s not typically provided under your auto insurance
  • Riding a motorcycle presents a unique type of risk, which is why riders must purchase separate insurance
  • Some car insurance providers do offer customers with cars the option to add their bike to their existing policy
  • Under state law, both cars and motorcycles must have the state minimum requirements, or you can be penalized
  • Your auto insurance will extend to newly purchased or borrowed cars, but not to newly purchased or borrowed bikes

Both cars and motorcycles are motor vehicles that get you from point A to point B. Even though both are forms of transportation, it takes a much different skill set to drive a car than it does to ride a bike.

You can have an accident in either one, but the likelihood of having a fatal accident with a motorcycle is much higher because you’re exposed to the elements.

Car insurance might cover both trucks and vans as well, but it doesn’t cover vehicle owners who are riding motorcycles.

Just like you need a special state-issued driver’s license to ride a motorcycle, you need a special type of insurance for protection while you ride. Your bike is a unique vehicle, just like you are. Car insurance doesn’t fit the bill.

Let’s discuss what you need to know about insurance to cover you and your motorcycle.

If you need better coverage for your motorcycle, compare at least three to four policies today! Enter your ZIP code above to begin!

Auto Insurance Covers You When Driving Non-Owned Cars

If you own just a motorcycle and end up renting a car or borrowing a car from a friend, you should know that your existing auto insurance will more than likely extend while you’re in the non-owned car.

When you’re renting or borrowing a vehicle, the coverage is afforded under the temporary substitute vehicle provision of your contract.

Under the temporary substitute provision, you’ll have third-party liability insurance in place as you’re driving the non-owned vehicle and physical damage coverage if you’re carrying full coverage.

This third-party coverage is the prime reason that you don’t need supplemental coverage when you’re renting a car.

If you’re borrowing a car owned by a friend, the vehicle owner’s insurance is primary, but your insurance will be secondary if a claim is denied or there isn’t enough coverage.

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Auto Insurance Also Covers You When You Buy a New Car

If you’re shopping for a car, you can expect a dealer to ask you for proof of insurance before you’re allowed to leave the lot.

It doesn’t matter if you’ve signed a bill of sale and other finance agreements. It’s the dealer’s duty to verify you’re covered before you drive off and put others at risk.

When you don’t own a car or have insurance in your name, you have to apply for coverage on the new car right away.

If, however, you own a car in your name or you’re trading one in, you will have whatever coverage you’re carrying under your insurance. If you have multiple cars, the broadest limits on your policy will extend.

Like the temporary substitute provision, there are restrictions as to what type of vehicles are covered under the newly acquired vehicle provision.

What are the restrictions for coverage extensions?

You can’t just borrow any car and lean on your insurance. If you’re borrowing a standard car, a compact car, or even a convertible, your insurance will still cover you.

It’s when you rent an exotic car or a commercial vehicle that there’s no coverage for either provision. Motorcycles fall under the list of restricted vehicles.

Are you required to buy insurance on a motorcycle?

In most states, motorcycle owners are held to the same standard as vehicle owners when it comes to buying insurance. You have to comply with the mandatory insurance laws to register your motorcycle in your name.

These laws aren’t in place everywhere, but if they are, you’ll be considered an uninsured motorist if you drive without coverage.

Believe it or not, in some states with mandatory insurance laws, there’s no law that says insurance is compulsory for motorcycle drivers.

Motorcycles may have two wheels, but that doesn’t mean they can’t cause a lot of damage and injury to other drivers and property. You, therefore, still need to consider coverage mandatory.

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Why You Need Insurance on Motorcycles

While you may only need basic liability coverage to drive legally in most states, it’s recommended that you add additional types of insurance to your policy, such as collision insurance, uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, personal injury protection, and comprehensive coverage.

There are a wide range of additional coverage options available, though the cost of motorcycle insurance will increase with each coverage added. Talk to an insurance agent about the best options for your motorcycle policy.

Whether it’s mandatory or optional, you need to buy motorcycle insurance on any bike that you own. Motorcycles might be small vessels, but they travel at high speeds and can suffer significant damage in even a minor loss.

In a worst-case scenario, someone would suffer serious injury in a bike vs. auto accident. You need liability insurance to protect you from lawsuits.

In addition to third-party liability insurance, which covers medical bills accrued by others and their property repairs, you need to consider adding first-party coverage.

It can be helpful if you purchase medical payments coverage for yourself and also physical damage coverage for your bike.

Where do you buy motorcycle insurance?

It’s best for you to buy a standalone motorcycle policy if you own a bike and drive it even on just weekends. Some insurance companies do sell coverage under an endorsement through your existing policy, but these endorsements have a lot of limitations.

A standalone policy will provide you with the best level of protection.

You will need to contact an insurance company to see if they have specialty motorcycle policies. Not all insurers that sell car insurance will sell standalone bike plans.

You can even talk with a broker so that you can be pointed in the right direction.

What type of coverage can you buy on a motorcycle insurance policy?

As you’re shopping around for motorcycle insurance, looking for a good policy is key. You have to be insured through a carrier that offers you useful features for when you file a claim for an accident.

Here are some coverage options you can add to your policy:

  • Liability – Pays for third-party property damage and bodily injury expenses
  • Medical Payments – Pays for you and your passenger’s injuries after any auto-related accident
  • Uninsured Motorist – Pays for your injuries after an accident with a hit-and-run driver or with someone who doesn’t have liability coverage
  • Comprehensive – Pays for damage to your vehicle while it’s parked
  • Collision – Pays for damage to your vehicle after a collision

If you’re not sure where to find affordable motorcycle insurance, it’s time to compare rates.

Everyone pays a unique rate that’s dependent on several rating factors. Get your quotes for affordable car insurance in minutes by using an online price comparison tool and then start budgeting.

Try our FREE online quote tool and start comparison shopping today for auto insurance! Enter your ZIP code below and find the best deal!