Does my car insurance cover motorcycles?

Car insurance covers motorcycles, at least that's what some people think, but it is not automatically extended, although you can get an endorsement for occasional driving (for example, non-owner motorcycle insurance). Luckily, cheap motorcycle car insurance is not too hard to find. Frequent riders should get a separate motorcycle car insurance policy.

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A former insurance producer, Laura understands that education is key when it comes to buying insurance. She has happily dedicated many hours to helping her clients understand how the insurance marketplace works so they can find the best car, home, and life insurance products for their needs.

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Jo...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP®

UPDATED: Jan 22, 2021

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Here's what you need to know...

  • Your car insurance will not automatically carry over to your motorcycle
  • For an occasional rider, a motorcycle endorsement on your car insurance policy may be enough coverage
  • A frequent rider should consider a separate motorcycle policy for the best coverage

Some people assume that their car insurance policies will automatically provide coverage for their motorcycles, but they are mistaken.

Many motorists think that since they can legally register and get a license plate for their motorcycles – like they can for their car – their regular car insurance is all they need to legally ride their bikes.

In order to safely and legally ride a motorcycle, you will need the right type of coverage.

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There are two ways to get insurance for your motorcycle. If you have an existing car insurance policy, you can get what is called a motorcycle endorsement.

This is simply an extension of your policy that allows you to insure your bike. Remember, motorcycle endorsements are not the same as full coverage.

For motorists that do not want to purchase a separate policy, motorcycle endorsements can be convenient.

If you are only an occasional rider, you might not be concerned with comprehensive coverage. However, if your motorcycle is your main mode of transportation, purchasing a separate motorcycle insurance policy is best.

How do you purchase a motorcycle insurance policy?

Since most car insurance providers also insure motorcycles, getting a new policy is fairly easy. You can inquire about motorcycle coverage with your insurance agent to find out more about rates.

Alternatively, you can shop around for quotes and get your motorcycle insurance policy through another insurance provider.

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Is wearing a helmet necessary?

A man in a motorcycle helmet.

One of the very first questions that insurance companies will ask when you apply for motorcycle insurance quotes is whether or not you wear a helmet. In some states, driving a motorcycle while wearing a helmet is the law.

Most states also require passengers to wear a helmet while riding on the back of motorcycles.

If you happen to live in a state that does not require motorcycle drivers to wear a helmet, you need to be aware of the potential risks you face. If you ever

If you ever get into an accident, your injuries will likely be serious. Beyond having higher motorcycle insurance rates, riding without a helmet on is just plain dangerous.

Can you add a motorcycle onto an existing car insurance policy?

The only way you will be able to add motorcycle coverage onto an existing auto insurance policy is if your insurance company offers endorsements. Your car insurance provider must also be in the business of insuring motorcycles.

If you end up purchasing a separate policy from the same car insurance company, you will have to list all drivers and provide your driver’s license number.

Expect to answer the same types of questions that you were asked when you initially purchased your car insurance policy.

Do you need a special license to drive a motorcycle?

In most cases a permit, an endorsement or a motorcycle permit is needed to operate a motorcycle. In addition, you will need proof of insurance before you will be able to go out on the road. This is where a lot of motorcyclists go wrong.

Virtually anyone can purchase a motorcycle and temporary tags can be issued within days, but you cannot legally drive your motorcycle until you have taken care of all of the requirements:

  • Written exam
  • Physical exam
  • Motorcycle endorsement
  • Proper insurance

You can attend a driving school in order to learn, however, your motorcycle license can only be issued by the DMV. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration provides motorcyclists with informational pamphlets and illustrations detailing how to drive a motorcycle safely.

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Is motorcycle insurance expensive?


Motorcycle insurance rates are calculated in a manner that is similar to car insurance. If you are under the age of 25, have had several accidents, and don’t have much experience riding motorcycles, you can expect to pay high insurance premiums.

Some insurance companies see motorcycle insurance as such a high risk that they will not extend coverage to certain drivers.

The type of motorcycle that you want to insure will also have an impact on your rates. Racing motorcycles with powerful engines are much more expensive to insure than casual riding bikes.

The best way to keep your motorcycle insurance premiums low is to compare rates. Once you have found at least three or four companies that extend motorcycle coverage, you can start getting quotes.

This should give you enough information to determine what type of coverage you can afford.

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