Does my car insurance cover motorcycles?

Car insurance covers motorcycles, at least that's what some people think. However, 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.

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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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Written by Laura Berry
Former Insurance Agent Laura Berry

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® Joel Ohman

UPDATED: May 20, 2022

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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.

Your car insurance may cover motorcycles with a motorcycle endorsement, however, frequent motorists will need to purchase a separate motorcycle insurance policy. For those 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.

You can learn more about the differences between motorbike and car insurance here.

Does car insurance cover motorcycles?

The short answer is no, your car insurance won’t cover your motorcycle. In order to safely and legally ride a motorcycle, you will need the right type of coverage. 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.

Does Esurance cover motorcycles?

Esurance is a subsidiary of Allstate, one of the major insurance companies in the U.S. Many people wonder if Esurance has motorcycle insurance. Fortunately, it does.

Esurance motorcycle insurance offers various types of coverage in the event of an accident or other cause of damage. In addition, the company sells insurance for multiple motorcycle types, from classic to custom bikes.

Some of the coverages provided by Esurance motorcycle insurance include: collision, comprehensive, and liability coverage, uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, medical payments, and personal injury protection (PIP) coverage.

Does Root insurance cover motorcycles?

Unfortunately, Root does not cover motorcycles, RVs, or commercial vehicles. Root Insurance Company specializes in auto insurance, including liability, collision, comprehensive, and medical coverage. The company also doesn’t offer gap coverage when buying or leasing a car. Unlike many car insurance companies, Root also provides coverage for rebuilt and salvage titles.

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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.

Can you legally drive with motorcycle insurance?

The majority of U.S states require riders to have a motorcycle insurance policy. Only Florida does not require it. However, Florida motorcycle riders should still purchase a motorcycle insurance policy to protect themselves from incurring major financial costs.

Since most states require proof of insurance before allowing you to register your motorcycle, it is not legal to drive on public roads if your motorcycle is not registered. In order to get a license plate, you have to register your motorcycle, otherwise, you will be driving illegally and face significant penalties.

Moreover, if the motorbike has been financed, it will be required to have full coverage. But if it’s been purchased, it will need to have the basic legal requirements for your state for coverage. However, most insurance companies that offer motorcycle insurance coverage will allow you to secure a quote and purchase a policy online even if you do not have a motorcycle endorsement on your license.

Does motorcycle insurance cover other riders?

Motorcycle owners are required to have liability coverage in most states, which can help in the case of other riders. If you’re at fault for an accident while driving with a passenger, that liability coverage can help pay for your passenger’s medical expenses. Liability coverage won’t cover your passenger(s) if you’re not at fault for the accident. If you are not at fault, the at-fault driver’s liability coverage can help pay for you or your passenger’s medical expenses.

Is wearing a helmet necessary?

One of the very first questions that insurance companies will ask when you apply for motorcycle insurance quotes is whether you wear a helmet. In most states, all motorcycle riders under the age of 21 must wear a helmet.

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.

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Can you add motorcycle coverage to an existing car insurance policy?

The only way you will be able to add motorcycle coverage to 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 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.

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. Most states require motorcycle insurance coverage and, depending on the rider, bike, and location, annual premiums can range between a few hundred and a few thousand dollars.

The best way to keep your motorcycle insurance costs low is to compare rates. Once you have found at least three or four companies that extend motorcycle coverage, you can start getting quotes. The average cost of car insurance is $1,674 per year, while motorcycle policies average $519 per year, per the J.D. Power data. This should give you enough information to determine what type of coverage you can afford.

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