You can picture it now: cruising along an open stretch of I-70 in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains with the wind whipping through your hair. When you’re on your motorcycle, there’s nothing between you and the open air—or the asphalt, or that tree, or that car.
Sorry. I hate to be a buzz-kill, but this article is about insuring your motorcycle in Colorado and we all know that motorcycle riding comes with risks, which is why insurance is so important. As an avid biker, you embrace the risks as part of the freedom you experience. You also need to embrace insurance.
The good news is that, by taking a little time to do some research, you might be able to reduce your insurance premiums. It’s important to understand what Colorado insurance companies take into account when determining the premium on your motorcycle and how to keep your insurance costs down.
The More Expensive the Bike, The More Expensive the Insurance
Like most car insurance policies, motorcycle insurance costs vary from bike to bike. Insuring a small or commuter motorcycle will be much less expensive than insurance for a high-end bike that has high horsepower. Therefore, when you’re purchasing your motorcycle, don’t get captivated by the most expensive bike you can possibly afford because you need to leave money in the bank for the high insurance rates you’ll pay on that bad boy.
Consider your budget not only for what you’re willing to pay for the bike up front, but also for how much you can afford when you have to pay the insurance premium every month.
Also, the bigger the engine, the more it will be to insure. Big engines mean big speed, which generally means big crashes. Along these lines, sport bikes tend to come with much higher insurance premiums than cruisers. It’s important to remember that the safer your motorcycle is, the less expensive your policy will be.
Are you an extremely safe and meticulous driver in your automobile? Some insurance companies will give you a discount on your motorcycle insurance if you’re a good auto driver. The same is often true for motorcycles. Obviously, nobody wants to get in an accident, but if you play it extra safe and always stick to the rules, you’ll have a greater chance of being accident-free. Having no accidents may entitle you to a no-claims bonus. The qualifications for this bonus vary between insurance companies and states so be sure to do your research.
“Guest passenger” coverage is a category of insurance that only pertains to motorcycles. This is different from automobile policies, which generally cover all other passengers in the vehicle without any extra costs. If you’re a fan of being one—and only one—with your motorcycle, or if you’re willing to become a fan of solo riding, this might be a good way to save some money on your insurance coverage.
Here’s the catch, and it’s important: If you don’t have guest passenger coverage because you’ve decided to be an exclusively solo rider, you should never, EVER let another person ride with you.
If you should get into a motorcycle accident, the financial impact to you could be catastrophic. Imagine your friend with severe or life-threatening injuries and your insurance company saying to you, “We owe you nothing.”
That friend of yours (or their family) could actually sue you (I’ve seen it happen over and over again between people who were the tightest of friends) for help paying their medical bills. You could lose your home and all your other possessions. Never let another rider on your bike unless you’re insured to cover them.
Cap Your Mileage
For a lot of people, their motorcycles aren’t their primary mode of transportation. Some riders just use their motorcycles during spring and summer months, while others tend to take them out only on the weekends. If your motorcycle is more like a toy or a hobby, you may want to consider capping your mileage. Some insurance companies may offer a lower premium for lower annual mileage.
Have Good Credit
According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, in most states, “insurers can use your credit-based insurance score to determine your premiums.” For example, they reason that if you seem responsible with your money, you’ll be responsible for your own safety.
Insurance companies also figure that you will pay your premiums on time if you have no history of being delinquent on a bill. Each insurance company uses different criteria to determine how you would manage your risk exposure, so make sure to do your research.
Take a Motorcycle Safety Course
I saved the best for last. For many reasons, you should take a motorcycle safety course. The best reason is because it could save your life, and even help you save other lives. Another good reason is because your insurance company may reduce your premium when you give them proof that you passed the course.
My favorite place to take a motorcycle training class in Colorado is at the Motorcycle Training Academy, which has schools in Colorado Springs and Aurora. The instructors there have huge hearts and they understand the passion people have for their bikes. That’s why they are passionate about keeping you safe.
Once you’ve taken that basic safety class and you’ve got some miles under your belt, go back to MTA and take advanced rider courses to keep your skills sharp and learn advanced skills. If you’re willing to invest in new equipment for your bike, be willing to invest in yourself.
There are other ways to reduce your motorcycle insurance premiums, but I don’t necessarily recommend them. For example, don’t increase your deductible just to save a few bucks every month. Also, you NEED to get underinsured motorist coverage (UIM), which will add to your premium, but since Colorado has so many uninsured or underinsured drivers, you need to protect yourself from them. Read more on that topic here.