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Nine Questions You Should Ask Before Buying Motorcycle Insurance

February 23, 2011

Even though it may not seem like it right now, motorcycle season will soon be here. When you’re buying motorcycle insurance, it’s important that you understand every aspect of your policy and how it affects you and your motorcycle in the event that you have to make a claim. Here are some of the questions that you should ask your insurance provider before you purchase your motorcycle insurance policy.

1. What is the cash value of my motorcycle and how do you determine it?

It’s important to know the actual value of the motorcycle you’re insuring. If your vehicle is damaged in an accident, stolen or vandalized, the value of your bike has a lot to do with the amount of money you may receive as compensation. You also don’t want to over insure the vehicle relative to its value. Ask your insurance provider how the cash value is calculated and if you have a disagreement, it’s best to get that straightened out before you sign anything.

2. How is my motorcycle classified?

Certain motorcycles are considered sport bikes and are subject to higher insurance rates than normal motorcycles. This is due to the fact that sport bikes are designed for high performance and are sometimes driven at higher speeds and are statistically more susceptible to crashes. This drives up the cost of insurance premiums for those vehicles. If you are still thinking of purchasing a motorcycle, ask your insurance professional which motorcycles are cheapest to insure. The cost of insurance can greatly affect the total cost of owning your bike, especially for young drivers.

3. Are there training courses available that can reduce my insurance costs?

If you’re new to motorcycle riding, there are some training courses that can help you get lower insurance premiums upon successful completion. Eligible courses vary depending on your province and insurance company, so be sure to ask which courses are recognized by your company.

4. What forms of coverage are mandatory?

Some types of insurance coverage are mandatory and others are optional. Mandatory insurance coverage varies depending on the province in which you live, so be sure to ask which ones you need in your region. Mandatory coverage may include:

Direct compensation-Property Damage

This coverage allows you to receive compensation directly from your insurance company, reducing the red tape and getting you the money more quickly than if you had to go through the other driver’s insurance company.

Uninsured auto coverage

This coverage covers you for any losses due to a collision with a driver who doesn’t have insurance or can’t be traced, such as a hit and run driver.

Accident benefits coverage

This coverage provides for things such as disability benefits, supplementary medical benefits and funeral and death benefits.

Third party liability insurance

This insurance protects you from financial penalties incurred when you or another person driving your bike are at fault in an accident that causes property damage, injury, or death to another person in the collision.

5. What optional coverage is available?

Optional coverage includes:

Collision

This is an optional type of insurance coverage that pays for the cost of repairing the insured vehicle if it is damaged in a collision.

Comprehensive

This covers all types of damage that are not collision related or specifically excluded from your policy. Comprehensive insurance covers events such as fire, theft or damage caused to your bike while it is being transported.

All perils

All perils insurance is essentially a combination of collision and comprehensive insurance. It covers you for anything that might happen to your bike aside from certain specific perils that are excluded from your policy. Typical exclusions are for uninsurable events such as "acts of God".

Named perils

This is usually a relatively cheap form of insurance that only covers you only for the specific events detailed in the policy.

There may be some variation in the optional packages available among insurance companies, so it makes sense to shop around and try to get the best deal possible for the level of coverage that you want.

6. Is my insurance valid outside of Canada?

If you like to travel, you should ask about the options for riding your bike in different countries. As a rule, your insurance is generally valid in Canada and the United States. If you plan to travel to Mexico, you’ll need to buy a local insurance policy before crossing the border. For any other countries, contact your insurance professional for specific details.

7. How much insurance do I need?

The amount of insurance you need can vary considerably depending on your individual situation, the age of your bike, whether you have dependants etc. There is no "one size fits all" policy. With the help of your insurance agent or broker you should target your policy to your specific needs.

8. How can I get the best rate?

Insurance companies offer discounts for a number of situations. You should ask about discounts for which you may qualify.
Here are some examples:

Multi-Line Discounts

Most insurers offer a discount if you already have one or more policies (such as home, life, or auto insurance) with their company.

Clubs or Associations

Certain clubs, unions or professional associations negotiate deals on behalf of their members that can get you a lower insurance rate.

Age

Generally speaking, more experienced drivers are eligible for lower premiums.

Anti-Theft Devices

Installing an anti-theft device on your vehicle can make you eligible for an insurance discount. Find out which devices are eligible based on your insurance company’s guidelines.

The Amount You Drive

If you only use your bike for occasional trips, you will likely get a lower rate than someone who drives extensively. Be sure to give your insurance professional a realistic estimate of the number of kilometres you ride in a year.

Your Driving Record

If you have a clean driving record, you’ll be eligible for a much cheaper rate than someone who has several accidents or traffic violations on their record.

9. What is the procedure for making an insurance claim?

Insurance companies may have some variation in their claim procedures from company to company. Make sure you know what to do in the event of an accident and how to file an insurance claim if it becomes necessary. In general, if you are in an accident, you should contact your insurance company as soon as possible and follow their instructions. Knowing what to do before an accident occurs can save you time, money and stress if you find yourself in a collision.

The key to getting the right insurance policy for your needs for the right price is twofold. You need to shop around to get the best rate, and getting insurance quotes, especially online, can be the easiest and quickest way to do that. Furthermore, your insurance professional is there to help you, so contacting them with any questions or concerns you might have about your unique situation can ensure that you get the appropriate amount of coverage for your circumstances.

Make sure you understand everything in your policy before you sign so that there are no surprises and you can be sure that the coverage is right for you.