9 Questions to Ask When Buying Motorcycle Insurance

With the onset of summer comes an increase in the number of motorcycles on the road. As of 2018, Statistics Canada reports there are 729,627 registered motorcycles and mopeds in Canada.

Safety is always the top priority when operating a motorcycle. Before you take your ride out for a spin, it’s vital to ensure you have the right kind of motorcycle insurance to protect you and your wheels. Moreover, it's important that you understand every aspect of your policy and how it affects you and your motorcycle in the event you need to file a claim.

Here are nine questions that you should ask your insurance provider or broker when purchasing a 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 bike is damaged in an accident, stolen, or vandalized, the value of it has a lot to do with the amount of money you may receive as compensation. You also don't want to over-insure it 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. What’s the difference? Sport bikes are designed for high performance and are sometimes driven at higher speeds. As such, they are statistically more susceptible to crashes. This drives up the cost of insurance premiums for them. If you are still thinking of purchasing a motorcycle, compare quotes on a few models to find out which are the cheapest to insure. The cost of insurance can greatly affect the total cost of owning your bike, especially for young drivers.

3. Are there motorcycle 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 insurer. In Ontario, the Ministry of Transportation provides a list of government-approved motorcycle safety courses. In Alberta, the government provides a Rider’s Guide for motorcyclists, and you can contact Motor Vehicles Alberta for more information about licensing and safety training.

4. What kind of motorcycle insurance coverage is mandatory?

Whether you’re purchasing motorcycle, moped, or scooter insurance for the first time or renewing a policy, some types of 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. 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. This coverage provides for things such as disability benefits, supplementary medical benefits and funeral and death benefits.
  • Third-Party Liability. 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.

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5. What optional coverage for motorcycles is available?

Optional coverages include:

  • 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.
  • 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 motorcycle 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 riding in any other country, contact your insurance professional for more details.

7. How much motorcycle insurance do I need?

The amount of insurance you need can vary considerably depending on your individual situation, the age of your bike, if there’s a sidecar and whether or not there are other riders. 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 lowest premium for my motorcycle?

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 bike 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 drive 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 do I do if I need to file a claim for my motorcycle?

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 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 can ensure that you get the appropriate amount of coverage. Above all, make sure you understand everything in your motorcycle insurance policy, so you can be sure that the coverage is right for you.