If you’re new to motorcycling, there are many things to consider before you’re ready to hit the open road. One thing all riders in Canada must have is insurance, but where you live can make a tremendous difference as insurance costs can vary dramatically from province to province.
In a report produced a few years ago by Canada MotoGuide, Ontario led the way with the most expensive motorcycle insurance in the country. Provinces in the west, particularly British Columbia and Alberta, were considerably cheaper by comparison. But no matter where you live in Canada, there are steps you can take to save on your motorcycle insurance.
Complete a Training Course
As a new rider, one of the smartest things you can do is to take a certified training course. Not only will this help make you a safer rider, but you can also save anywhere from 10% to 20% on your annual insurance bill.
There are several motorcycle training courses available in Canada, including the highly regarded Gearing Up for Motorcycle Training series offered by the Canada Safety Council. Many colleges also provide motorcycle training as part of their Continuing Education programs.
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Choose Your Style Wisely
Insurance companies consider the style of your bike when setting rates and typically classify motorcycles as standards, adventure and touring bikes, cruisers, or sportbikes. Because they are designed to be fast and agile, sportbikes are the most expensive to insure, and some insurance companies even refuse to cover this style of bike for younger, less experienced riders.
Engine size is also a factor and insurance costs can escalate quickly if your motorcycle’s engine capacity is larger than 650 cubic centimetres. To keep your insurance payments more manageable until you get a few years’ of experience under your belt, consider a mid-sized, non-sport bike as your first motorcycle.
Increase Your Deductible
The deductible is the amount you must pay when you make an insurance claim before your insurance company covers the remainder of the claim. It is common to have a $250 or $500 deductible and increasing it could result in a lower premium. However, before doing this, consider how much you are saving on your total premium and if it is worth the risk, should you need to file a claim in the future.
Bundle Your Insurance
Most insurance companies offer a price cut if you add motorcycle insurance to an existing home or auto policy. Be sure to ask your current insurance provider if they offer a bundle discount for motorcycle.
Your location is included as part of the risk calculation for your insurance quote, and if you live in an urban centre, you can expect to pay more than if you were in a rural area. That’s because the likelihood of an incident is potentially greater on busier roadways and insurance providers seek to offset that risk by charging a higher premium.
While you probably can’t move to save a few bucks on your insurance, your location is also used to assess the likelihood of theft. Some insurance companies offer a discount if you keep your bike locked in a garage and out of sight of those with bad intentions. You may also receive a discount if your motorcycle has an alarm installed at the factory or if you use an after-market device[FC2] such as a brake-lock immobility system.
Join a Riding Club
Not to be confused with biker “gangs” but many insurance providers offer discounts to members of motorcycle ridings clubs. The Canadian Motorcycle Association (CMA) is a national organization that has represented Canadian motorcyclists since 1946, and all CMA members are eligible for group insurance rates with several major providers.
Insure Your Bike Even During Winter
Even though you will only be riding your motorcycle for seven or eight months of the year, companies provide insurance for the full year. Because you’re not riding, you may be tempted to cancel your policy for the winter months and request a refund. Don’t.
The insurance companies know that motorcycle riding is a seasonal pastime, and the vast majority of riders cannot ride all year. As a result, premiums are based on the normal riding months, but coverage is extended for the full year. If you cancel your policy for just the winter months, you will not receive a refund.
Worse still, you could end up paying more. Insurance companies consider how long you’ve had continuous incident-free insurance coverage as one means of assessing your risk. A lapse in coverage, even for just a few months, could disqualify you for an additional discount.
Keep Your Driving Record Clean
When providing details about your driving record, resist the temptation to be less than truthful when asked about prior traffic violations. All insurance companies will verify your driving history and any traffic violation in the past three years, including speeding and other driving infractions, will be taken into consideration when determining your policy.
If your driving record does have a few blemishes, accept that for now at least, you will be paying extra for your insurance. Avoid any further infractions, and within a few years, you will be in a position to take advantage of “good driver” discounts.
Always Shop Around
Finally, like any major purchase, it’s always a good idea to compare rates from multiple providers. Each company uses its own methods to assess risk based on such things as your age and experience, and the motorcycle you plan to insure. You should get quotes from at least three providers to ensure you are getting the best price.