Hitting the open road on a motorcycle is an exciting way to explore Virginia’s many beautiful sights, but motorcyclists need to stay safe and prepare for the worst with a good motorcycle insurance policy.
Although the state of Virginia does not require motorcyclists to have insurance coverage, it’s still very useful to have in case they’re involved in an accident.
If you plan on operating a motorcycle without insurance, you’ll need to pay a $500 “uninsured motor vehicle fee” to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles. This fee is more of a penalty and is not insurance. However, you can likely find a basic motorcycle insurance policy for around $500 in Virginia so it makes much more sense to just purchase an insurance policy.
What does motorcycle insurance cover?
A basic motorcycle insurance policy will cover your liability if you injure someone or damage their property in a collision that’s your fault. Most states require at least this level of coverage to operate a motorcycle on public roads.
Many bikers will purchase additional insurance to cover things their liability insurance does not include.
Motorcycle insurance coverage options
As of 2021, there are many coverage options for motorcycles, but you may not need them all. Here are the most common types of coverage available for motorcycle insurance:
Liability insurance will cover any injuries or damage you cause to other people involved in a wreck, but not to your own injuries or damage to your bike.
Guest passenger liability insurance protects you in case a passenger riding on your bike is injured in a wreck.
Motorcycle collision insurance covers damage to your motorcycle if you’re involved in a wreck once you meet your deductible.
Comprehensive coverage will cover damage caused by something other than a collision, such as a fire, falling tree limb, or theft once you meet your deductible.
Frequently asked questions about motorcycle insurance coverage:
Q: Are my custom parts and modifications covered by motorcycle insurance?
A: You can purchase additional Insurance for any non-standard parts on your motorcycle. This can protect the value of any improvements you make, such as a new paint job, or if you repair an older motorcycle with new parts. If you purchased your bike used, confirm with the manufacturer what parts are stock and which ones are aftermarket. Additionally, if you've made any modifications that may change the replacement value of the bike, be sure to let your agent know.
Q: If motorcycle insurance isn't required in Virginia, what happens if I am involved in a wreck with someone who is uninsured?
A: It's an unfortunate reality, but it's one you should be prepared for. Be sure to ask your agent if you're protected against uninsured or underinsured motorists. You can usually add Uninsured/Underinsured motorist coverage to any motorcycle policy, which covers your injuries and damages if you get into a wreck with someone who doesn’t have insurance or doesn’t have enough insurance.
Q: Do I need special insurance for my classic motorcycle?
A: Classic and antique motorcycle insurance is for bikes that are 20 years or older and nearly in original condition. These antique bikes are usually very valuable, so repair and replacement costs are higher compared to newer models. Some insurance carriers specialize in classic and collectible cars and motorcycles, such as Hagerty Insurance. Because we are an independent insurance agency, we can compare quotes from multiple carriers (including Hagerty) so you can find the best deal for your antique bike.
Q: Do I need motorcycle insurance to drive it off the lot?
A: If you are buying a motorcycle from a dealership, you absolutely need to have some sort of minimum insurance policy in place. Most dealerships won't let you take the motorcycle home unless you can prove that you're insured.
If you purchase a motorcycle used from an individual, they may not ask you for insurance but you should still have a motorcycle policy in place before you drive it home. If you get into an accident on the way home and don't have insurance, unfortunately you'll be liable for all damages, not just to the bike or yourself, but also if you injure someone else or damage their property on the way home.
Motorcycle Insurance Perks and Extras
Insurance companies sometimes offer additional perks to policyholders like accessory coverage, accident forgiveness, and roadside assistance.
As you shop around for insurance, pay attention to what each policy will pay for if you’re in a wreck. Some policies only offer basic repair costs, while other policies will pay to replace your helmet, safety gear, and other accessories if they’re damaged. This is sometimes referred to as “accessory coverage” in insurance contracts.
Some policies also offer accident forgiveness, which means that your rate won’t jump up if you’re involved in a wreck.
If you’re out for a ride and break down, a roadside assistance service through your insurance provider could come in pretty handy. The service often includes simple, roadside fixes like battery service, flat tire fixes, fluids, as well as towing.
As for towing a motorcycle, laws and coverage vary by state and plan. Some states require separate insurance for a trailer, while others don’t require insurance at all. If you plan on towing your bike in or outside of the state you're insured in, check with your insurance agent to see if you’re covered.
How much is motorcycle insurance in Virginia?
Motorcycle insurance rates in Virginia are typically less than a car insurance policy. Prices vary by state and type of coverage, and most insurance providers usually offer different levels of motorcycle insurance to choose from.
On average, motorcycle insurance in the U.S. costs $702 for a full year of coverage. As of the writing of this article, Virginia motorcyclists pay an average of $703 per year for insurance, or $59 per month, putting it very close to the national average.
Insurance rates depend on where you live, your age, gender, driving record, the age of your motorcycle, how much you ride your motorcycle, and the motorcycle insurance provider.
Tips for saving money on motorcycle insurance
How can you save money on motorcycle insurance? Aside from shopping around for the best insurance rate, there are other ways to get the best deal on motorcycle insurance.
Bundle your insurance coverage
Chances are you have several insurance policies to cover all of your vehicles, and many insurance providers offer special discounts to clients for bundling their policies. Check with your existing insurance providers to see if they’ll offer a discounted rate on motorcycle coverage.
Pass a safety course
Motorcycle dealers, the Department of Motor Vehicles, and biker organizations sometimes offer motorcycle safety classes that can snag you a discount on motorcycle insurance. Younger riders, or riders who have been in an accident in the past, can avoid paying more in insurance if they pass a course that’s recognized by their insurance provider.
Ask about multi-bike discounts
If your household has more than one motorcycle, you may be able to put them all on the same insurance policy to save some money rather than insuring each one individually.
Motorcycle clubs or organizations may offer member discounts. If you belong to a local riding club, ask if they have a group policy you can join.
Experienced rider discounts
Older, more experienced riders often pay less for motorcycle insurance. It’s worth asking if you qualify for these discounts if you’ve been riding for a long time, even if you’re not at retirement age.
Off-season savings: “Lay-up” policy
Most motorcyclists store their bikes in the winter months when they can’t ride. Some insurance providers will offer a lay-up policy that suspends your insurance coverage aside from comprehensive coverage during the winter. Your normal policy will restart again in the spring.
Pay up front
Some insurance providers let you make payments in six or 12-month installments, rather than monthly, often resulting in some savings. If you do it this way, some carriers will even let you use your credit card without a processing fee, which is a great idea if you have a credit card with a good rewards program.
Motorcycle insurance quotes in Virginia
Motorcycle insurance is important to protect you and your loved ones in the event of an accident. Are you looking for the best motorcycle insurance in Virginia? Here’s the thing – the best insurance is never a one-size-fits-all policy. It depends on your bike, your history, where you live, and some other factors.
The Ronnie Shriner Insurance Agency has proudly served residents in the Richmond, Virginia area since 1989. Based in Glen Allen, we specialize in tailored insurance plans based on each person’s specific needs, and we’re happy to help you select the best motorcycle insurance options that work for you.