Road vs. Dirt Bikes: A Motorcycle Insurance Breakdown
The kind of motorcycle you ride says a lot about you. Whether it’s a sport bike, cruiser, dirt bike, or one of each, your insurance coverage says just as much. If you’ve done your research, you’d be smart to avoid hitting the pavement (or dirt) without proper insurance coverage. Here’s a breakdown of motorcycle insurance policy considerations according to how you ride.
Are You Road Ready?
The major difference between road bike and dirt bike insurance is whether you’ll ride on public roads. To do so, your motorcycle must carry equipment that makes it street-legal according to your state. This could include mirrors, lights, and turn signals to name a few. Obviously, your bike will also need registration and a license plate.
Some dirt bikes are intended only for off-road use. Others are known as dual sports, which means they can legally be ridden on any surface. If you’re trailering your bike to off-road trails or riding on your farm, you can get by with a more minimal type of insurance described in the next section. If your dirt bike is a dual sport, your motorcycle insurance requirements will be very similar to any other road bike.
Dirt Bike Insurance Coverage
Because dirt bikes are typically forbidden from usage on public roads, you may not legally need certain coverages designed to protect against on-road mishaps. This should save you money versus street bike insurance, but there are other things to think about when customizing coverage:
- Because dirt bikes may not require normal vehicle registration depending on the state, they can be easy targets for theft. Your policy should cover theft from your transport vehicle.
- Fire protection while the motorbike is in your garage or on your personal property.
- Damage protection for when your dirt bike is being transported.
If you only ride your bike during warm months, you might be tempted to insure it for part of the year. There are reasons why this is often not a great idea and might end up being costly. According to an NICB report, motorcycle thefts are up 26% since 2019. Thefts nationwide reach almost 6,000 a month in the summer.1 Not buying insurance for your dirt bike is inherently risky and might even be required by a lender.
On a dirt bike you won’t need to worry much about the threat of distracted drivers, but riding on trails is inherently risky even with the latest safety equipment. While good equipment is designed to protect your body, a mishap can quickly total a bike. The right insurance provides peace of mind that you can replace your bike in that event.
Road Bike Insurance Coverage
Due to sharing the road with larger vehicles, street motorcycle insurance is inherently more costly than dirt bike insurance. Most states require you to carry a minimum amount of liability coverage, other types of coverage are usually optional.2 Street bikes also tend to carry a wider range of engine displacements and safety equipment. These factors could influence your costs:
- Supersport motorcycles and their combination of lightweight and high-horsepower engines means many models can quickly reach high speeds, which encourages risky behavior. With death rates 4 times as high as cruisers and standards, insurance costs will naturally be higher.3
- The rate of fatal crashes is 22 percent lower for motorcycles equipped with optional ABS than for those same models without ABS.3
- While safety has improved relative to cars from 20 years ago, injuries and deaths are overall higher, even among older and more experienced riders.4
Choosing a statistically less dangerous type of motorcycle is one way to lower your insurance costs. Maintaining a safe riding history is another. Taking an accredited safety course is a third way to lower costs. But whatever your history or type of motorcycle, adjusting your policy to your needs is one of the best ways to save money.
Who is Answer Financial?
For over 25 years, Answer Financial has helped more than 5 million people like you find the right coverage for homes and vehicles, including motorcycles. One of the easiest ways to save from top-rated insurance companies is to visit our website to quickly compare rates and customize coverages from multiple companies.
April 11, 2023
- “Protect Your Ride! Motorcycle Thefts Are On The Rise For Second Year In A Row,” NICB.org, https://www.nicb.org/news/news-releases/protect-your-ride-motorcycle-thefts-are-rise-second-year-row
- “Motorcycle Insurance,” Insurance Information Institute, https://www.iii.org/article/motorcycle-insurance
- “Motorcycles,” Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, https://www.iihs.org/topics/motorcycles
- “Fatality Facts 2020 Motorcycles and ATVs,” Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, https://www.iihs.org/topics/fatality-statistics/detail/motorcycles-and-atvs