Endorsement or Separate Policy: What’s the Best Way to Insure Your Motorcycle?

As the weather warms up, more and more riders will be hitting the streets with their motorcycles. Whether you’re a weekend rider or a hardcore road warrior, you want to be sure your valuable bike is covered for any contingency.

As a motorcycle owner, you are faced with the decision of whether to insure your bike by adding an endorsement to your auto insurance policy, or by buying a separate policy. It’s important to understand the differences between the two so you can choose the option that best suits your needs.

An endorsement is a document that is added to a basic policy either at the time the policy is purchased, or during its term, which becomes part of the policy and increases the coverage provided by that policy. If you insure your motorcycle by adding an endorsement to your auto insurance, you will only have one insurance bill to pay to cover both your car and your bike.

However, there are certain disadvantages to insuring your motorcycle this way. In most cases, you cannot customize your insurance with an endorsement. You are locked in to the same coverages, limits, and exceptions for your bike that apply to your car. That’s why it is important to discuss with your insurance agent what a motorcycle endorsement covers and how it’s covered before you add it to your auto policy.

Your insurer may offer you the choice of purchasing separate coverage for your motorcycle. While motorcycle insurance does vary by state and insurance company, one thing remains the same; your driving history and credit score may impact your eligibility. Riding a motorcycle is a higher risk activity than driving a car; if you have a number of tickets or accidents on your driving record, you may be considered too high a risk for the insurance company to extend separate coverage.

If you qualify, there are certain advantages to having a separate policy. Because these policies are created specifically for motorcycles, they offer more coverage options. For example, a motorcycle policy allows you to choose higher liability limits than you have on your auto insurance.

One of the great things about owning a bike is the ability to personalize it, but many of these customizations aren’t covered unless you purchase a separate motorcycle policy. Typically, a basic motorcycle policy will extend coverage for custom parts and equipment up to a specific limit, such as $1,000. If your custom accessories or parts are worth more than the basic policy limit, it’s a good idea to purchase additional coverage to cover those parts in case they’re ever damaged. Also, be sure to ask for a list of the specific custom parts that are covered, and any exclusions that may apply.

Keep in mind that although you will be paying a separate premium for motorcycle insurance, you may qualify for discounts. Many insurers offer discounts for multi-motorcycle policies, mature drivers, and insuring both your auto and motorcycle with the same company. In some instances, you can receive a discount for attending safety training programs, or for becoming a certified motorcycle safety instructor.