California Motorcycle Insurance
California law states that all registered vehicles, including motorcycles, you operate are required to carry insurance or some form of financial responsibility. This ensures that you are able to pay for injuries and damages to others that are caused while riding your motorcycle. You must carry evidence of financial responsibility in your vehicle at all times and it must be provided when:
- Requested by law enforcement.
- Renewing vehicle registration.
- The vehicle is involved in a traffic collision.
What Types of Vehicles are Protected By Motorcycle Insurance?
In addition to standard motorcycles, the following are considered motor vehicles and may require you to carry insurance or another form of financial responsibility:
- Street-sport bikes
- Limited production
- High-performance bikes
- Touring and sport touring bikes
- Custom bikes
- Dual purpose bikes/off-road
- Vintage bikes
What is the Minimum Amount of Motorcycle Insurance Required in California?
The minimum amount of liability insurance you must have on your Motorcycle policy is:
- $15,000 for injury/death to one person.
- $30,000 for injury/death to more than one person.
- $5,000 for damage to property.
While most riders usually just purchase a state minimum liability motorcycle insurance policy, there are actually a few other ways to satisfy the legal requirement for financial responsibility. These alternatives are usually not that common and often require a significant amount of resources. Instead of buying an insurance policy you can:
- Deposit $35,000 worth of cash with DMV.
- Obtain DMV-issued self-insurance certificate.
- Purchase a surety bond for $35,000 from a company licensed to do business in California.
It is important to keep in mind that liability insurance will only cover damages that you cause (are liable for) and not any damages to your property or self. This means that if you cause an accident, your liability insurance will only take care of the other person’s damages, but will not cover any damages to your motorcycle or any injuries that you may sustain.
This is why it is a good idea to look into possibly getting more than the state minimum requirements and also look into other forms of coverage, such as collision and comprehensive, while shopping for motorcycle quotes.
What Does Motorcycle Insurance Cover in California?
Motorcycle insurance coverage is very similar to that of car insurance coverage and can range from basic to comprehensive depending on your needs.
|Coverage Component||Example Limits of Coverage|
|Bodily Injury Liability||15,000/30,000|
|Passenger Liability||15,000/30,000 – Equal to Bodily Injury Liability|
|Property Damage Liability||10,000|
|Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury||15,000/30,000|
|Uninsured Motorist Property Damage||N/A|
|Collision Deducible Waiver (CDW)||$500|
|Rental Reimbursement||$900 – $30 per day for 30 days|
|Roadside & Towing||$100 per occurrence|
|Optional Equipment Coverage||$3,500|
The standard additional coverages you can add to both your auto insurance and your motorcycle policy are:
- Uninsured/Underinsured motorist coverage – According to the latest statistics from the Insurance Information Institute (III) 12.6% of California drivers had no car insurance. Uninsured/underinsured coverage can cover damages caused by one of these drivers.
- Collision coverage – Covers you against damages to your car that occur as a result of a traffic collision such as an accident with another driver.
- Comprehensive coverage – Protects you against damages that might occur to your car that do not involve traffic accidents such as theft or vandalism damage.
- Medical and funeral services coverage – pays for the medical or funeral expenses of you and your passengers after an accident, regardless of fault.
- Towing and roadside coverage – If your vehicle has stops running due to non-accident related events (e.g. mechanical or electrical breakdown), this coverage can be of assistance.
- Rental reimbursement coverage – Helps pay for the cost of a rental car while your vehicle is being repaired after a car accident or after suffering damages that are covered through your car insurance policy.
In addition to these coverages there are some Motorcycle specific coverages you should consider:
Passenger liability coverage – Unlike car insurance, where everyone in the car is automatically covered by your liability insurance, passengers on the back of a motorcycle may not be. Guest or Passenger Liability insurance covers bodily injury suffered by riders on the back of your bike.
Optional equipment coverage ― Covers extra or non-factory equipment and accessories added to a motorcycle. Examples of these accessories can include, but are not limited to:
- Antennas, audio devices, and various other electronic equipment
- Safety apparel, such as helmets and leather apparel
- Custom paint, plating, and exhaust systems
- Trike conversion kits
- Motorcycle trailers (pulled behind the motorcycle)
- Plow and mower blades
Trip interruption coverage ― If your planning a long ride over a few days or many miles don’t let a collision, mechanical breakdown, or comprehensive claim stop you. You can actually protect yourself with trip interruption coverage that covers:
- Alternate transportation
Who Are the Best, Most Responsive Motorcycle Insurance Carriers?
There are over 150 California admitted insurance companies that do business in our California. So just like the motorcycle you ride, your ideal insurance is distinctive to your circumstances, your preferences, and your needs. As a result, you need an experienced insurance agency that offers a large variety of vetted carriers—and can find you the best policy for the best price. Here is a list of the top motorcycle insurance companies by market share, as of 2016. In no particular order:
- Safeco Insurance
- Foremost Insurance Group
- Direct Motorcycle Insurance
- Markel Insurance Company
- American Modern
- Farmer’s Insurance Group
- National General
- Kemper Specialty
- Traveler’s Insurance Group
What Motorcycle Insurance Discounts are Available in California?
Insurance companies base their rates on the amount of risk assumed to cover a rider. If you can show that you’re less of a risk, they’ll usually lowering your premiums. They do this because safe riders file fewer claims. Here are the most common discounts associated with California motorcycle insurance policies.
- Ant-Lock Brakes Discount
- Anti-Theft Discount
- Multi-Vehicle Discount
- Good Driver Discount
- Mature Rider Discount
- Motorcycle Association Discount
- Accident Free Discount
- Defensive Driving Discount
- Theft-Recovery Discount
- Renewal Discount
- Paid-In-Full Discount
- Automatic Payments Discount
- Motorcycle Safety Course Discount
- Marriage Discount
- Multi-Policy Discount
- Defensive Driver Discount
- Low Mileage Discount
- Homeowners Discount
Are There Penalties for Motorcycle Insurance Violations?
In California, insurance is mandatory and the penalties for riding without it can be just as costly as driving your car without insurance. The law states your motorcycle registration can be suspended, revoked, or cancelled for the following reasons:
- If you submit false proof of insurance
- If your insurance policy cancels and you do not replace your liability insurance within 45 days
- If your insurance agent fails to electronically notify the DMV of evidence of insurance within 30 days of obtaining coverage after the state has already provided you with a registration card on a vehicle that has never been registered in California
If a peace officer ever pulls you over and you fail to provide proof of insurance, you could receive a traffic ticket and your vehicle can also be impounded!
Do I Need a Different Insurance Coverage for Unique & Custom Bikes?
Yes. Custom-built bikes, trikes, and vintage motorcycles all require special coverage that is not included in a standard motorcycle insurance policy. You’ll need to find one that covers the actual agreed-upon value of your motorcycle, ensures you’ll get replacement parts from certified dealers, and covers all your accessories and equipment, whether they were installed by the manufacturer or attached by someone else.
Custom bike or chopper owners have different needs because their bikes have been modified considerably from factory standards. It can often be difficult to place an exact value on a custom made- or one-of-a-kind vehicle. Because of this it can be challenging to find the right insurance policy.
Moreover, choppers are difficult to insure because they often have extremely high replacement costs, due to the fact that they have a lot of added custom features, high quality materials and added labor costs. For example, a custom chopper can easily cost twice the amount of a brand new, top-of-the-line Harley-Davidson. Depending on the level of customization, that difference can be even higher. Therefore, insurance companies view such an investment as a high-risk policy, and may refuse to cover such a vehicle.
Great Prices. Unwavering Service—The Only Way To Ride.
Shift Insurance is all about California. Whether you’ve got a chopper, a sport bike, a vintage motorcycle, or something in between, we can help you access 80% of the top-tier motorcycle carriers in the state. Add an in-depth knowledge across coverage types, a knack for analyzing the value of different premiums and discounts, and proprietary methods for finding you the most appropriate coverage—and you get value and service to endure.
We’ll find you a policy that covers the actual agreed-upon value of your motorcycle, ensures you’ll get replacement parts from certified dealers, and covers all your accessories and equipment, whether they were installed by the manufacturer or attached by someone else.
Save More With Customized Bundles
Your motorcycle isn’t the only thing you need to insure. Covering any cars you own, your home—even your business or boat—through the same company means getting a multi-line discount that increases both your savings and your value.
We’ll show you how bundling works and find you the best deals out there.
Rev up your coverage—not your costs. Call us today.