Easy Writer Part 5: The Bipolar Beast
Motorcycle insurance is a strange and fickle beast.
The range of rates between Company A and Company B is absurd. One friend who rides says that it seems as if providers take your information, scientifically calculate all your potential risk factors, add in the amount of coverage you want--and then they throw all those numbers away and just spin a big wheel with dollar figures on it. Then they throw a dart at it, and wherever it should land is what you pay.
And in my limited personal experience, it doesn't seem that far fetched.
The only two general rules for insurance seem to be: the younger you are and the more sporty your bike, the higher your premiums; and the more valuable the bike, the more you pay. Think of a 16-year-old getting a Dodge Viper, or anyone driving around a Ferrari--it's going to cost a lot.
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Having a car covered through AAA insurance, one would think it would be easier and possibly cheaper to just tack a motorcycle on to the same policy and only be forced to deal with one company. To give you a good idea of how wrong this logic was: My 1967 Mustang is roughly $700 a year to insure. The bike, with the least amount of coverage that I was comfortable with, would have been about $1,100 a year.
The car is worth somewhere between $13,000 and $15,000, whilst the bike is maybe $1,500. There is a scientific term for this, ladies and gentlemen: "fucked up."
My record shows one speeding ticket from about two years ago and one non-fault accident on after six and a half years of driving--not exactly the makings of a thrill junkie with a death wish, so good ol' "Triple A" can kiss my GS500's ass.
However, proper coverage is unbelievably important in the event of a crash. And that's something I know better than most. After getting rear-ended while exiting the 5 freeway a couple of years ago, I had to be airlifted to Western Medical Center, where I racked up about $110,000 in bills very quickly. And the, I don't mind saying this, asshole who hit me had a policy that covered about the cost of a Band-Aid. If I'd not had good car and health insurance, I'd have been devoured by collection agencies.
If you're a new rider, be sure to get comprehensive and collision coverage for your bike, because you're much more likely to drop it or do something dumb in a hairy situation and wreck it when you're still a newbie. If you shopped smart and got a cheap bike, you may not care if you destroy it and are out the cost of the motorcycle. But if you're strapped for cash and can't easily replace your new ride, covering the vehicle itself is highly recommended.
Next, Geico's online quote system gave a great price--about $425. Then, upon closer inspection, it turned out the price was for just six months, not a full year. Not terrible, but not quite as good as one would hope.
That "dart-board-theory" friend claims he was previously "raped by the gecko" because Geico was grossly overcharging him, but he didn't realize until he went quote hunting months after the abuse started. His premiums went from about $3,700 a year to about $950 with AAA for his Suzuki GSX-R600 and SV650 together. (Now, show me on the doll where the gecko touched you.)
Progressive: This porridge was just right.
After entering my info, deciding on a $500 deductible for collision and comprehensive on the bike, and ample coverage for bodily injury/uninsured motorist and such, my annual cost was about $500.
The whole process was done online, and it all took roughly 25 minutes.
But, again, prices vary wildly from person to person. The "gecko-rape victim" had a 15 to 20 percent higher quote through Progressive than his Geico premium. My dad's Geico quote for his 1994 Suzuki VS800 Intruder a few years ago was about half of what mine was, while his Progressive quote was substantially more.
Just be sure to do your research and find the coverage and price that best fits you. And don't skimp. If you can't afford good coverage after shopping around, then you can't afford to ride.
Previously in Easy Writer:
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