Motorcycle insurance is more common today
than it ever has been in the past. For many years motorcyclists
had no real options for insurance and many of them did not want
insurance anyways. Many changes have occurred in the last century
that have caused advances in motorcycle safety and the quality
of insurance programs. Many states even require motorcycle insurance
by law. Despite the mandatory insurance laws in most states between
15 and 50 percent of riders do not have insurance and almost the
same amount do not have a motorcycle license.
The first companies to offer motorcycle insurance were auto insurance
companies that had separate plans for motorcyclists. The rates
were very high as motorcycling was considered to be a rebellious
activity and the public had many negative prejudices against people
that rode. While motorcycling was and still is dangerous, the insurance
companies charged an unfairly high premium for motorcyclists because
they were uneducated about the realities of motorcycling. There
was also little to no formal training available, so most riders
did go down a lot while they were still learning.
In the 1970s and 1980s riding training
programs became more common. In 1974 the Motorcycle Safety Foundation
was founded and began giving courses basic rider skills. The
MSF is now the nation’s
leading rider safety course and is found in 48 states. Many other
independent and state-sponsored courses have been created as well
such as the California Motorcyclist Safety Program created in 1987.
Studies have shown that riders who take safety courses halve their
chance of being in a fatal accident.
At the end of the last century some states made it mandatory to
wear a helmet while riding, while many also made it mandatory to
have motorcycle insurance. Studies done in several states show
that riders have around a forty percent higher chance of dying
in a motorcycle crash when not wearing a helmet. Some studies report
an even higher increase in fatalities. Many insurance companies
lowered their rates when helmet laws became mandatory in some states.
It is also speculated that mandatory insurance means that the average
rates are lower since insurance companies have more clients.
In the past few decades, and especially in the past several years,
many insurance companies have been created that are solely dedicated
to insuring riders. This is great for riders because these insurance
companies tend to have a better understanding on the risks of riding
and what constitutes safe riding. Many of the larger auto insurers
have also created branches dedicated to motorcycle insurance as
We now live in a world where more people have less of a bias against
motorcyclists, however there is still a lot of misinformation.
The results of studies have shown that while motorcycling is dangerous,
that most motorcycle accidents are the result on untrained and
often unlicensed riders who are often under the influence of alcohol.
Proper training, proper safety gear, and sober riding can make
riding a motorcycle much less of a risk than most people would
believe it is. The insurance companies are beginning to realize
this, and the result is lower and more realistic rates for safe