Rather than travelling on a newer bike, many riders have a passion for classic motorcycles. Classic motorcycle buffs enjoy putting extra time and care into the maintenance and restoration of these bikes, and if cared for properly, often appreciate in value over time.
“Classic” motorcycles are also referred to as “vintage” or antique,” and require specialized insurance coverage.
What is considered classic? Generally, an older motorcycle that is over a certain age, usually between 15 and 20 years old, is considered classic and also may be referred to as vintage or antique. Criteria varies by insurer and while one may define classic as over 15 years of age, another may not recognize a bike as classic or vintage until it is over 30 years old. In addition to the age qualification, some insurers may also only consider bikes under classic policies if it increases in value each year and meets a minimum market value.
Comprehensive Coverage at a Reduced Premium
Part of the dedication that goes into classic motorcycles is obtaining the proper insurance. When researching insurance, it is important to ensure that the coverage is specialized for classic motorcycles according to the specific kind of bike and planned usage, giving owners better coverage. There are many companies that specialize in this area, with policies tailored to individuals and their bikes, thereby reducing the chances that they will be charged a higher than necessary premium. The best plan will allow for full coverage at the best price. As with regular bikes, owners should determine the level of coverage needed and compare policy details with regard to deductibles, premiums, limits, and the various types of coverage including liability, collision, comprehensive, and uninsured/insured motorist.
Classic motorcycle insurance is typically more affordable than insurance for modern bikes due to a fewer number of claims. Put simply, owners of classic motorcycles generally take excellent care of their bikes, drive safely, and are less likely to be involved in an accident. In addition, the market for stolen classic bikes is typically smaller than the market for new ones, reducing the risk of theft.
Determining the Value of Classic Motorcycles
One of the first steps an owner should take is obtaining the correct value of the bike to be insured, which will be the most important factor in the cost of the premium. Owners should be able to provide the insurer with information such as the age of the bike, the starting price, whether it was part of a limited collection, and whether it has had any restoration work done. Carriers may require a vehicle inspection, photos, and appraisals by an authorized professional or restoration specialist. They key is to make sure that it is insured for the appropriate value. Many specialized insurers will write the policy based on an agreed amount, so that in the event of a total loss, the vehicle’s full insured value is paid, minus any applicable deductible. This agreed value protection usually provides for no depreciation. Owners who treasure their bikes don’t want to be in a situation where they don’t receive the full value of their motorcycle due to an accident or theft.
The Mileage Factor
A key factor in the type of coverage needed is how often, if any, the motorcycle will be driven. Lower annual mileage usually equates to lower premiums. Classic bikes are rarely used as the main transportation choice, such as commuting to work. Some owners choose to never or rarely ride their classic bikes, and use them only in shows or parades, although insurance is still required to at least cover in the event of theft or in the event of a fire, for example. If an owner plans to take the bike on the road, the insurer will want to know an estimate of annual mileage. A number of companies offer flexible policies that allow owners to drive their motorcycle up to a certain number of miles per year.
Proper storage is also an important factor in classic motorcycle insurance premiums. Insurers want to know that the bike is stored in an enclosed, secure area. As with any vehicles, bikes stored outside are more prone to theft and are an increased risk. Ideally, classic motorcycles are stored in a garage and also have a security system. The insurer should also be informed if the bike is ever transported, such as on a trailer to a show, to ensure that the storage policy covers the bike during transit or while it is away from home.
Additional Coverage Options & Discounts
In addition to the standard discounts for regular insurance including good driving and association member discounts, extra coverage options may be available for classic motorcycles. Some insurers may offer inflation protection that will automatically increase the value of the bike each year. In addition, spare parts for classic bikes may be hard to find and insurers may have specialists on staff that assist with locating these replacement parts. Many specialty companies will also provide added benefits such as towing and roadside assistance.
As with any insurance product, it is important to shop around and obtain several quotes from insurers who specialize in classic bikes. In addition to family and friends, there are many sources of valuable information and ways to obtain quotes, especially online. Inquiring about customer service options and financial strength are also good ideas, as it is good to know what to expect if questions arise or a claim must be filed.
Finding the right coverage for classic motorcycles may take extra time, but will be worth it in the long run.