I Just Bought a Motorcycle! Now what? Insurance and safety tips

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I Just Bought a Motorcycle! Now what? Insurance and safety tips

You finally bought that bike. You’re itching to travel the open road and feel the wind at your back. But before you take off on your first trip, you’ll need motorcycle insurance and safety equipment. With good coverage and good equipment, you’ll be protected against almost anything that comes your way.

Just like auto insurance, if you own a motorcycle, you must carry motorcycle insurance in order to drive your bike legally. It protects your investment, but it also protects you and any passenger riding with you in the case of accident, theft, or damage.

Motorcycle coverage protects most bikes on the road, including sport bikes, street bikes, cruisers, touring bikes, standard motorcycles, custom motorcycles, scooters, dirt bikes, trikes, classics, ATVs, snowmobiles, golf carts, Segways, and other 2-wheeled rides. It may also cover custom equipment, towing, and labor.

What are my Motorcycle Insurance Coverage Options?

  • Liability insurance – covers damage or injury to property or people in the event you are held to be at fault in an accident or collision. It does notcover you or your bike.
  • Collision coverage – covers your motorcycle and pays for damage to your bike, less the deductible, even if the damage is your fault.
  • Comprehensive coverage – covers your bike from non-accident related events, such as theft, vandalism, and fire.
  • Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist coverage – provides protection if you are involved in an accident caused by another driver who has no insurance or has inadequate insurance coverage. This coverage will help page for medical treatment and other damages to you and your passenger. You may also want to include uninsured motorist property damage coverage. This will protect your bike and cover repairs.

Additional insurance options

Along with the vehicle itself and liability coverage to protect riders and property damage, you can get coverage for the equipment you need to ride safely. Items like helmets, riding leathers, and snowmobile gloves can be covered and replaced if stolen or damaged in an accident.

Motorcycle Premium Discounts

You may be eligible to take advantage of premium discounts, depending upon your age and driving record, your bike’s type, style, age, and the location at which it is kept, and whether you are a member of a motorcycle association and/or have completed a motorcycle safety rider course. Many companies offer 10% – 15% discounts for graduates of the Motorcycle Safety Foundation rider course. You may also qualify for a multi-policy discount if you bundle your home, car or life insurance with the same company.

Time for a safety review

Motorcycle helmets are vital to safety — the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that they reduce the risk of head injury by 69%. But what exactly should you look for in a helmet?

  • Thick inner liner.To meet federal safety standards, your helmet should have an inner polystyrene foam liner that’s at least one inch thick.
  • Sturdy chin strap and rivets.You want to make sure the helmet stays on your head.
  • As a general rule of thumb, safe helmets should weigh about 3 pounds.
  • DOT sticker.Helmets that meet the federal safety regulations must have a DOT (Department of Transportation) sticker certifying this fact on the back. A helmet with the DOT sticker meets the government safety requirements.

Other safety gear and tips to consider

  • Eye protection.Whether you choose goggles or large sunglasses, protective eyewear helps block sun and wind and protects your eyes from debris and bugs flying up from the road. A helmet with a face shield will also do the trick. But make sure it’s shatter proof, scratch free, and well ventilated, to avoid fogging up.
  • Durable clothing.There’s a reason bikers wear leather jackets. They’re durable and can provide protection from abrasions in case of a spill. Long sleeves and pants are best. But make sure the pants are tight at the bottom to prevent getting caught on the machine.
  • Sure, winter’s gone and our wooly gloves have been put away, but if you’re riding a motorcycle, a pair of non-slip gloves should remain part of your spring and summer attire. Leather works really well, but there are other specialty materials too.
  • Just like other motorcycle gear, your shoes should protect against debris and abrasion. Boots that cover your ankle and lower leg offer the best protection. Once again, leather is the material of choice. Avoid sandals and slip-ons as they’re not secure and will offer little protection against flying debris or if you wipe out. Also, beware of dangling laces that can get caught in the machinery.

Tips to stay safe on the road

  • Be as visible as possible.Wear brightly colored or reflective clothing and keep your headlight on at all times.
  • Don’t assume other drivers can see you.Not all drivers check their blind spots before switching lanes. Be alert and ready to act if a car is heading your way.
  • Avoid tight squeezes.If the space between 2 cars is tight, don’t try to jam yourself in between. One of the cars might swerve, leaving you without enough room to get out of the way.

Don’t cut off other drivers.  Make sure you allow plenty of room before cutting back into one of the lanes. The faster a car is going, the longer it takes to stop. And always use your signal so drivers can anticipate your move.

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