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If you ride a dual-sport or adventure bike, there are a few considerations you’ll want to keep in mind when insuring your bike. Most US insurers set rates strictly according to engine size, unless the bike falls into a high-risk category (ie, sport bikes).
There is rarely any surcharge if the bike is classified as a dual-sport, though some insurance companies have been known to classify certain large displacement adventure bikes as high risk. If you ever ride your dual-sport off-road, there’s also the question of whether your coverage extends past the pavement’s end.
First Things First: What is a Dual-Sport?
Starting with the basics, let’s define what a dual-sport motorcycle is. A dual-sport bike, sometimes described as dual-purpose or all-road, is defined as…
“A street-legal motorcycle designed for both on and off-road use.”
For the most part, these are dirt bikes with headlights, mirrors, license plates, and other equipment that make them legal on the street. As many are single-cylinder, they may be called “thumpers,” and “enduros,” while typically less street-biased, sometimes fall into this category.
Popular dual-sports to insure include the Honda XR line, such as the XR650 and smaller siblings, as well as the Kawasaki KLR650 and 250, and the bikes of the Suzuki DR, Yamaha WR, and KTM EXC lines. More recently, companies have begun producing “factory scramblers” like the Ducati Scrambler, though these multi-cylinder machines usually don’t qualify as dual-sports.
Will Motorcycle Insurance Cover Me Off-Road?
If you use your bike for its second purpose–going off-road–you’ve got to determine whether your coverage is dual-purpose as well. Unfortunately, many policies have exclusions for off-road riding. That means if you have an accident on even a fire road and damage your bike and/or hurt someone else, you could be uncovered and liable for all damages out-of-pocket. Even if your policy covers you off-road, it may not cover you if you’re participating in a race, rally, or organized ride past a certain mileage.
The best thing to do? Actually read your policy, and speak with an insurance agent about your options. You may be able to get off-road coverage through your homeowner’s policy, or else switch to a company that will cover your bike on road and off. What’s more, in some states, you are required to carry liability coverage to ride on public lands or trail systems. Again, your best bet is to contact an agent.
Lastly, you need to look at your health insurance. Some policies have “source of injury” clauses, in which injuries incurred during certain high-risk activities are not covered. As you might expect, off-roading is sometimes included in these clauses.
Types of Coverage You May Need
Riding a dual sport bike opens you to a higher risk of an accident because you will be off-road as well as on. You may need types of coverage that you are not expecting. Here are a few types of dual-sport motorcycle insurance that you may want to be sure to have in your policy.
Comprehensive and theft: this covers theft from your home or transport vehicle. The comprehensive aspect protects your bike from fire, wind, water, and vandalism.
Collision insurance: pretty straightforward coverage here. This protects you in case you hit anything; be it tree, rock, house, car, deer, moose, or person.
Bodily injury liability: in nearly every state in the union, liability coverage is required, both for bodily injury and property damage. Bodily injury is like medical payment coverage, but it covers other people. It will protect your passengers or people you injure in an at-fault accident. The coverage includes doctor visits, medications, lost wages, etc.
Property damage liability: this is a no-brainer. Who wants to be on the hook for someone’s property out of pocket? These policies cover: land, fencing, and vehicles. Again, this is required in nearly every state, and the minimums are set at the state level.
Roadside assistance: this coverage is self-explanatory. You may feel that you do not need it with a newer bike; however, one breakdown in the middle of nowhere will change your mind.
Where to Insure a Dual-Sport?
The best insurer will depend on your location, needs, and specific bike. Nearly every major company insures dual-sports and adventure bikes. The trouble lies in finding the best coverage at the lowest cost. That means shopping your policy around to several carriers before buying. That could involve a dozen calls or so, lots of time online, and several hours of your precious time. That is why we have created a convenient tool that allows you to find which insurers offer coverage in your area, and request quotes online.
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Forums offer a wealth of information. Probably the two biggest in this area are ADV Rider and the Dual-Sport/Adventure forum at Thumper Talk, and there’s also an active Reddit on the subject. If you are still unsure as to what defines this type of bike, we recommend our post on Dual-Sports vs Adventure Bikes, and Dirt Bike Magazine has a great post covering their picks for the Best Used Dual Sports. In the custom world, there’s been a trend in recent years of modifying Japanese single-cylinder dual-sports such as the Euro-spec NX650, the XR500/600/650, and the Suzuki DR650. You can see some of the inspiring builds we’ve featured here.