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One of the concerns that many motorcycle owners have is where to insure their bike. That concern can be doubly vexing for sportbike owners because of the high-performance aspect of the class. Sportbikes, known as “supersports” within the insurance industry, are the most expensive class of motorcycle to insure.
Insurers have found that these bikes are frequently stolen and easily damaged in an accident, and according to the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI), they have the highest accident and fatality rates of any class. All of these factors can combine to make insuring a sportbike expensive, sometimes prohibitively so. That said, there is a wide range of rates available, with some companies being more receptive to sport riders than others. What’s more, there are a number of steps you can take to minimize your rates, sometimes dramatically.
The Basics: What is a Sportbike/Supersport?
A sportbike is often defined as:
“A motorcycle that is optimized for speed, acceleration, braking, and cornering on paved roads.”
This is achieved through a combination of rider position, location of the engine and other heavy components, as well as the bike’s geometry. These factors insure structural integrity and chassis rigidity, while determining how a bike will behave under acceleration, braking, and cornering.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has a slightly different definition:
“Supersports are built on racing platforms but modified for the highway and sold to consumers.”
Sportbikes are generally divided into the following classes:
- Lightweight: These are generally entry-level sportbikes with engine displacements up to 500cc. Popular examples include the Honda CBR250R and CBR300R, Kawasaki Ninja 250R and 300, Yamaha YZF-R3, and KTM RC390. They are the cheapest sportbikes to insure, and the best bet for beginner riders interested in spirited riding.
- Middleweight: These include bikes with displacements in the 600-750cc class, largely dominated by the four-cylinder 600cc “Supersport” class. Perennial favorites include the Honda CBR600, Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R, Suzuki GSX-R600 and 750, and Yamaha R6. Typically these bikes produce 100+ horsepower and weigh around 400 pounds. There is a major jump in insurance rates to this class.
- Superbike: Also known as the liter-class or simply “literbikes,” these sportbikes with 1000cc engines, typified by the Yamaha R1, Kawasaki ZX-10R, Honda CBR1000RR, Ducati Panigale, and BMW S1000RR.
- Hyperbike: Also known as “hypersport,” these are 1000+ cc machines, not built to racing class specs like supersports and superbikes. The most well-known is the Suzuki Hayabusa, and other include the Honda Blackbird, Kawasaki ZX14-R, BMW K1200R, and Kawasaki H2.
Supersport Insurance: What Coverage is Needed?
Given the nature of a sport bike, it can be expensive to insure. In fact, a young rider insuring a 600cc bike may have to pay an insurance premium that rivals their monthly payment for the bike itself! The cost can prompt a rider to find ways to cut the cost at the expense of coverage. That can be a huge mistake.
Let’s look at what the different types of sport bike coverage protects you against, so you can better determine what you need.
Bodily injury liability coverage: covers the medical expenses and lost wages of another driver if they are injured in an accident where you are at fault. This covers passengers on your bike, as well.
Property damage liability coverage: this coverage takes care of damage you do to someone’s property if you are found at fault in an accident. It covers vehicles, storefronts, homes, etc.
Medical payments: this one covers x-rays, ambulances, etc. but is limited to what is deemed reasonable and necessary.
Personal injury protection: this is for your protection and your family’s. It can cover medical expenses, lost income, or funeral expenses.
Collision coverage: pretty easy to understand what this covers. This coverage is needed to repair your bike if you happen to hit a car, motorcycle, tree, or a building. This is highly recommended for sport riders, as even the simplest drop can cause hundreds, even thousands of dollars worth of damage to the fairings of any modern sportbike. There are tales of sport bikes being totaled from a single drop, simply because the damage to the plastics is so expensive to fix. It’s little wonder that the streetfighter trend in the UK largely started when young riders simply removed damaged fairings they couldn’t afford to replace.
Comprehensive coverage: this is for those pesky items not involving an accident. Things like theft, floods, wind, and vandalism fall under this type of coverage. Basically, what are known as “acts of God” and criminal activity. It typically covers the cost of repairs up to the value of your bike.
Other coverages can include uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury, towing and labor, rental reimbursement, motorcycle and off-road vehicle transport trailer damage, gap insurance, and coverage for optional or added equipment.
Sport Bike Insurance Rates: What to Expect?
The cost of insurance is based on several factors. The type of bike is one of those factors. The only way to get an accurate average on insurance costs is to use a fictitious rider. For our purposes, our rider was a 30 year-old guy living in L.A, who has been licensed for ten years and has a clean DMV record. Under those parameters, the most expensive sport bike to insure is a Suzuki Hayabusa. The least expensive is the Honda CB500X/F. Here are some of the main factors:
- Bike make and model: larger the engine, higher the insurance.
- Where you live: generally, urban areas are more expensive.
- Driving record: cleaner the record, lower the rates.
- Age: older you are, lower the rates.
- Credit score: better your credit, lower the rates.
As you can tell, it’s very difficult to estimate what your rates will be, but we surveyed a few sport riders from around the country.
67 year-old male
2014 Ninja 1000
Clean driving record
$484 per year
34 year-old male
Clean record, MSF grad
$796 per year
20 year-old male
$1600 per year
We highly recommend taking the Basic Rider Course offered by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF), even if you’re a fairly experienced rider. Nearly every insurer offers a discount for graduates of the course, typically in the range of 15-20% per year.
The only way to know how much you will have to pay for sport bike insurance is get to a quote from multiple companies. To make that more convenient for you, we have developed an easy to use tool that allows you to input your information once and get multiple quotes. Just enter your zip code to discover the least expensive sport bike insurance for you.
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Popular Types of Sport Bikes to Insure
- Kawasaki Ninja 250R
- Kawasaki Ninja 300
- Kawasaki Ninja 650
- Kawasaki ZX-6R
- Suzuki GSX-R1000
- Suzuki GSX-R600
- Yamaha YZF-R1
- Yamaha YZF-R6