Motorcycle insurance is expensive, averaging $702 per year across the U.S. Most states also have a sizable population of riders, averaging over 3.5%. And yet so much depends on where you live, as our new map breaking down the cost of motorcycle insurance and their popularity makes clear.
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- There is a correlation between the percentage of motorcycles on the road and how much it costs to buy insurance. States with higher rates of motorcycle ridership like Montana (13.82%) enjoy lower insurance ($532).
- California is the most expensive state to purchase motorcycle insurance, costing $1,360 on average per year. Only 2.74% of vehicles on the road are motorcycles.
- The cheapest place in the U.S. to get insurance is North Dakota ($382), where 5.01% of vehicles are motorcycles.
- Motorcycles are wildly popular in some states, like the Northern Plains, and relatively hard to find in others, like the Deep South.
Top 10 Cheapest States for Motorcycle Insurance and % of Motorcycles
1. North Dakota: $382 per year (5.01% of vehicles on the road)
2. Iowa: $414 per year (5.24% of vehicles on the road)
3. Wyoming: $439 per year (3.61% of vehicles on the road)
4. Nebraska: $469 per year (2.90% of vehicles on the road)
5. South Dakota: $472 per year (9.47% of vehicles on the road)
6. Maine: $492 per year (4.77% of vehicles on the road)
7. Wisconsin: $501 per year (5.89% of vehicles on the road)
8. Vermont: $515 per year (5.08% of vehicles on the road)
9. Kansas: $516 per year (3.55% of vehicles on the road)
10. Montana: $532 per year (13.82% of vehicles on the road)
We found the data behind our map in two different locations. We took motorcycle ridership figures from the U.S. Department of Transportation for 2017 and how much it costs to insure those motorcycles on average per year from ValuePenguin. We overlaid the two datasets to create a unique snapshot of the motorcycle market, revealing a few interesting trends.
For starters, the cost of insuring a motorcycle varies wildly across the country. It’s as much as $1,360 per year in California and as low as $382 in North Dakota. There are lots of possible reasons for this variation, including how long the driving season is, how many other cars are on the road and how dangerous the roads can be. The same variability can be seen when it comes to rates of ridership. Lots of states have minuscule ridership numbers, like Mississippi (1.38%), Texas (1.67%) and Alabama (2.25%). But other places have a relatively high rate of motorcycles on the road, including Wisconsin (5.89%) and South Dakota (9.47%).
There’s also a correlation between the percentage of motorcycles on the road and how much it costs to purchase insurance. In other words, it’s cheaper to get insurance for a motorcycle if lots of other people in your state also ride motorcycles. Just compare state across the Northern Plains and the Deep South. 13.82% of all vehicles on the road in Montana are motorcycles, and it costs $532 on average for insurance. In Mississippi, motorcyclists only claim 1.38% of the market and must pay $677 for insurance.
This begs the question about cause and effect. Does the high cost of insurance result in fewer riders? Or does the popularity of motorcycles force insurance companies to lower their rates to stay competitive? We aren’t sure how to answer that question, but certainly President Trump’s trade wars have raised the overall cost of owning motorcycles, especially Harley Davidsons.
If you’re shopping for car insurance, check out our auto insurance cost guide for more information.
Why do you think it costs so much to insure motorcycles in some states, but not others? Let us know in the comments.