Person in helmet riding motorcycle
Updated July 11, 2024

When it comes to looking after and taking care of your motorcycle, you need to understand the different ways of achieving this and the role insurance plays in the process.

Of course, this also requires understanding the types of coverage, the insurance industry terms and definitions, and how (if at all) they apply to your individual situation and your motorcycle.

While the type of coverage, limits, and available options may differ by insurance contract, here are some of the most important terms and coverage options available with Harley-Davidson Insurance.


Coverage details, availability and eligibility vary by state and other details. Contact your insurance company and/or review your policy contract for details.

Accidental Death And Disability

Provides payment when the named insured is injured/killed in a covered accident. $25,000 is paid in the case of death, and $250 per week is paid to the insured in the case of disability up to a maximum of 2 years. The limit of liability for Accidental Death Coverage for death to one person in any one accident is $25,000.

Actual Cash Value

The actual current value of your motorcycle, considering things like depreciation and wear and tear. This typically refers to the amount an insurance company will pay for a covered motorcycle. Generally, this is the amount you can expect to be paid for your bike in the event of a total loss minus any applicable deductible.

Agreed Value

The agreed price is slightly different from the actual cash value, as this is the price that you will agree with your insurers for what your motorcycle is worth. It is used for coverage and claims purposes and is the total amount that you may receive in the event of a covered total loss.

Determining a figure that suits the insurer and the policyholder is essential, which requires an appraisal.


An amendment is a change to your motorcycle insurance policy. This change could be initiated either by yourself or the insurer, and you need to make sure you understand the change and how it will impact and affect you moving forward as much as possible.

Anti-lock Braking System (ABS)

ABS is a safety enhancement that helps prevent the wheels of your bike from locking up during emergency braking situations. This is designed to help prevent skids and a loss of control when you are braking.

Policy owners may receive a discount for bikes equipped with features such as ABS and anti-theft devices.

Anti-Theft Device

Anti-theft devices are a wonderful way of adding additional protection to prevent bike theft. This device, such as an alarm or fork lock, makes it much harder to steal a motorcycle and can also be used to aid in the recovery of a vehicle that may have been stolen.


An appraisal is an assessment of the value of your motorcycle that may be used to determine the payout amount you will be set to receive in the event of a total covered loss.

In other words, the appraisal leads to the actual cash value and agreed on value for your motorcycle.


This is a process for resolving disputes that may arise between you and your insurance company. The arbitration will be conducted by a third party who will determine legal liability.


At-fault is an expression that helps you to understand when a person is responsible for causing an accident, injury to another person, or damage to property.

Bodily Injury Liability

Bodily injury coverage may provide payment for injuries sustained by others for which the insured is liable.

Split Limit means that the lesser amount of the coverage limits are the maximum that may be paid out to one injured individual in an occurrence, and the higher amount is the most that will be paid out when two or more people are injured in one occurrence.


Cancellation refers to terminating an insurance policy before the end of its policy term. This can happen for various reasons, such as breach of contract for nonpayment, or the insured may request cancellation upon deciding their coverage is no longer needed.


A claim is simply the reporting of an incident and a request for payment from your insurer by you or another involved party for a covered loss.


Provides coverage to the insured vehicle for damage caused by an accident involving a collision with another vehicle or object or upset, regardless of fault. Payment is made for the extent of damage up to the vehicle's actual cash value, less any applicable deductible.

Comprehensive Coverage

A comprehensive insurance plan for your motorcycle may provide coverage for the insured vehicle against loss or damage resulting from miscellaneous causes such as fire, theft, windstorm, vandalism, etc., but not including loss by collision with another vehicle or object.

Payment may be made for damage up to the vehicle's actual cash value, less any applicable deductible.


Damages are the repair costs associated with repairing or replacing a motorcycle that might be damaged. It’s money you are entitled to receive less any applicable deductible in the event that you have experienced a covered loss, and this is important for helping you understand how you will benefit from your insurance policy.

Declarations Page

The declarations section is the section of an insurance policy that provides specific details about the policyholder (you), the motorcycle, and the coverage plan. Keep this safe, and ensure you look after your declarations so that you can refer to them whenever needed.


Deductible means the amount you must pay out of your pocket before your insurance coverage provides payment. This amount will play a role in decreasing or increasing your overall insurance premiums.


Depreciation refers to the decrease in the value of your motorcycle over a period of time. Plenty of factors are used to calculate this and figure out the motorcycle's actual cash value. Wear and tear is one of the biggest things you need to consider when it comes to understanding the depreciation value of your ride.

Diminishing Deductible

Provides a reduction in Comprehensive and Collision deductibles upon renewal when there are no claims or lapses on the policy during the prior term.

A $200 reduction will be applied on the first renewal, and a $100 reduction per renewal thereafter until it reaches zero. The diminishing deductibles will reset to the original deductibles for both Comprehensive and Collision coverages if there is a lapse in coverage or loss paid under either coverage.

If an accident has been forgiven under the Accident Forgiveness provision, that loss will still impact this coverage and will re-set the deductible.


A discount is a reduction in the cost of premium payments and is based on a variety of factors. You can save in multiple ways with Harley-Davidson Insurance Services, including safe driving and multiple policies.


An endorsement is an amendment or addition to your motorcycle insurance policy that will change, add, remove, or alter coverage.

Garaging location

A garaging location is where your motorcycle is primarily kept when it is not being used.

Guest Passenger Liability

Provides coverage for bodily injury, for which the insured is liable, that was sustained by a passenger on the insured motorcycle. Depending on the state, coverage can be automatically included in Bodily Injury Liability coverage or optional and must be purchased to apply.

Liability Insurance

Liability insurance is insurance coverage that pays for damages and provides coverage for injuries you may cause to others in the event of an incident and a subsequent judgment against you.

Liability coverage can pay legal defense costs in certain scenarios and damages awarded to the injured party (as afforded by the policy and its limits).

Additionally, liability insurance may cover the medical expenses of individuals involved, other than yourself, in the incident and repair or restitution of any damaged property.


Limit refers to the maximum amount your insurance company is prepared to pay for a covered loss or claim.

For example, if you have a policy limit of $50,000 and you are involved in an accident that results in damages of $75,000, the insurance company will only pay up to $50,000, and you will be responsible for the remaining $25,000.

Medical Payments Insurance

Provides coverage for medical expenses incurred by the insured and/or occupants of the insured vehicle, regardless of who was responsible for the accident. Payments are excess (expense) over other valid and collectible health or accident insurance the insured/occupant may have.


Negligence refers to the failure to exercise reasonable care and or caution with your motorcycle, generally used to help determine fault with regard to an at-fault accident or collision.

Optional Equipment

Provides coverage to the insured vehicle owner for options, equipment, or enhancements that were not factory standard on the motorcycle. Items are considered factory standard if they were included as part of the manufacturer’s original assembly of the motorcycle.

Optional Equipment Replacement Cost

This optional coverage provides replacement cost (without deduction for depreciation) to optional equipment when there is a total loss.

  • Comprehensive and Collision coverages must be purchased to select this coverage.

  • Coverage not available for Agreed Value policies.

Personal Injury Protection

Provides coverage for medical bills the insured or other eligible person incurs because of an accident, regardless of who was at fault in the accident.

Personal injury protection usually also provides coverage for non-medical treatment expenses, such as wage loss and death benefits.

Policy Period

Policy period refers to the length of time that a motorcycle insurance policy is in effect. This can vary depending on the insurer and the type of policy, but an active policy typically ranges from six months to one year. During this period, you are covered for the specific damages and events outlined in your policy while it remains in force.


Premium refers to the actual cost of your insurance coverage and the policy you are involved with. Actual premium payments vary depending on your chosen provider, and they are generally paid in monthly installments. Insurers may also offer a discounted annual premium rate when paid upfront.

Policyholders should work out their desired payment structure with their insurance carriers.

It's also important to note that the policy period can affect your bike insurance premium. Some insurers offer discounts for a longer time period.

Primary Policyholder

The registered person in charge of the policy purchases it and is responsible for payments. They are also the person the insurance company will deal with in case of an accident, payout, or alterations to the policy.

Primary Use

Primary use refers to the main purpose for which you use your motorcycle. This can include commuting to work, pleasure riding, or other types of use. Understanding primary use is important because it can affect your insurance rates and coverage options.

Insurers typically categorize motorcycles into different usage classifications, such as pleasure, commuter, or business. Each of these classifications may come with different rates and coverage options.

Property Damage Liability

Provides coverage for property damage, for which the insured is liable. Coverage is for damage to others’ property; it does not cover damage to the insured's property.

Proof Of Loss

Proof of loss is the documentation provided to an insurance company that supports and substantiates any claim for damage or loss. This paperwork is essential for policyholders who may need to make a claim.


Quotes are a vital part of the insurance process and refer to the estimated cost of the insurance coverage that the policyholder can expect based on the information they provide.

Different insurance carriers will have different quotes, so it is always worth shopping around and getting a few quotes to compare before deciding who you will go with.

Rental Reimbursement

Rental reimbursement provides coverage up to $45 per day, to the maximum total payment of $1350, for the necessary rental of a substitute vehicle while the insured vehicle is disabled due to a collision or comprehensive loss covered by the policy.

This coverage pays out-of-pocket expenses that begin 24 hours after the motorcycle is disabled.

Note this coverage is different from motorcycle rental insurance.

Replacement Cost

Replacement cost provides coverage if the bike is considered a total loss, including theft. Replacement cost means the cost at the time of loss of a new, unused motorcycle with a year, make, cc size, and model similar to the one damaged or destroyed.

  • Coverage applies only to a motorcycle:

    • Not previously owned, titled, or registered

    • With a model year one-year-old or newer

    • Purchased within the last 30 days

  • A model year will change on October 1st of each year. For Ex. on October 1st, 2016, a 2016 model would be considered one (1) year old.

  • Coverage/endorsement & cost drops off after 1 year

Roadside Assistance

Roadside assistance provides 24-hour towing and roadside service when a covered motorcycle is disabled due to a mechanical or electrical breakdown.

This includes assistance for battery failure, flat tires, lockout, and insufficient supply of fuel, oil, fluid, or water. Service for this is provided only through our pre-authorized vendor.

Safety Apparel

Provides coverage to equipment such as leathers, riding boots & gloves, protective eyewear, and other items specifically designed for motorcycle use and to minimize injury from an accident when they have been damaged or destroyed.

No coverage for helmets (because $500 worth is already covered in the base policy). Safety apparel theft is covered only if the insured motorcycle is stolen, and such equipment is stored in it.

Stacked Coverage

Stacked coverage means that the individual coverage limits for all covered vehicles on the policy will be added together to be the maximum limits of liability per person/per accident. This is specific to UM coverage and must be purchased as “stacked coverage” for it to work.

Note: There are variations of how stacked coverage works in some states.

Most states do not have the option of stacking coverage, so neither the term “stacked” nor “non-stacked” will appear. They will automatically just be non-stacked.

Trip Interruption

Trip interruption provides coverage to a motorcycle in the event of a mechanical breakdown or a covered comprehensive or collision loss. The disablement must occur more than 100 miles from the insured’s principal place of residence.

  • A $500 maximum per disablement is allowed, including the following:

    • Up to $100 a day for temporary lodging

    • Up to $45 per day for alternate transportation.

    • Up to $50 a day for meals.

    • Up to $400 for advance deposits on reservations. Every attempt must be made to recover these deposits or cancel the reservations before any cost is actually incurred.

Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury

Uninsured Motorist coverage may pay for bodily injury to the insured caused by another driver when that driver has no liability insurance.

It may also pay for injuries that result from a hit-and-run vehicle, even if that vehicle didn't contact the insured's vehicle if the facts of the accident can be proven.

Underinsured Motorist Bodily Injury

Underinsured motorist coverage may pay for bodily injury to the insured caused by another driver when that driver has insufficient liability insurance.


Underwriting refers to the process that an insurer uses to assess the risk associated with insuring a motorcycle and determine the premium that the policyholder will pay.

During the underwriting process, the carrier considers a range of factors:

  • the make and model of the motorcycle

  • the age and driving history of the policyholder

  • the coverage limits and deductibles selected

These factors will determine the likelihood of the policyholder filing a claim and the cost of settling that claim.

Uninsured Motorist Property Damage

Uninsured Motorist Property Damage may pay for loss or covers damage to the insured's property, for which an uninsured motorist is liable.

Vacation Rental

Provides the same coverage to a rented motorcycle as has been purchased on the policy. Rented motorcycles must be from the same manufacturer as listed on the policy. The rental must be from an authorized rental facility or dealership.

Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)

A VIN or vehicle identification number is a unique number and identifier assigned to a motorcycle that contains information about the vehicle's make, model, and history. Insurance companies typically use this for things like underwriting purposes and in the event of insurance claims.