Covered motorcycle on a lift
October 16, 2023

The roar of a motorcycle on a sunny day is a thrill like no other. But what about the cold season when your bike is in storage or parked in the garage?

While it may be tempting to cancel your motorcycle insurance during the months you don't ride, it is not a recommended practice. There are several reasons why it is important to maintain your motorcycle insurance coverage year-round, even during the months when your bike is not in use.

In this article, we will explore why keeping your motorcycle insurance policy active throughout the year is in your best interest and the potential risks you may face if you cancel your coverage during the off-season.


Whether it's adjusting coverage options or altering the policy's lay-up period (the time when the motorcycle is not in use), seasonal motorcycle insurance provides flexibility and cost savings for riders who only ride their motorcycles at certain times of the year or for recreational purposes.

While most motorcycle insurance companies do allow for changes to your annual policy, many insurers do not offer a “winter layup” policy - and for good reason.


While it might seem like a cost-saving measure to cancel your insurance during the off-season, the potential risks and long-term costs can outweigh the short-term savings.

For example, there may be additional fees or effects to your policy that aren't being considered when a policy is canceled:

  • Lease or loan agreements: Typically, a lender or lessor will require a minimum level of

    insurance coverage for the duration of the contract. Cancellation of your motorcycle policy would be a clear violation of the financial agreement.

  • Early cancellation fees: While this may vary depending on insurance providers, you may incur a penalty for canceling your motorcycle insurance early, diminishing the total savings accumulated for a few months without coverage.

  • Refusal to insure: If insurers detect a habit of canceling/renewing your insurance each year, they may refuse to insure you in the future. If forced to switch carriers, it could mean a higher annual premium, negating your savings.

  • Increased policy premiums: Policy pricing can fluctuate based on many factors. If a policy is canceled over the winter, a new policy in the spring may result in an increased premium - even if you maintain the same coverage. Renewal discounts will also be lost as the policy was cancelled prior to renewal.

It's always best to consider the bigger picture and protect your investment.


You expose yourself to several risks when you decide to drop your insurance. No coverage means zero coverage protection, and the consequences might cost you more in the long run.

Damage Or Theft In Storage

Just because your bike is safely stored for the winter season doesn't mean it's immune to threats.

There's always a risk of unforeseen damage or even theft. Without insurance, repair or replacement costs will come out of your pocket.

Some of the risks, even in seemingly safe storage environments, include:

  • Pests and rodents - Small creatures seeking refuge might reside in or around your bike. They can chew through wires, damage upholstery, or even build nests in exhaust pipes or air filters.

  • Falling objects - In garages or any other type of storage, tools, boxes, or other items are often stored overhead or nearby. These items can accidentally fall and damage your motorcycle, causing dents, scratches, or more serious harm.

  • Natural disasters - Events like floods, earthquakes, or fires don't discriminate between a motorcycle on the road and one in storage.

  • Theft - Even in the best-locked garages or storage units, thieves can still find a way if they're determined and sophisticated. Motorcycles, especially those of high value, can be lucrative targets.

  • Accidental damage - Someone could knock your bike over while moving other items or parking another vehicle. A simple mistake could lead to costly out-of-pocket repairs.

  • Vandalism - Even in the safety of a garage or storage space, there's always the risk of vandalism. Unfortunate as it is, not everyone respects personal property, and an uninsured motorcycle can be an easy target.

Unexpected Ride Opportunities

Weather can be unpredictable. Yes, winter is traditionally considered the “off-season” for riders, yet Mother Nature doesn't always play by the rules.

A sunny day might pop up in the middle of a cold month, giving you a perfect chance for a ride. If you've canceled your insurance and decide to take the bike out, you risk being uninsured on the road – a gamble not worth taking.

Actual Savings May Be Minimal

Another important consideration: you may not realize any savings by canceling your policy over the winter.

Insurance companies vary, but some may consider the typical riding season in your state when they price a policy (even if it's spread over 12 months). That means you may not receive a refund for canceling your winter coverage.

Save Money By Comparing Insurance Quotes

Instead of canceling your insurance, consider comparing quotes from different providers. You might find a more affordable rate or a plan that offers flexible coverage for riders like you.

Remember, it's not always about cutting off protection but finding the right protection for the right price.

Here are our top tips on comparing motorcycle insurance effectively:

  1. Know your needs - Understand your coverage requirements based on the type of bike you ride, riding habits, and personal needs.

  2. Always compare similar policies - Always review similar policies. Avoid matching a basic policy with a comprehensive one or policies with varied deductibles and protection amounts.

  3. Reputation matters - Quick online reviews can tell a lot about an insurer's customer service and claim settlement.

  4. Ask about discounts - Ask about insurance discounts for safety courses, multiple policies, and anti-theft devices.

  5. Watch for exclusions - Always check what's NOT covered - especially as it relates to your current policy (see #2 above).

  6. Balance deductibles - A lower premium might mean a higher out-of-pocket deductible.

  7. Flexible policies win - Can you easily adjust or add coverages?

  8. Claims process - A straightforward claims process is golden.

  9. Rate stability - Beware of insurers that hike rates significantly after the first year.


When the colder months roll in and your motorcycle sees less road time, it might seem tempting to cut corners on insurance.

Instead, consider these alternatives to maintain protection while potentially saving some money.

Raise Your Deductible To Lower Rates During The Winter

Your deductible is the amount you'll pay out of pocket before your insurance kicks in for a claim.

Increasing this amount during the months, you're less likely to ride can lower your premium. Just ensure you're comfortable with and can afford the higher deductible should you need to make a claim.

Take A Motorcycle Safety Class

Safety first!

Many insurance companies offer discounts to riders who complete certified motorcycle safety courses. Not only does this potentially reduce your premium, but it also hones your skills, making you a safer rider when the summer months return.

Take Advantage Of Discounts

Insurance companies offer various discounts; winter could be the best time to explore and utilize them. From bundling your motorcycle insurance with other policies to making the most of loyalty discounts, there are many options to help you save.

Make sure to reach out to your motorcycle insurance provider and inquire about any discounts you might be eligible for, including:

Bundle and save - Combining multiple insurance policies (like home, car, and motorcycle insurance) under one insurance carrier often leads to significant discounts.

Loyalty programs - Have you been with the same insurer for years? There might be loyalty discounts available to you.

Safety gear and anti-theft discounts - Some insurers offer discounts for motorcycles fitted with anti-theft devices or if riders invest in high-quality safety gear.

Pay in full - If feasible, paying your premium upfront rather than monthly installments can secure a discount.

By employing one or several of these strategies, you can maintain the necessary coverage for your motorcycle without feeling like you're throwing money away during the winter months. It's all about thoughtful planning and making the choices that suit your riding lifestyle best.


Do I Need To Insure My Motorcycle Even If I'M Not Riding It?

Yes, it's generally recommended to keep your motorcycle insured even if you're not actively riding it.

Here's why:

  • Protection from non-riding related damages - Your bike is susceptible to theft, natural disasters, or unexpected damage from falling objects even when stored.

  • Legal requirements - Depending on your state's motorcycle laws, you might be legally obligated to keep some form of insurance on your bike, especially if it still needs to be fully paid off or registered.

  • Potential policy benefits - Some insurance policies might offer benefits that accumulate over time without claims. By canceling, you might lose out on these benefits.

Can I Cancel My Motorcycle Insurance In The Winter?

There are several reasons why canceling your policy during the winter is not advised, including:

  • Risks of unforeseen damages - As mentioned earlier, unexpected events like theft or damages can occur even when your motorcycle is in storage. Without insurance, you'll bear all repair or replacement costs.

  • Unexpected ride days - Winter weather can be unpredictable. If an unexpectedly warm and sunny day occurs, and you decide to ride without insurance, you'll be at risk.

  • Potential fees - Some insurance policies may have cancellation fees or conditions that could cost you more in the long run.

  • Coverage gap - When you cancel and reinstate your insurance, there might be a coverage gap, which can sometimes affect future premium costs or insurability with your current provider.