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Commute vs. Pleasure Use Motorcycle Insurance

Person riding motorcycle on bridge

There are a number of factors that impact your insurance premiums. One of these is how you use your motorcycle.

Do you use your motorcycle purely to get to and from work?

Or do you ride it for the sheer joy of it?

Insurers want to know! 

But why? Well, pleasure and commute use can impact mileage and the typical time of day you’re on the road. This can increase or decrease risk, influencing your motorcycle insurance quote. 

Below, we’ll delve deeper and reveal everything you need to know about pleasure vs. commute use for your motorcycle insurance so you can get a better understanding. 

The Different Uses of a Motorcycle: Pleasure vs. Commute

Motorcycles can serve various purposes. For some, it's a mode of daily transport, while for others it's a weekend leisure activity.

How you use your motorcycle can significantly influence your insurance rates.1

Pleasure Use Explained

Pleasure use is a term that describes something you don’t do regularly. So, if you only take your motorcycle out for the occasional ride, and it’s not your daily commute, you should tick pleasure use when completing your insurance application.

As pleasure users are on the road less frequently, they generally pose a lower risk and may enjoy lower insurance rates.

Commute Use Explained

In contrast, commuters use their motorcycles regularly to travel to work, school or other routine destinations.

As these riders spend more time on the road, especially during peak traffic hours, they may have a higher risk of being involved in an insurance incident.

Because of this, insurance premiums for commuters may be higher to reflect the potential increased risks.

Helping you decide whether you use your motorcycle for pleasure

When choosing between commute and pleasure motorcycle insurance, you must honestly assess your vehicle usage to select the appropriate coverage level

You can use these questions below to help you:

Is your motorcycle the primary vehicle you use during your weekly schedule?

That’s commuter use. 

Do you only use your motorcycle when heading out on infrequent errands?

That’s pleasure use.

Do you need to ride your motorcycle to work, park it somewhere, and then ride it home afterward?

That’s commuter use. 

Is your motorcycle a vintage bike that you rarely use?

That’s pleasure use. 

This can help you to understand what category you fall into. But don’t panic if you’re unsure. We’re here to help.

You can speak with one of our experienced and friendly advisors here at Harley-Davidson Insurance, who’ll help you through the application process, or you can simply get a quote online.

What if You Use Your Motorcycle for Both Commuting and Pleasure Purposes?

Many riders fall into a hybrid category, using their motorcycles for both commuting and leisurely rides.

In such cases, you must inform your insurance provider about your average usage to get an accurate rate.

Insurance companies typically calculate rates based on the perceived risk, so being upfront about your riding habits is crucial.

Why Insurance Companies Ask About Vehicle Usage

When insurance companies calculate a quote for their customers, they aim to understand the risk of insuring a vehicle. 

By knowing how often and under what conditions a motorcycle is ridden, they can make an informed decision on premium rates.

The logic is simple: more time on the road potentially equals higher risk.

Of course, there are other factors at play as well. If you don’t ride your motorcycle often, but it’s an expensive model and not stored in a secure location, your premiums may be higher.

Here are some of the other factors that matter:

  • Location - Urban areas with high traffic density can influence insurance rates due to increased accident risk.
  • Rider Experience and Age - Experienced riders may get better rates. Young riders or those new to motorcycling may pay more.
  • Type of Motorcycle - High-performance bikes or those with a higher theft rate may have higher insurance premiums.
  • Safety Courses - Completing a motorcycle safety course can lead to discounts on insurance.
  • Deductible - Choosing a higher deductible can lower your premium, but you'll pay more out-of-pocket in the event of a claim.
  • Coverage Types - The type of insurance, i.e., liability or comprehensive, and the amount of coverage you choose will impact the cost.
  • Discounts - Some insurance companies offer discounts for various reasons,  being a part of a motorcycle association, or installing anti-theft devices.

How Vehicle Use Impacts Motorcycle Insurance Costs

Here’s a breakdown of how motorcycle use can impact insurance rates:

Miles Driven2

  • Commuting - Higher mileage due to daily commuting may lead to higher premiums. The more you ride, the higher the risk of an accident.
  • Pleasure use - Pleasure use typically involves lower mileage, which could mean lower premiums.

Purpose of Use

  • Commuting - If you use your motorcycle to commute to work or school daily, the risk is perceived to be higher because you are riding it more often and during peak traffic times. More exposure to traffic typically leads to higher premiums.
  • Pleasure use - Motorcycles for occasional rides, such as on weekends or vacations, generally carry a lower risk because they're not on the road as often. This often results in lower premiums.

Time of Day

  • Commuting - If you use your motorcycle for commuting, you’re more likely to be on the roads during the busiest points of the day, which means accidents could be more likely. 
  • Pleasure use - Riding for pleasure might occur during off-peak hours when there's less traffic, reducing the risk of collision.

Is motorcycle insurance more expensive for commuting than pleasure driving?

Generally, yes.

Commuting exposes riders to daily traffic and extra mileage, while pleasure rides are often less frequent and on less congested routes.

However, as mentioned above, several other factors influence rates, like your driving record and location.

Cost of Motorcycle Insurance for Commute vs. Pleasure Use

In general, if you're only using your motorcycle for pleasure and not for daily commuting, you might see a reduction in your insurance premium. However, it’s important to remember that use is not the only factor impacting your insurance rate.

The best thing to do is to contact our friendly and experienced team at Harley-Davidson Insurance Services. We’ll be more than happy to discuss your options to develop a customized plan for your riding needs.

Related Links

1 Harley-Davidson Insurance Services does not rate policies on customer usage, however, mileage is used to rate policies in the state of California.

2 Only applicable in California for Harley-Davidson Insurance Services policies.