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Motorcycle Insurance for Vintage Motorcycles

Person sitting on vintage bike

We are motorcycle insurance specialists but also motorcycle riders. As lifelong motorcyclists, we’ve owned many different bikes, which means we’ve had all the different types of coverage for our motorcycles.

We know about what’s included in a standard motorcycle insurance policy (physical damage coverages and liability coverages).

We know what goes beyond basic liability insurance into a more robust policy, including comprehensive and collision coverages, optional equipment coverage, medical expenses, roadside assistance and more.

But for some reason, many riders (including our friends and family) need help finding information about classic motorcycle insurance. Like any owner, classic bike riders want to ensure that they will be taken care of by their insurance company in case of an unforeseen incident. Having the right coverage will give you peace of mind. 

We are here to walk you through the basics of insuring a vintage motorcycle and understanding what special coverage (if any) your bike might need.

Can I Ride My Vintage Motorcycle Without Insurance?

A question amongst some vintage motorcycle enthusiasts is whether or not it's safe to ride their antique bikes on the road without insurance coverage.

This answer is an easy one. No.

Riding a vintage motorcycle without proper insurance coverage could cost you more than money, and it is against the law in every state except Florida. However, it is advised that Florida residents get motorcycle insurance, regardless, to protect against any unplanned incidents.

Classic Bikes vs. Vintage vs. Antique

People throw around “classic bike” and “vintage bike” like candy, but the truth is that there’s not much that legally defines these terms.

The generally agreed-upon terms (although this can vary by the insurance carrier) are:

  • Classic Motorcycles: bikes that are 20 years or older
  • Vintage Motorcycles: bikes that are 25 years or older
  • Antique Motorcycles: bikes that are 35 years or older

However, some states may require antique bikes to be registered or licensed as an antique if it's greater than 20-years-old. For this reason, it's necessary to research your state's laws since they may differ from those of another state.

Additionally, sometimes rebuilt bikes are considered classics. Sometimes they aren’t. 

If your motorcycle has been extensively rebuilt, check with your current insurance provider or call your motorcycle insurance agent.

Classic Bike Insurance

Many insurance companies cover classic bikes.

Prices likely vary drastically – here are just some factors that impact it:

  • what type of bike you have
  • how much original vs. upgraded hardware
  • how often that type of bike is stolen

Like any other insurance, your premium may also factor in:

  • where you live
  • how often you ride your bike
  • how much experience you have riding
  • the minimum requirements for insurance by your state

Learn more about what motorcycle insurance covers.

Vintage Motorcycle Insurance

While all gear heads love their machines, not everyone is reasonable about their worth. Most overestimate, and a few underestimate a realistic sales value for their ride. But when it comes to insuring that ride, the price of a vintage insurance policy may vary drastically depending on your bike's valuation.

A mutually agreed upon owner-supplied quote for lower-value vintage bikes is good enough for most insurance purposes.

Perhaps you have a limited edition bike, a collector motorcycle, or a track bike. In that case, it may be important to ask for an insurance company valuation quote without relying on the online quote.

Once you have an agreed-upon accurate quote for the value of your bike, you can move on to the quote process like any other insurance quote. Insurance companies’ process can vary, so you will want to confirm that part with them before finalizing anything.

Antique Motorcycle Insurance

Antique motorcycle insurance is similar to classic insurance. However, collector bikes of a certain age might need specialty insurance. If your regular insurance doesn't cover your antique ride, speaking with a vintage and antique specialist might be best.

Some insurers offer insurance for antique motorcycles. To get the right coverage for your bike, provide as much information about it as possible and discuss how you use and store it with your insurer.

What Information Will I Need to Get a Vintage Bike Quote?

Your insurer may ask you some of the more obvious questions about the history of your bike.

The answers here will help determine how much risk an insurer thinks is involved with insuring such an old machine.

  • What is the year of manufacture? The older the bike, sometimes even a decade, can make a big difference in insurance premiums.
  • What model is it? There are many different models in every decade, so knowing which model yours is will help an insurer determine its value more accurately.
  • What size engine does it have? Motorcycle manufacturers changed their engines as technology improved over time—a larger engine could produce more power than smaller ones could offer at any given time.
  • Is there rust or damage on your bodywork? If so, how extensive is it? If there is too much damage or missing parts, there won't be much demand for this particular motorcycle when re-sold in future years (or even decades).

Some other things that motorcycle insurers will ask for include:

  • Information about your driving record: if you've had a previous insurance incident, they'll want to know how many and whether those were your fault.
  • Information about your age: if you're under 18 years old and want to insure a motorcycle on your policy (rather than on someone else's), some companies won't offer this option.

Are Motorcycle Insurance Discounts Available?

Motorcycle discounts vary widely across insurance carriers for vintage bikes. However, Insurers may credit you for storing, maintaining, and riding your vintage motorcycle properly. 

For example, if the bike is stored in a climate-controlled environment or if the bike is kept in good running condition, you may receive a discount. 

Learn more about motorcycle insurance discounts.

Bottom Line on Vintage Motorcycle Insurance

No matter what you ride, it's vital to be legally compliant with your state. 

The best motorcycle insurance companies will work with you to set the value of your vintage motorcycle accurately and appropriately.

They'll make sure that they have all the information they need, like the condition of your motorcycle, its year and model, and its mileage.

If you have any questions about getting insurance for your motorcycle, reach out to one of our insurance agents today.

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