As the summer approaches, some start dreaming about riding a Harley (HOG) down the highway with the warm wind whipping through their hair. But riding can get expensive -- from the motorcycle itself to the chrome add-ons.
Then, there's the insurance bill. Insurance requirements vary from state to state and premiums can be affected by a variety of risk factors, including age, location, speeding-ticket record and the motorcycle's horsepower.
A mid-range policy for customers in their mid-40s who are married and own property could be anywhere from $250 to $700 a year, according to Rick Stern, motorcycle product manager at Progressive (PGR), the largest U.S. motorcycle insurer. However, "if you're a 21-year-old buying a sports bike, you're going to be paying a lot more," he adds.
The formula goes something like this: Your bill will be cheaper the older you are, the better your record, the longer you've been riding, the less flashy and speedy your bike and the less expensive and risky it is to cover damages in your area."The insurer is looking to price the policy to reflect the risk," says Mike Barry of the Insurance Information Institute.
Still, there are steps you can take to lower the premium.
Here are some tips to make sure you get the discounts available while adequately protecting your prize possession:
1. Responsibility counts. If your driving record - whether motorcycle or auto - is free of accidents, tickets and other infractions, you're likely to get a lower rate. Progressive, for instance, offers a 5% discount for those renewing policies who did not post a claim during the most recent term.
2. Most insurance companies also offer incentives for completing a safety course. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation's Web site offers a searchable database of course locations near you. Riders under 25 or those who have a less-than-stellar record stand to benefit most from these discounts.