Can I cancel my motorcycle insurance in the winter?


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Written by
Freelance Writer
Reviewed by
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent
UPDATED: 2020-02-05T19:04:52.379Z
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three motorcycle riders driving down the road

As the temperatures begin to dip and you’re preparing your motorcycle for winter storage, you might begin to wonder if you could save a bit of money by canceling your motorcycle insurance during the winter months.

There are quite a few reasons why you shouldn’t completely cancel the insurance on your motorcycle, even if you don’t plan on riding it during the winter months. Plus, depending on your insurance company, there might be options to save a bit of money without canceling your motorcycle insurance outright.

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Things can still happen to your motorcycle in the winter

The biggest reason that you shouldn’t cancel your motorcycle insurance in the winter is that just because you aren’t out on the road doesn’t mean something can’t happen to your bike. Even if it’s tucked away in a garage, there are still potential hazards.

Theft, vandalism, fire, or other disasters can damage your motorcycle in the winter months, and if you’ve canceled your motorcycle insurance, the total cost of repairing or replacing the motorcycle will be on you. Repairing motorcycle damage out of pocket can get very expensive, and if you’re without any coverage at all, that’s what you will face.

For example, in the winter, consider the risk of storm damage to your garage. One ice storm that brings down a tree onto your garage has the potential to damage your motorcycle. If you’ve canceled your motorcycle insurance over the winter, that damage won’t be covered.

Are you really sure you won’t ride your motorcycle in the winter?

Unseasonably warm days can happen in winter months, no matter which part of the country you live in. On those days, the lure of getting on your motorcycle for a few hours to enjoy the sun can be irresistible, especially if you’ve been stuck inside watching the snow pile up.

Motorcycles with heated grips and cold-weather riding gear make riding year-round a possibility. Combined with a warm, sunny day and dry roads, are you certain you won’t want to ride your motorcycle in the winter? If you cancel your insurance, you won’t be able to enjoy the day on your motorcycle (and you’ll miss the opportunity to brag on social media how you were out on your bike in winter).

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Other options for motorcycle insurance during the winter

If you’re unequivocally a seasonal motorcycle rider who has no intention of getting out on the road until spring, there are some options available that might allow you to save some money.

First and foremost, check with your motorcycle insurer. You might be able to switch your coverage to what is sometimes called “lay-up” or “laid up” insurance. Essentially, these policies provide a temporary stop to parts of your coverage that won’t generate a claim if the insured item isn’t actively being used.

Insurance companies developed these policies for covered items that are seasonal, and are routinely not going to be in use for part of the year. Boats located in cold-weather states and snowmobiles during the summer are typical candidates for lay-up policies.

Laid-up insurance allows for a pausing of your collision and liability coverage, while retaining your comprehensive coverage. If you won’t be out riding, there’s no chance of a collision, but retaining the comprehensive policy coverage means that in the case of a fire or other (non-collision) covered issue, you’ll still be able to file a claim if your bike is damaged or stolen.

Even if your insurer doesn’t offer “lay-up” coverage, you could approximate this coverage by temporarily suspending your collision coverage with your insurer. Just remember that you’ll need to remember to call and add full coverage back on before you start riding again.

However, it might not be worth the hassle of trying to remember when to call and add coverage back on, as many insurers will build the likelihood of low-use months into their quotes and pricing. In short, the coverage you’re already paying for might take seasonal use into consideration, so turning collision and liability coverage off during winter months might not represent much savings.

Some insurers offer seasonal motorcycle coverage or temporary motorcycle insurance. These types of policies might be worth checking into for comparison purposes, but they are unlikely to represent much of a cost savings as they tend to be priced somewhat higher to begin with.

Another option to lower the amount you’re paying in motorcycle insurance over the winter months is to increase your deductible. Just like with auto insurance, the more you are willing to accept as your portion of the payment that comes first in the event of a claim (your deductible), the lower your insurance premium will be. A cautionary note: make sure that the amount you’re considering raising your deductible to is an amount that you can afford to pay if there is a claim.

If despite the points laid out above, you’re still considering canceling your policy in an effort to save money on your motorcycle insurance during winter, make sure you take into account any cancellation fees you might incur. You could also pay more when you go to reinstate your motorcycle coverage. Between paying fees to cancel and the potential for higher rates when you repurchase insurance for the spring and summer, you might not be saving any money at all in the long run.

Coverage can vary, so if you’re thinking of changing your insurer, check out Clearsurance's motorcycle insurance company rankings page to see which companies consumers say are the best in your area.

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