A motorcycle endorsement is put on your driver's license by the Department of Motor Vehicles in your state of residence. It may be required to provide proof that you have a minimum knowledge of motorcycle safety and operation. Alone, a motorcycle endorsement does not affect your license, but other related factors may increase or decrease your premiums.
Why Motorcycle Endorsements are Required
In order to get a motorcycle endorsement you must demonstrate your ability to ride the bike, similar to a driving exam. States began requiring endorsements in order to reduce highway accidents and fatalities involving inexperienced riders. The endorsement signifies that you know the local laws regarding motorcycle use and safety.
Adding a Motorcycle to Existing Insurance
You can choose to add a motorcycle to your existing car insurance policy or you may purchase a separate motorcycle policy. Because it is an additional coverage, your premiums will increase to adjust the risk posed by your coverage. If your states requires a motorcycle endorsement, you may not be able to purchase motorcycle coverage until you have presented the insurance company with proof of your endorsement.
Motorcycle Helmets and Insurance
Motorcycle helmet laws are more important to insurance companies than having a motorcycle endorsement. A Louisiana State University study showed a correlation between injuries and the use of a motorcycle helmet and concludes that helmet laws are beneficial in lowering the costs associated with motorcycles and accidents. Whether or not a helmet must be worn in your state will affect the basic insurance rates you can expect to pay.
Motorcycle Safety Courses
Motorcycle safety courses such as the one offered by Northern Illinois University provide training for novice riders. The course includes motorcycle operation training using combined classroom and on-bike education. A motorcycle safety course reduces the risk of insuring you as a motorcycle rider, and insurance companies will give you a discount on your insurance when you present a certificate of completion. Some states accept motorcycle safety courses as proof of operational ability and allow getting a motorcycle endorsement without taking the DMV motorcycle driving test.
Traditional Auto Insurance Factors
The cost of insuring a motorcycle is affected by the same factors that influence what you pay for car insurance. A safe driving record will get you premium discounts, and whether or not you live in a high crime area may cause your rates to increase. Your level of education is also a factor in what you pay, along with your credit score, marital status and how many miles you drive per year. To get the best motorcycle insurance rates, get a motorcycle endorsement and then talk with an insurance agent about any discounts you are qualified to receive.