California Motorcycle Insurance: Costs, Laws, and Quotes

California has the highest motorcycle insurance rates in the country. Here’s how to beat them.
Written by R.E. Fulton
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
background
On average,
motorcycle insurance
costs $715 per year in California. That’s $17 more per month than the national average. 
  • California’s motorcycle insurance rates are the highest in the nation thanks to an extended riding season 
  • Markel has the lowest average rates on motorcycle insurance for safe riders
  • If you own a high-value bike or have violations, you may need to shop around for coverage

How to find cheap motorcycle insurance quotes in California

The easiest way to find cheap motorcycle insurance quotes in California is to call a local insurance agent. Be sure to compare quotes from at least three to five insurers to find the lowest rates. 

Average cost of motorcycle insurance in California

Motorcycle insurance costs an average of $715 per year, or $60 per month, in California. 
That’s considerably higher than the national average of $519 a year, and for one simple reason. Because southern California enjoys sunny, bike-friendly weather year-round, the riding season is 365 days—which means your motorcycle insurance also has to work 365 days a year.
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Cheapest companies for full coverage California motorcycle insurance 

We’ve rounded up average rates from the four cheapest motorcycle insurance companies in California. Keep in mind that the rates below are based on a high level of coverage, including high liability coverage limits, collision coverage, and comprehensive coverage. 
Insurer
Average annual rate for full coverage
$2,311
GEICO
$780
$2,774
Markel
$746
Your own rates could be higher or lower than the averages shown above, depending on the type of motorcycle you own, the value of your bike, your driving record, your ZIP code, and a wide range of other factors like age, insurance history, and more.  

Are motorcycles cheaper to insure than cars?

Yes. Even though California has the highest average motorcycle insurance rates in the nation, it’s still
cheaper to insure a motorcycle
than a car here. 
The
average cost of car insurance in California
is $2,153 for state minimum coverage and $2,772 per year for full coverage. That’s more than twice the average cost of motorcycle insurance. 

California motorcycle insurance coverage requirements

Like most states, California sets minimum legal requirements for motorcycle insurance. In order to legally operate a motorcycle—including scooters, mopeds, sport bikes, and touring bikes—bikers must carry at least: 
That’s all! California’s lean motorcycle insurance requirements help to offset the cost of a long riding season. 

What should a basic motorcycle insurance policy cover?

But only buying state minimum insurance could leave you seriously underinsured in the case of an accident. That’s why the quotes we showed were for full coverage—that is, policies with higher liability limits as well as
comprehensive
and
collision coverage
A good motorcycle insurance policy should cover damage to your bike from accidents, theft, vandalism, and more—and that coverage should include any custom parts and additional equipment. Look for an insurance provider with insurance options that meet all your needs, such as: 
An accident on your motorcycle could land you with thousands of dollars in repair or replacement costs, not to mention steep medical bills and potential liability. Don’t just buy the bare minimum required by the law—take advantage of any additional coverage options for maximum protection. 

The best companies for California motorcycle insurance

Not sure where to begin shopping for motorcycle insurance in California? We’ve done the legwork to find you the best motorcycle insurance companies in the Golden State, with options tailored to your profile and needs. 

1. Best for safe riders: Markel 

The good: Lowest rates in California, tons of safety discounts
AM Best rating: A
BBB rating: A-
Jerry’s rating: 91/100
If you’re looking for the cheapest motorcycle insurance in California and you practice good motorcycle safety, Markel Insurance is likely your best bet.
Unlike the other companies on our list, Markel specializes in motorcycle insurance—which is both a good and a bad thing. It means they’ve got tons of coverage options and specialized motorcycle insurance discounts, like a safety course discount and accident forgiveness. 
On the other hand, you can’t get car insurance through Markel, which means maintaining separate policies for your bike and your car. And because Markel’s only available in nine states, you may need to switch providers if you ever leave California. 
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2. Best for cheap rates for everyone: GEICO

The good: Overall low rates, superior financial stability 
AM Best rating: A++ (Superior)
BBB rating: A+
Jerry’s rating: 85/100
If you don’t qualify for Markel’s best rates, there’s a good chance that GEICO is the cheapest motorcycle insurance provider for you. 
Look, it’s GEICO—it’s cheap, it’s simple, and it’s widely available. GEICO motorcycle insurance covers the same things as GEICO’s auto insurance, with just a few extra options for motorcycle riders: accessories coverage, helmet coverage, and emergency roadside assistance. 
If your bike is a standard entry-level Yamaha, you should be able to find all the coverage you need with GEICO, and you can bundle your bike’s policy with your car, homeowners, or renters insurance for extra savings. But if you own a custom bike or an expensive model like a Harley-Davidson, it’s worth looking at other options. 

3. Best for custom bikes: Progressive

The good: Tons of coverage options
AM Best rating: A+
BBB rating: A+ 
Jerry’s rating: 84/100
On top of the basics, Progressive offers total loss coverage, carried contents coverage, and enhanced injury protection, accessories and custom parts (CPE) coverage,
OEM parts coverage
, disappearing deductible coverage…should we go on? 
If you own a high-value bike, Progressive’s magnanimous insurance options can take care of all your needs and give you peace of mind—for a price.  

4. Best for high-risk bikers: Dairyland

The good: Solid coverage for high-risk riders, good add-ons
The bad: High rates
AM Best rating: A+
BBB rating: A+
Jerry’s rating: 82/100
Dairyland has great coverage options for motorcycle owners, including replacement cost coverage for new bikes, trip interruption coverage, and OEM coverage. They’ve also got a ton of discounts, especially for Harley-Davidson owners and members of motorcycle clubs. 
They’re also one of the best insurers for bikers with a history of violations.
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Methodology

In order to rate motorcycle insurance companies in California, we collected public data and rated each company on four factors: (1) average cost of insurance (50% of our rating), (2) customer satisfaction as measured by the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and NAIC index (25%), (3) coverage options (20%), and (4) financial stability as measured by AM Best (5%).
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