5 steps to properly insuring your motorcycle accessories

Customized motorcycle and helmet

Imagine getting ready for your next ride. You put on your chaps, jacket, boots, gloves, and helmet. Throw a few things in your bike's saddle bags, maybe clean some bugs off the windshield. Turn on the GPS, maybe even put some tunes on the radio and you’re ready to take off.

Did you know that in the event of an accident on that ride, the motorcycle accessories mentioned above may not be covered in your motorcycle insurance policy?

It’s important to understand motorcycle accessory insurance and make sure that your policy reflects the appropriate amount of coverage for your motorcycle. That way, if you find that you do need to submit a claim, you can be confident that you won’t hear, "I’m sorry, you don’t have enough coverage."

What is a motorcycle accessory?

Before we get to how to insure your motorcycle accessories, let's define what an accessory actually is. Each insurance company may view accessories differently, but a good, generic definition of a motorcycle accessory is anything that was not on the bike when it left the factory. This can include things like:

  • Saddle bags (the bags themselves—not the contents)
  • Fairings
  • Windshields
  • Light bars
  • Helmets
  • Riding apparel
  • Luggage racks
  • Sissy bars
  • Safety guards
  • Highway pegs
  • CB radio
  • AM/FM radio
  • Cruise control
  • GPS (if permanently mounted—not handheld)
  • Custom paint
  • Custom chrome

How to insure motorcycle accessories

Insurance companies consider your bike's accessories separate from the motorcycle itself and, as a result, insure them separately from the bike. In the event of a claim, accessory coverage is all that will be used to pay for your bike's accessories.

That means you may find yourself submitting a claim and hearing this response, "I'm sorry, you only have $500 of accessory coverage. Your saddle bags, riding gear, helmet, radio, GPS, custom paint, fairing, and sissy bars will not be paid for."

Some coverage is usually included

Most insurance companies will include a certain amount of motorcycle accessory coverage with the base policy. However, as you're about to see, it's very easy to surpass that included amount. So, it's important to understand how much accessory coverage you need and to make sure your policy reflects the correct amount.

Here are five easy steps to make sure your motorcycle accessories are properly covered:

  1. Find out what was stock on your motorcycle.

    Don't assume that just because something was on your bike at the time of purchase it is a stock item. The dealership or the previous owner may have added aftermarket items to the bike that would be considered accessories on an insurance policy. Your best bet is to find out the motorcycle's specifications from the manufacturer's website or catalog, so you know what was on the bike when it left the factory.

  2. Evaluate your motorcycle and compare to manufacturer specifications.

    Now that you have the specs from the manufacturer, take a look at your bike. Is there anything on it that is not listed in the specifications? Use the list above for examples of items to look for. Then, use our motorcycle accessory checklist to make a list of anything you find that was not included on the manufacturer's specification list.

    Also, don't forget your riding gear—leathers, helmet, riding boots, goggles/glasses (if used exclusively for riding). These are common items that many people forget to inventory; given their cost you want to be sure that they are covered.

    Once you complete the list, you will have a clearer picture of your motorcycle's accessories and be ready to move on to the next step.

  3. Assign values to each accessory on your motorcycle.

    Take a look at various websites, stores, or purchase receipts to determine the value of each accessory. Be sure to figure in depreciation when determining the value of each accessory. Write that next to each accessory in the "Value" column on your motorcycle accessory checklist. Also, it's helpful to note where you found the value so you have it for future reference.

  4. Add all accessory values to determine the total value of your motorcycle's accessories.

    This is the easy part. Add them all up. Depending on how many accessories there are on your bike, this could be a pretty big number. If you find that the value of all accessories on your bike is greater than 50% of the total bike value, you may want to talk to your insurer about an agreed value policy to make sure you are properly protected.

  5. Review current motorcycle accessory coverage—add as needed.

    Now that you know the value of accessories on your motorcycle, take a look at your motorcycle insurance policy. Listed in your policy (likely on the declarations page) you will find the amount of accessory coverage that you currently have. Compare that to the value you calculated for your motorcycle's accessories. Is the amount of coverage equal to or higher than the value of your bike's accessories? If not, you should contact your insurer to increase your accessory coverage.

    The cost to increase your accessory coverage will be minimal compared to the cost to replace those accessories without sufficient coverage. The items on your list won't be included in any other coverage, so if you don't have the appropriate amount of accessory coverage and you have to submit a claim, those items will not be paid for.

Some final points

Remember, this is just a starting point. If you add more accessories in the future, don't forget to contact your insurance company to adjust your accessory coverage accordingly. As always, call to speak with one of our motorcycle specialists at 800-236-2453 with any questions or to obtain a quote.

Customized motorcycle and helmet
This article is intended for general informational purposes only regarding non-insurance matters and is not designed to provide professional advice.
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