A dirt bike is a lightweight motorcycle with knobby tires and a tough suspension, designed to accommodate off road use and rugged terrain. If you have recently purchased a dirt bike and plan to ride it for fun, in competition, on-road, or off-road, you may be wondering whether you need to buy insurance and what kind you need.
Some states require dirt bike insurance by law, even if you only ride off road. In other states, whether or not to insure the bike is up to you. Regardless, it is a good idea to have some kind of coverage, since riding a dirt bike can put you, your bike, and others around you at risk.
Dirt Bike Safety and Legality
Dirt bikes are off road vehicles, and are not normally legal on the road. You can only ride these motorcycles on roads if you make changes to make your bike “street legal”
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, over 39,000 injuries occur annually related using high speed dirt bikes (motocross)
Off-road riding is increasingly popular with children; the CPSC estimates that nearly 51,000 kids aged 5 to 17 are injured annually riding ATVs, mopeds and mini-bikes
Is Dirt Bike Insurance Required in the U.S.?
Dirt bike insurance should not be confused with motorcycle insurance. Dirt bikes are considered to be off highway vehicles (OHVs), and are not street legal unless you add specific features, including head lights, tail lights and turn signals. For off road dirt bike riding, you need a type of coverage that more effectively addresses the dangers that may arise on trails, dirt paths, or other off road riding situations.
Most localities require street bike riders to be covered by a vehicle insurance policy. However, since unmodified dirt bikes are not street legal, very few areas require off road riders to be insured. You may still want to consider protecting yourself and your finances with some kind of coverage. A good insurance policy will save you from high of out-of-pocket costs due to injury, theft, damage to your bike, and even potential claims others may file against you due to damage or injuries you could cause on your dirt bike.
What Dirt Bike Insurance Makes the Most Sense?
The type of dirt bike insurance you need depends largely upon how you plan to use the vehicle. For example, if you only plan to use the bike to make occasional, leisurely trips through the back forty, or to ride gentle slopes and well-maintained trails, you will require different coverage than if you intend to frequently engage in high-speed motocross competitions against a pack of other riders.
The following are some of the options you will have when shopping for dirt bike insurance. Few people ever regret having insurance, but many people regret not having it when they experience a loss and have no recourse or protection. It is a good idea to work with an agent who can help you determine which coverage makes the most sense for you, and how much you need.
Theft and comprehensive insurance: One of the most basic risks that all riders should protect themselves from is the theft of your dirt bike from your home, trailer or transport vehicle. Comprehensive coverage also protects you from a variety of other threats to your bike, such as vandalism and damage from severe weather.
Collision insurance: Collision insurance covers damage to your bike when you hit objects or other riders. Collision insurance is typically optional, but will help you to recover financially in the event that your bike is damaged in a run-in with a tree, fence, boulder, or another trail rider, even if you are the one at fault. If you have financed your dirt bike and still owe money, you may be required to buy collision insurance.
Medical payment insurance: Medical payment insurance protects you if you are injured in an accident. It helps cover medical costs from a dirt bike accident, even if you are at fault. Because high speed trail riding is a risky hobby, it is a great idea to have this type of coverage, especially if you do not have health insurance. Medical payment insurance helps cover dental care, prescription drugs, medical co-payments, and health insurance deductibles. It will even cover psychiatric visits, home nurse care, and funeral expenses.
Bodily injury insurance: Bodily injury motorcycle insurance protects you against the cost of medical expenses from injuries you cause to other people, including your passengers, while riding your dirt bike. Bodily injury liability insurance covers the injured person’s doctor visits, medications, lost wages, physical therapy visits, hospital stays, and funeral expenses. If you plan to ride with others, bodily injury coverage can be invaluable for your peace of mind.
Property damage liability insurance: Property damage insurance will pay for damage to other people’s property that you caused, whether it is damage to another person’s land, fencing, dirt bike, or other vehicles. Depending on the insurer and the policy, this portion of your liability coverage may be combined with bodily injury. You want to make sure that the limits you set on your bodily injury and property damage coverage properly account for various scenarios, including the costs of your legal defense.
Roadside assistance: Roadside and towing coverage can come in handy if you become stuck in sand or mud, or you need to transport the dirt bike when it breaks down.
Be aware that some insurance companies will cover street bikes but not off road or motocross bikes. This is one reason why it pays to deal with an independent insurance agent who can shop around for you to find the type of coverage you need.