What Is Motorcycle Storage Insurance?

A policy with this benefit can save you money when you’re not using your motorcycle, while still providing protection from theft or damage.

Written by Ben Luthi / March 31, 2022

Quick Bites

  • Many regions aren’t motorcycle-friendly during the winter months, leading owners to store their bikes.
  • A policy with motorcycle storage insurance, also called “lay-up” insurance, protects your bike from theft and damage when it’s in storage.
  • If you can’t find a policy with this benefit, you may be able to suspend some coverage temporarily to save money while your bike is laid up.
  • You must reinstate your full motorcycle insurance coverage when you’re ready to ride again.

If you own a motorcycle, you may not want to hit the open road all 12 months of the year, especially during the winter. If you’re thinking of storing your motorcycle, should you drop your insurance coverage to save money while the bike is idle?

Even if you hate the idea of paying for insurance when your motorcycle is gathering dust, it’s still a good idea to have coverage in case it’s stolen or damaged. But you don’t necessarily need a full policy in place. Motorcycle storage insurance, sometimes called “lay-up” or “winter lay-up” insurance, can limit your coverage while you’re not riding, cutting your insurance costs during that time.

Here’s what you need to know about motorcycle storage insurance and where to find it.

Inside this article

  1. How motorcycle insurance works
  2. Storage insurance alternative
  3. Don’t cancel your regular policy
  4. The bottom line

How does motorcycle storage insurance work?

With a motorcycle insurance policy that includes a storage or lay-up insurance benefit, you can cut back on your coverage when your bike is being stored, whether in a storage container or your own garage, and earn a premium discount until you take it out again.[1,2]

This type of policy suspends your collision, liability, towing and other coverage during the winter months, which you don’t need if you’re not riding. What stays in place is your comprehensive insurance, which protects your bike from theft and damage due to ice, fire and other perils.[1,3]

“However, it wouldn’t cover you if the vehicle was hit by another vehicle or damaged by something that would be covered under collision coverage,” says Greg Martin, president of Think Safe Insurance, a Florida-based insurance agency.

According to the Insurance Information Institute, these policies are primarily available in the northern U.S. states, where the winter weather can be particularly harsh.[3]

What to do if you can’t find motorcycle storage insurance

If you live in an area where lay-up insurance is common, you may not have a problem finding the coverage you want. But if you already have a motorcycle insurance policy in place or you don’t live in a region of the country where this lay-up benefit is offered, you have another option.

Many insurance companies allow you to make adjustments to your coverage to achieve the same effect. Simply log in to your online account with your insurance provider or call your agent and request that they suspend collision, liability and any other coverage you don’t need while you’re not riding your bike.[2]

Of course, if you get some unseasonably warm days during the winter, you’ll have to resist the temptation to hop on your bike. And once spring hits, make sure to reinstate your full coverage before you head out. Set a calendar reminder, if necessary.

Whatever you do, don’t cancel your motorcycle insurance

Canceling your motorcycle insurance while your bike is in storage is technically an option, but it’s generally not a good one for many reasons. Here’s why:

You’re not covered at all.

If someone damages or steals your bike while it’s in storage and you don’t have any coverage in place, you’ll be on the hook for the cost of repairs or a replacement.[4]

You may not get a refund.

Motorcycle insurance policies are often issued on a 12-month basis. You may think that you can cancel for a few months and get some of the premium back. But motorcycle insurance providers typically take the winter months into consideration when they calculate premiums and assume you won’t be riding. As a result, you may not get a refund if you try to cancel your policy.[4]

You may be in violation of your financing agreement.

If you leased your motorcycle or took out a loan to purchase it, your lender may require you to keep a minimum amount of coverage. “Most will require collision coverage, but some may allow storage,” says Martin. “You would want to talk to your lender before making any policy changes.”[2]

Your riding options are limited.

You can’t ride your motorcycle unless it has coverage, so if there are warm days during the winter and you’re itching to take advantage of it, you’ll need to go through the process of getting a new policy first.[2]

It could cost you more.

If you cancel your policy, there’s no guarantee that you’ll be able to get the same rate the next time you buy one.[2]

The bottom line

Motorcycle storage insurance isn’t available everywhere—it’s more common in areas with cold winters. But if you can find a policy, it can help you save some money during the winter months without having to drop your coverage altogether.

If you can’t find motorcycle storage insurance where you live, you may be able to simply reduce your current coverage to the essentials without paying for stuff you don’t need. This option can also ensure that you meet lender insurance requirements.

Article Sources
  1. “What Is a Motorcycle ‘Layup’ Policy?” Insuramatch, https://www.insuramatch.com/learning-center/what-motorcycle-%E2%80%9Clayup%E2%80%9D-policy.
  2. “Can I Cancel My Motorcycle Insurance in the Winter?” Progressive, https://www.progressive.com/answers/cancel-motorcycle-insurance-in-winter.
  3. “Motorcycle Insurance,” Insurance Information Institute, https://www.iii.org/article/motorcycle-insurance.
  4. “Should You Drop Your Motorcycle Insurance in the Winter Months?” Allstate, https://www.allstate.com/tr/motorcycle-insurance/motorcycle-insurance-in-winter.aspx.

About the Author

Ben Luthi

Ben Luthi

Ben has been writing about money since 2013. He's been on staff at NerdWallet as a credit card writer and for Student Loan Hero, where he covered student loans and other personal finance topics. Ben's work has appeared in U.S. News, The New York Times, Experian, FICO, Credit Karma, Bankrate and more

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