Insurance Requirements For Transporting Motorcycles

Transporting motorcycles saves wear and tear as well as time.

Transporting an expensive motorcycle across the country instead of riding it may be the best option, as long as you know the insurance requirements before you sign a contract with a company or decide to transport the motorcycle yourself. Liability costs are one thing, especially if you are hauling it on a trailer, but you also want to make certain that you have your motorcycle fully insured against any damages that it could sustain in transit.

Liability Insurance

If you decide to transport the motorcycle yourself by towing it behind a car or truck, your regular insurance may provide sufficient coverage. Check with your agent to see if you would be covered if the cycle comes loose and falls off the trailer in traffic, damaging other vehicles and potentially causing bodily harm to other motorists. You may wish to increase the dollar amount of your liability just for the duration of your transport.


The collision insurance you already carry on your motorcycle may or may not cover damages that could happen while you are transporting it on a trailer. Make sure that you have enough insurance to replace your motorcycle in case it gets totaled in transit. You may also wish to lower your deductible for the period of the transport, to reduce out-of-pocket expense if the bike gets damaged.

Second-Party Insurance

If you hire a company to transport your motorcycle, ask for a copy of its cargo protection policy, required by law. Let the company know your insurance requirements in order to use its service. If the company does not guarantee replacement of your bike if it is destroyed in transit, or repair of any damages sustained, and if your own insurance policy will not cover it, keep looking for other options.

Read the Fine Print

Is the motorcycle you will be transporting custom-built or modified? Some insurance companies such as State Farm stipulate that its coverage is only for “factory-built” motorcycles. Others will pay only for depreciated value rather than actual value if your bike is destroyed in transit. Make certain that you have enough coverage to replace or repair your bike for the full amount, whatever happens.

Transporting Motorcycles to Another Country

If you make a motorcycle transaction with someone from another country, you need to provide proof of ownership in order to transport the bike to its new home. Harley-Davidson provides documentation for international transport as a service to its customers. It also recommends specific carriers for domestic and international motorcycle transport who will insure your bike door-to-door during the transit. It will even provide pick-up and delivery service, as well as allow you to track your bike during transport.

Preparing Your Motorcyle for Transport

Before a motorcycle can be safely transported, its gas tank must be emptied as well as its saddlebags. Choose a transport company that uses lift gates rather than loading ramps, especially if your bike weighs several hundred lbs. Also make sure that the company’s insurance covers any damages that may occur to your bike while it is being loaded or unloaded.