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Growing up in the Midwest, my family gave little consideration to the cost of motorcycle insurance. It was about the price of getting some coffee at the local shop once per week.

My father would take his Yamaha for rides most evenings, spending 30 minutes running around our “block” in the country. He loved this route, especially in the fall, because the backroads had a canopy of fall colors to enjoy.

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When it was my turn to get motorcycle insurance at 16, the costs were astronomical. The rate quote I received was 15 times higher than what my family paid, even with discounts. It turned out that although where we lived was a great state for experienced riders, it was one of the worst in the country at the time for those wanting to ride between the ages of 16 and 25.

Why Are Insurance Rates Higher for Young Adults?

Insurance companies often charge higher premiums for young adults due to several factors that involve risk evaluation. The costs are often due to a lack of driving experience.

When motorcyclists first obtain their license or endorsement, they have less experience managing the vehicle on the road. That makes them more likely to be involved in an accident, so the insurer charges a higher rate to mitigate that risk.

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Here are some of the other factors that go into the higher motorcycle insurance rate quotes that young adults receive.

  • Riskier Behaviors. Young people are more likely to engage in behaviors that add risk to the riding experience, such as speeding, distracted driving, and driving under the influence.
  • More Claims. Younger riders are more likely to file a claim on an insurance policy because of the increased risks that exist for accidents, collisions, and other mishaps.
  • Accident Rates. Studies show drivers under 25 are more likely to be involved in accidents, which further increases the risk for the insurance company.
  • Limited Credit. In states where a rider’s credit history is part of the motorcycle insurance quote process, having limited access or records to an individual’s payment reputation can impact their ability to secure a lower rate.
  • Medical Expenses. Young adults may have higher medical expenses due to their age and potential lack of health insurance coverage.

All these factors contribute to an environment where today’s best insurance companies view young motorcycle riders as high-risk customers. That approach results in higher premiums until at least age 25.

As you get more experience and develop safer habits, your insurance rates typically decrease as you age. Several discounts might be available to lower your costs right now, such as having a 3.0 GPA or higher – or joining your parent’s or guardian’s policy for the first two or three years of having your license or endorsement.

What States Provide Affordable Motorcycle Insurance for Young Riders?

I’ve pulled the rates from many of today’s best and biggest motorcycle insurance providers to find out where the best rates are for young riders.

I looked at the under-17 age group because the rates for these young riders tend to be the highest in all 50 states. Here are the individual information points I used as criteria to secure quote information.

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  • The young adult has a clean driving record with a year of riding experience.
  • I requested the minimum insurance levels for full coverage (not just liability).
  • My current motorcycle is a 2022 Harley-Davidson Iron 883.
  • No claims have been filed whatsoever.

You can get lower rates for young adults by choosing a liability-only policy. If you financed the motorcycle purchase, your lender typically requires comprehensive and collision insurance to protect the asset, which are the rates outlined below.

Top 10 States for Cheap Motorcycle Insurance for Young Adults

According to my research, North Dakota was the cheapest state for motorcycle insurance. The average quote was $583.22 based on the providers that offered me a quote as an under-17 rider.

Although North Dakota was the most affordable option, the rate was still almost $250 higher than average, about $300 more than someone at age 35 would pay for the same coverage with the same riding history and motorcycle.

Several states delivered an average rate for young adults under $700 per year, including Wyoming ($628.18), South Dakota ($654.43), and Iowa ($699.40).

Kansas was close to joining that group with a $709.00 average policy rate for young adults requesting motorcycle insurance.

Let’s look at the ten cheapest states for under-17 riders according to the most recent quotes I obtained.

State for Motorcycle InsuranceAverage Rate for Under-17 Riders
North Dakota$583.22
South Dakota$654.43
West Virginia$783.05
New Mexico$803.13

On the other hand, some states have higher motorcycle insurance rates. Here is the list of those states.

Why Are Some States Cheaper Than Others for Motorcycle Insurance?

The states with the cheapest motorcycle insurance rates tend to have more open roads and shorter riding seasons. If you live in the northern Midwest or the Great Plains states, I’ve found that your rates are typically one-third less than for similar circumstances in the South, where the weather stays warmer.

When a northern state does have expensive motorcycle insurance rates, it is typically because there are more metropolitan areas where additional risks require consideration.

If you don’t have any accidents while riding, your rates should decline as you get more experience in the saddle.

The under-17 rate is typically higher than what a 21-year-old would pay, and people in the second demographic usually pay more than someone at age 25.

If you want to keep your motorcycle rates low, your best option is to maintain a clean driving record while gaining more experience on the bike. Additional discounts could be available, but other options might exist where you live.

When I compare my insurance quotes today from where they were 20 years ago, I’m paying over $200 less per month for my coverage compared to when I first got my license. If you can mitigate risks by increasing deductibles and avoiding citations while gaining practical experience, you’ll be on your way to earning a lower rate.

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Mike Navarette has more than a decade of experience in the auto insurance industry, but that's not his true passion. He loves getting on a motorcycle to explore roads he's never traveled. You'll find Mike in the garage working on something when he isn't helping clients or leaning into curves. It's sometimes a side hustle, more often a favor, but it keeps his hands busy doing something productive. Since the first time his father strapped on his helmet and took him for a ride, Mike has loved bikes. That passion, along with a desire to help others through a deep understanding of insurance policies, led to the creation of Motorcycle Ride Coverage.

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