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Custom motorcycles often need more insurance coverage than standard bikes because of the value of their modifications. A policy must cover the upgrades, parts, and labor hours required to reach its current status.

When you purchase custom motorcycle insurance coverage, you’ll receive the standard policy required for riding on the road while protecting the items added to the bike.

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That means you’ll have liability for property damage and bodily injury, collision, and comprehensive coverage available to access should circumstances arise where a claim is necessary – or you’ve caused an accident, and your policy covers their damages.

What Motorcycles Qualify as a Custom Bike?

Any motorcycle that had custom work done could qualify for this upgraded insurance coverage. If you’ve only made a few minor modifications, it might be cheaper to have a standard policy with a higher limit with some providers.

different types of modified bikes

Some motorcycles are already categorized as custom bikes. Although each insurance agency uses its own definitions for this coverage, the following options are often treated this way.

  • Bobbers and Choppers
  • Scramblers and Trackers
  • Café Racers
  • Non-Factory Bikes and Trikes
  • Triton, Vincati, and other Hybrids

If you built a motorcycle from scratch (which means it doesn’t have a VIN), it automatically qualifies as a custom bike.

Autocycles, such as the Slingshot, might qualify for custom motorcycle insurance coverage in some states. These vehicles could also be placed in their own category by some companies. You’ll need to check local rules and regulations to determine what classification your ride falls under to ensure you’ve got an appropriate level of protection if it is required.

How Are Custom Motorcycles Valued for Insurance?

When factory bikes are considered for insurance coverage, there is a value already assigned to the motorcycle. It’s worth a specific amount based on the stock parts, which means the insurer knows what to expect if you get into a wreck with it.

Custom motorcycles are a different story. Since their value is highly variable, insurance companies use one or more of the following methods to establish worth.

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1. Agreed Value

This amount is a figure that riders and insurance companies agree is the cost of replacing a motorcycle if a total loss occurs. Most insurers require you to indicate or submit evidence of value when applying for a quote. Once the information is received, an underwriter will confirm the amount or request a revision.

You might receive receipt requests for parts and labor for certain modifications. It is typically required to submit motorcycle photographs to prove the mods exist.

2. Custom Motorcycle Appraisals

Some insurance companies may require a direct appraisal to determine the value of a custom bike. This figure is considered the ACV (actual cash value), which is what you’d receive for the motorcycle if you sold it at a fair price.

This valuation method typically applies to scratch-built motorcycles and those built with custom kits.

It helps to check if your motorcycle frame has a Manufacturer Statement of Origin (MSO) instead of a VIN. Some insurance companies can look up this information to determine an agreed value instead of using the appraisal process, which could save you some money.

3. CPE – Custom Parts and Equipment

An agreed value policy is typically for a bike that is 25 years old or more. Insurance companies use several tools and guidelines to provide the coverage you need if you have a newer custom ride. They all fall under the umbrella of custom or additional parts and equipment.

biker doing custom work in garage

A CPE or ACPE policy is separate from collision and comprehensive protections, but it might have the same deductible to pay.

ACPE usually assists if you have custom parts with a predetermined value on the motorcycle. The coverage usually begins at $1,000, but each insurer can take a different approach. It could even be a subset of a CPE policy.

Do I Need Custom Motorcycle Insurance?

If you have a custom ride, you’ll want to consider having coverage for the expensive parts and equipment you’ve added to your motorcycle. Although it is technically optional, your liability, collision, and comprehensive policies won’t usually cover the extra costs if something happens.

When applying for insurance, mark the custom boxes on the paperwork. That will help everyone know that you’re interested in more coverage.

Author

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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