Can you cancel your motorcycle insurance in the winter?

You may cancel your motorcycle insurance policy if your bike won't be on the road. However, leaving your bike uninsured in the winter months means it won't be covered against theft, vandalism, fire, and damage from winter weather while in storage. Moreover, if you're financing or leasing your motorcycle, your lender or lease company will often require you to keep your bike insured. And even if you've paid your bike off and you cancel your policy, you may end up paying more when you purchase a new policy because your motorcycle wasn't continuously insured.

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What is seasonal motorcycle insurance?

Motorcycle insurance policies generally aren't short term or seasonal. Rather, they're designed for year-round protection. While many insurers don't offer a "winter layup" motorcycle insurance policy that suspends your coverage when your bike isn't in use, you can typically remove coverage for your motorcycle when it's not in use, lower your limits, or cancel your policy at any time.

Some insurers, including Progressive, allow you to make changes anytime to your motorcycle policy based on your coverage needs, including removing motorcycle insurance coverages when it's in storage. For the months your motorcycle won't be on the road, you have the option to lower your limits of liability or drop any other riding-related coverages. This may help lower your motorcycle insurance cost during the months your bike is in storage.

Learn more about if you need motorcycle insurance and how motorcycle insurance works.

Why you shouldn't cancel your motorcycle insurance during the months you don't ride

If you're passionate about riding, you're usually invested in your motorcycle and want to protect it on and off the road. Leaving your bike uninsured or underinsured during off-season months comes with several risks:

  • Theft: InsuranceBusiness cites a report from the National Insurance Crime Bureau that motorcycle thefts saw an increase in 2022. Over 2,800 bikes were stolen even during each month of winter. If someone steals your motorcycle, your investment could be lost. Unless your bike is somehow recovered and returned in one piece, you have no recourse without motorcycle insurance. Find out how motorcycle insurance covers theft.
  • Fire: If the space where you store your bike catches fire, you need an active motorcycle policy with motorcycle comprehensive coverage to pay to repair or replace your bike
  • Snow and ice: Winter weather can cause a significant amount of harm to your garage, shed or carport, which could damage your motorcycle
  • Violation of the terms of your lease or finance agreement: If your bike is financed or leased, your lender or leasing company may mandate comprehensive and motorcycle collision coverage even if you're not riding your motorcycle
  • Possible price increase: There's no guarantee your policy's price will be the same when you need to insure your motorcycle again
  • No coverage for unseasonably warm days: You may be tempted to hop on your motorcycle for a rare, good-weather ride during winter if only to keep the engine components lubricated. There are even options like heated seats, grips, and other accessories that make winter rides possible.

Do you have to insure your motorcycle in the winter?

State law mandates motorcycle insurance only if your bike will be on the road, so you aren't required to have a motorcycle policy with liability coverage while your bike is in storage. However, if you finance or lease your bike, your lender will usually require you to carry a motorcycle policy with comprehensive and collision coverage. You may be able to lower your motorcycle coverage in winter without fully cancelling your policy by decreasing your limits.

Even if you've paid your bike off, safeguarding your investment year-round is wise — especially considering how affordable motorcycle insurance can be.

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