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How to make a motorcycle insurance claim

You could file a claim now, later or not at all — it’s your choice.

You might not consider filing a claim the most fun you’ve ever had with your bike. But the process can go smoothly when you know what information to report and what to expect from your adjuster. On the other hand, you could skip the whole claims process and take care of your own repairs, if doing so works in your favor.

How to make a motorcycle claim

Bike insurance claims are similar to car insurance claims, except you may be working with an adjuster that’s well-versed in motorcycles instead of cars. Start the process in a few simple steps:

  1. Ensure that everyone is safe and medical injuries are cared for first. Gather details about the accident, such as people involved and description of damage.
  2. File a police report about the accident, if necessary. It’s required by law in most states.
  3. Identify how to contact your insurer by phone or through your customer account.
  4. Enter accident details in an auto insurance claim. Including as much information as possible.
  5. Let your adjuster contact you for more information. Typically, adjusters call within one to two business days.

Methods of making a motorcycle claim

Getting the repairs you need is as easy as a phone call or click of a button. Each insurer offers different ways to make a claim, but common ways to file a claim for your motorcycle accident include:

  • Online. You get the convenience of filing any time through a website or customer account, but you may forget details by not explaining your story personally to a representative.
  • By phone. This option gives you a human point of contact and some convenience, but it may not be a 24/7 service with some insurance companies.
  • Through an app. Many apps let you upload pictures of accident damage along with your claim, letting you give accurate information on the scene.
  • Through a local agent. This option gives the most personal claims experience but takes more time.

How long do I have to make a claim?

The time limits on making a claim can differ based on your state’s limitations and your insurer, but it’s usually between one to as many as 10 years. However, many motorcycle insurers recommend making a claim right away or within several days so that they get timely and accurate information.

The extended time limit is important to know if you sustain a motorcycle injury requiring multiple months for recovery. In addition, you might wait several days to account for all motorcycle damage, since you may notice problems later that you didn’t catch at the accident scene.

Still, the longer you wait to file your claim, the harder it may be to prove that your accident caused the damage.

What info do I need to make a claim?

To report your motorcycle accident, you typically need several key pieces of information:

  • Name, phone number and license plate number of others involved
  • Insurance information from others involved
  • Vehicle descriptions, such as make, model or VIN
  • Description of accident and accident damage
  • Photos of vehicle damage
  • Receipts from medical bills
  • Names and contact information of witnesses, if possible

What happens after making a motorcycle claim?

Once you report your accident, an adjuster will contact you within a few business days to begin settling your claim. They may ask you to explain what happened or provide additional proof if possible.

If the damage is severe, you may need to schedule an in-person visit to let your adjuster estimate damage repair costs.

Once all the necessary information is obtained, the adjuster will send you a settlement document, stating the dollar amount your insurance company is offering. Accept the offer by signing the document if you agree with the amount. The entire process could take as little as a few days to several weeks, depending on the severity of the accident.

Rejecting the settlement offer

If you don’t agree with the settlement amount, you can reject the offer or talk with your adjuster for more information about how the company came up with that amount.

You can also ask how you can prove that your bike deserves a bigger settlement. In some cases, you might simply need additional documentation like maintenance records or an official estimate of your bike’s value. However, know that rejecting the initial settlement may draw out your claims process longer.

How do I get paid for my claim?

Once you’ve accepted the settlement, you’ll either receive a check in the mail or in person. Or you might need to schedule repairs that will get paid or reimbursed by your insurer.

In this case, you can choose your preferred repair shop or one recommended by your insurer. Then, have the mechanic call your insurance company to process payment after you take care of your deductible.

Should I make a bike insurance claim?

You have insurance for a reason—to help you pay for damage if an accident occurs. But sometimes making a claim isn’t worth the hike in premiums or giving up your claims-free discount.

The main concern is whether the damage costs less to repair out of pocket than the cost of your surcharge or deductible and whether you can handle repair costs on your own. If you answer yes to one or more of these questions, you might consider handling the damage yourself:

  • Is the damage less than your deductible?
  • Have you made any other recent claims?
  • Would repairs cost less than a premium surcharge?
  • Can I handle repair costs without my insurer’s help?

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Bottom line

Making a motorcycle claim can be a quick and simple process. However, waiting to file your claim or not filing at all could benefit you more in the long run.

Consider your options before filing and then compare motorcycle insurance providers to make sure you’re getting the best value even after your claim.

Frequently asked questions about motorcycle claims

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