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What motorcyclists should know about life insurance
Get your motor running, head out on the highway … and make sure you have a life insurance policy in place
Imagine riding a motorcycle, and you’re likely to think of the open road, Easy Rider, and the opening strains of “Born to Be Wild.”
So sure, riding a motorcycle can be exhilarating. But it can also be risky. Road safety statistics show that motorcyclists are 28 times more likely to die in a crash and four times more likely to be injured than people in cars. Precautions like helmets and going the speed limit can reduce the likelihood of death or injury from an accident, but there’s no 100% guarantee of safety.
That’s why the peace of mind that comes from knowing your loved ones are well-protected financially is so important. Life insurance is one form of that financial protection.
Here, we’ll explore common questions and answers about life insurance for motorcycle riders. Whether you’re a seasoned rider or just starting out, read on to learn more.
In this article:
Why motorcyclists should consider life insurance
Life insurance offers a financial safety net for your loved ones. When you purchase a policy, you enter into a contract with an insurer. They agree to pay a predetermined death benefit to your beneficiaries as long as you pay the premiums to keep your policy current.
Your loved ones can then use that money to cover end-of-life expenses, pay off existing debts, or substitute for your lost income. For that reason, getting life insurance is crucial for anyone with a spouse or dependents, especially if you’re the primary breadwinner.
As a general rule of thumb, most people will need life insurance coverage worth five to 10 times their annual salary. The exact amount depends on what you want your death benefit to cover, and your family’s overall financial situation.
Term life insurance offers an affordable way to get the right coverage for your family. With a term policy, your insurer covers you for a predetermined period (known as your policy’s term), which typically ranges from 10 to 20 or 30 years. If you die during that period, your insurer will pay your death benefit to your beneficiaries. If you don’t die, well, congratulations, you’re alive — and you can buy more coverage if you need it (albeit at a higher monthly rate).
Term life insurance makes sense for the years when you’re responsible for someone else’s expenses. Many people choose a term length that covers the years when a child is living at home, a mortgage is in place, or when you’re working and using your salary to pay for day-to-day expenses. For many people, life insurance is no longer necessary after the kids move out, the mortgage is paid off, and you’re retired.
For some people, permanent life insurance makes sense. Permanent life insurance, including whole life insurance, lasts until you die (as the name suggests), and often build cash value over time.
Borrowing against that value can reduce or even eliminate your death benefit, however, and buying coverage for the years when you’re older and likely in poorer health means the premiums are often much, much higher than those for a term policy.
You can learn more about the differences between term and permanent life insurance here.
Can you still get life insurance as a motorcyclist?
Given motorcycles’ high-risk reputation, it’s natural to wonder whether owning one could affect your life insurance options. The short answer is that it won’t. Motorcyclists can qualify for the same policies as other drivers and typically won’t have to pay any more in premiums – unless their driving record lands them in an unfavorable risk class.
What are risk classifications?
Insurance policies of any kind require risk assessment. As a motorcyclist, you’ve likely already encountered this with auto insurance agencies. Your rates go up when you get a ticket or cause an accident because you’ve demonstrated that you’re a higher-risk driver to insure.
Life insurance agencies use a similar process to assess risk and set your premiums. They analyze data from your insurance application, and assign you a risk classification based on your:
- Medical history
- Prescription history
- Medical exam lab results
- Driving and criminal records
- Alcohol and drug use
- Smoking status
- Foreign travel
Your profession and hobbies matter because some are more dangerous than others. For example, a firefighter who skydives on the weekends faces greater risks than an accountant who spends their free time knitting.
Insurers don’t consider motorcycle riding a dangerous hobby in the same way they do skydiving. So, if you’re a hobbyist rider, you don’t have to worry about owning a bike affecting your risk class, but your driving record can.
If you ride a motorcycle professionally, you’ll likely end up in a higher-risk class due to having a risky occupation.
How does your driving record affect your risk class?
Your insurer will ask for a copy of your driver’s license when you apply for coverage. They can then use your license number and other identifying information to request a copy of your driving record, which shows:
- The vehicle class you drive
- License suspensions and revocations
- Traffic violations and convictions
So, insurers will see if you have a habit of riding under the influence or speeding on your bike. To illustrate why this information is important to them, let’s look at fatal motorcycle accidents.
While it’s true that motorcyclists are more likely to die in a crash than car drivers, not every rider faces the same odds. Out of all fatal motorcycle accidents in 2020:
- 41% involved an intoxicated rider
- 34% involved speeding
- 36% involved a rider without a motorcycle license
So, engaging in risky behaviors like speeding or riding while intoxicated increases your risk of death — which is true for all drivers, not just motorcyclists. And life insurers want to know about any behaviors or activities you engage in that increase your odds of dying prematurely.
You can end up in a higher risk class if your driving record shows you have a history of riding dangerously or causing accidents. And your risk class affects your premiums and options for coverage.
How will it affect your premiums?
Here’s some good news for hobbyist riders: You likely won’t pay higher life insurance premiums if you have a clean driving record.
During the application process, Haven Life asks for your driver’s license number to verify your identity and access your records from the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) database. DMV records don’t affect most applicants’ risk class — unless the records include multiple speeding tickets, reckless driving, DUIs, or license suspensions.
Those negative marks reflect a propensity toward risk-taking and correlate to a higher chance of dying in a motorcycle accident. And the more risks you take with dangerous activities, the more you’ll pay in premiums.
Some insurers may add a flat charge for policyholders participating in dangerous hobbies or occupations. So you could end up paying a fee on top of your premiums if, say, you make a habit of drag racing on city streets in your free time.
You can get that flat charge removed from your policy. But first, you need to stop participating in any risky activities for at least a year. Then you can apply for a policy review and potentially have the extra fee dropped.
And by the way, if you ride a motorcycle professionally, you will likely pay a higher premium for life insurance, due to having a risky occupation.
Should you mention being a motorcyclist in your application?
Yes. Telling your insurer you’re a motorcyclist is in your best interest, whether you ride for fun or as a career. It might be tempting to lie about your activities, but doing so is not the right move. Be honest on a life insurance application — failure to do so might result in non-issuance of a policy, or the non-payment of your death benefit.
Get term life coverage with affordable rates
Haven Life offers affordable term life insurance for up to 30 years (and up to $3 million). Some applicants might not even need to take a medical exam to qualify for Haven Term, and will receive instant approval. (You’ll need to be truthful on your application, though, for the reasons mentioned above.)
We all know that purchasing life insurance is a serious consideration, but that doesn’t mean it should also be complicated or expensive. If you have questions, Haven Life can help.
So, go for it — safely ride your motorcycle. Feel the sun on your face and the wind in your hair. But before you kickstart your engine, get a free life insurance quote. See how easy and affordable coverage can be for you, and how well you can financially protect your loved ones.
About Lindsey HornerRead more by Lindsey Horner
Our editorial policy
Haven Life is a customer-centric life insurance agency that’s backed and wholly owned by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual). We believe navigating decisions about life insurance, your personal finances and overall wellness can be refreshingly simple.
Our editorial policy
Haven Life is a customer centric life insurance agency that’s backed and wholly owned by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual). We believe navigating decisions about life insurance, your personal finances and overall wellness can be refreshingly simple.
Our content is created for educational purposes only. Haven Life does not endorse the companies, products, services or strategies discussed here, but we hope they can make your life a little less hard if they are a fit for your situation.
Haven Life is not authorized to give tax, legal or investment advice. This material is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for tax, legal, or investment advice. Individuals are encouraged to seed advice from their own tax or legal counsel.
Haven Term is a Term Life Insurance Policy (DTC and ICC17DTC in certain states, including NC) issued by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual), Springfield, MA 01111-0001 and offered exclusively through Haven Life Insurance Agency, LLC. In NY, Haven Term is DTC-NY 1017. In CA, Haven Term is DTC-CA 042017. Haven Term Simplified is a Simplified Issue Term Life Insurance Policy (ICC19PCM-SI 0819 in certain states, including NC) issued by the C.M. Life Insurance Company, Enfield, CT 06082. Policy and rider form numbers and features may vary by state and may not be available in all states. Our Agency license number in California is OK71922 and in Arkansas 100139527.
MassMutual is rated by A.M. Best Company as A++ (Superior; Top category of 15). The rating is as of Aril 1, 2020 and is subject to change. MassMutual has received different ratings from other rating agencies.
Haven Life Plus (Plus) is the marketing name for the Plus rider, which is included as part of the Haven Term policy and offers access to additional services and benefits at no cost or at a discount. The rider is not available in every state and is subject to change at any time. Neither Haven Life nor MassMutual are responsible for the provision of the benefits and services made accessible under the Plus Rider, which are provided by third party vendors (partners). For more information about Haven Life Plus, please visit: https://havenlife.com/plus
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