Motorcycle Insurance & Engine Size

The size of a motorcycle's engine has a direct impact on insurance costs.
The size of a motorcycle's engine has a direct impact on insurance costs. (Image: Hemera Technologies/ Images)

Motorcycle insurers consider a number of factors when determining the price you pay for bike coverage. Typical factors include your age, riding experience, type of bike, where and how frequently you ride and your driving record. The size of your bike's engine also plays a key role, as larger engines often mean higher insurance costs.


Larger motorcycle engines consist of more moving and non-moving parts than smaller engines, which results in greater manufacturing expenses and higher prices to the end-user. It also means a greater cost to repair or replace parts or the entire engine if damaged in an accident. Motorcycle insurers attain profitability by ensuring the premiums they collect are greater than what they pay out in claims. They accomplish this in part by charging higher premiums for bigger bikes. According to, a bike with a small engine could be insured for as little as $200 a year, while the same rider could pay $1,000 or more annually for a large bike.


Larger motorcycle engines also are more powerful than their smaller counterparts, and more power equates to increased speed potential. Motorcycle insurers view the opportunity for greater speed as a sign of increased risk for them. Insurers attempt to mitigate risk by charging higher premiums, so larger bikes are more costly to insure. However, a rider with a proven record of safe operation may be eligible to receive a reduced premium in some cases.

Starting Smaller

Since operating history is an important rating factor for motorcycle insurance, your insurer may offer you a lower premium for your big bike if your history with smaller bikes is favorable. For instance, if you started riding smaller bikes several years ago and gradually increased the size of the bike you ride, your safe driving history may entitle you to a lower rate when you're ready to upgrade to a large model.


Even if your initial premium for riding a bigger bike is higher than you'd like, things can improve over time. If you maintain safe operating habits and keep accidents and the accompanying claims to a minimum, you should see your rates decrease over time, especially if your company offers discounts for continued safe operation. Your premiums should also decrease as you get older and distance yourself from the higher insurance costs associated with youth.

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