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Hey RideApart: If I crash my motorcycle and ruin some of my riding gear, will my insurance cover it?

– Dave, Connecticut

Hey Dave, thanks for the question. Motorcycle gear can be really expensive, so it’s certainly something to consider when we ride. How much do we spend on a bike, and then on gear, and then on replacing our helmets regularly? The costs can really add up even without any gear-damaging crashes. Losing all your gear at once, while much better than crashing without gear on, can severely damage your wallet.

Well, Is It?

Is it possible that your gear, like your motorcycle, is covered by your insurance? Unfortunately, that’s kind of a complicated question. Some insurance companies offer policies that cover motorcycle gear, and some don’t even give you the option. Laws differ from state to state, but the terms we use to describe insurance coverages do not. We can say a few things for sure, and give you the correct questions to ask your own insurance company.

Call Your Insurance Agent

Most of the time, a quick phone call will answer your question. If you want to be sure, ask your agent for the specific language in your policy surrounding motorcycle gear coverage limits, amounts, and exclusions. Then get it all in writing. If you discover that your gear is not insured, it might be time to do a little comparison shopping.

When you research insurance companies and their coverages, it’s important to compare specific dollar amounts. If the “per incident” coverage is $500 or less and you’re wearing a brand-new $800 helmet, you probably want to consider bumping that coverage up a bit.

But Wait There’s More

There are some other angles to consider in this situation, however. If your company does cover motorcycle gear, is it grouped in with other “accessories” that might also get damaged in a crash? How much do you have invested in those accessories, and will that math work out? How often do you replace your gear? Do you have a closet full, and already own a replacement for pretty much everything you wear, or do you have a single riding suit? Those of us who own a ton of gear might not need this coverage at all, and it’s wasted money over and above what we habitually spend on motorcycle gear in a given year.

Manufacturers Have Their Own Coverage

Sometimes, motorcycle gear manufacturers have their own warranties. First Gear and Klim, for instance, will replace your riding gear if you destroy it in a crash. Each has its own terms (for instance, some limit their coverage to within two years of purchase date) but this angle is clearly worth looking into. You will need to prove the purchase date of your gear, though, so keep all the receipts and paperwork (and maybe print out a copy of that company’s warranty and contact info, too).

Keep Good Records

No matter what, whether it is your favorite helmet, your most comfortable riding jacket, or all the nifty accessories you’ve added to your motorcycle, the best way to ensure you are properly reimbursed for those in the event of a crash, is to keep records of everything. I know, filing is a pain, but it will save you down the road when everything is in one place (and it’s a great source of information when you go to sell the bike, too). Receipts for every piece of gear and everything you’ve ever bolted to the bike means that your insurance company can’t argue the value of anything. If your motorcycle and gear are all totaled, you’ve got proof of what everything cost–-and that will help get you onto a shiny new motorcycle with spanky new gear with the least amount of hassle.

Source: RButler Insurance, Nerd Wallet