Texas winters can be a welcome relief from triple-digit heat, but for motorcycle lovers, it means a lot less riding. Winter is also when a lot of Texas motorcycle owners ask themselves the same questions: What’s the best way to care for my motorcycle during winter, and what should I do about my Texas motorcycle insurance?
Before you think about leaving your motorcycle out all winter and canceling your motorcycle insurance policy until the spring, you’ll want to read these six important tips about caring for your motorcycle during winter in Texas. Not only will you extend the life of your bike, but you’ll save money, too!
6 Tips on Caring for Your Motorcycle During Winter in Texas
1. Save Money with an Active Motorcycle Insurance Policy
Just because you’re not riding your motorcycle doesn’t mean you should drop your insurance coverage. While some people choose to cancel their motorcycle insurance during the winter months to save money, this option can end up costing you more in the long run.
Most insurance policies have a six-month or one-year term. If you cancel your coverage before the term is up, you may be charged early termination fees. And when you try to take out a policy again in the spring, the insurance company may charge you a higher premium because of the lapsed coverage. Some insurance companies may even notice that you’re constantly canceling and renewing the same motorcycle insurance policy, and they may refuse to keep insuring you.
Finally, if you financed or leased your motorcycle, the financing or leasing company may require you to keep a minimum amount of motorcycle insurance coverage. The details of your minimum coverage would be in your lease or financing agreement. If you cancel your coverage, the leasing or financing company can usually take out a motorcycle insurance policy for you and send you the bill. Needless to say, they probably won’t put the same effort you did into finding the most affordable motorcycle insurance options.
In short, one of the best ways to save money on motorcycle insurance and care for your motorcycle is to keep your insurance policy active, even in winter.
2. Keep Your Motorcycle in a Safe Place
When you’re not using your motorcycle every day or every weekend, consider moving it to a secure place, such as a garage. Not only is this a great way to care for your bike by sheltering it from the winter weather, but it’s also a great way to save money on motorcycle insurance in Texas. If you can show that you keep your motorcycle in a secure garage, most motorcycle insurance companies are willing to offer a discount on your insurance rates.
What counts as a garage? The exact definition varies between motorcycle insurance companies. In most cases, a garage must be a permanent structure with four walls, a roof, and a concrete base. Most importantly, it must have a lockable point of entry.
Some insurance companies also accept wooden or metal storage sheds as motorcycle garages, provided that they’re permanently attached to the ground and lockable. If you don’t have access to a garage for your motorcycle, renting one in a low-crime area could be worth it. Just keep in mind that the garage can only be accessible to you — motorcycle insurance companies don’t count public and communal garages.
When you keep your motorcycle in a secure place like a locked garage, you extend the life of your bike and save money on motorcycle insurance at the same time.
3. Consider Signing Up for Comprehensive Motorcycle Insurance
While comprehensive motorcycle insurance isn’t legally required in Texas, it’s a good idea to have it for your motorcycle, especially in winter. That’s because keeping your bike stored still exposes it to risks of theft, fire, water damage, and other damaging incidents. Without comprehensive motorcycle insurance, you would be on the hook to cover the full repair or replacement costs.
Even if you keep your bike stored in your garage or a storage facility all winter, keep in mind that your renters insurance or homeowners insurance policy won’t cover your motorcycle. For example, if there’s a fire in your garage, your renters or homeowners insurance will help cover the replacement costs of tools and other personal items, but not your motorcycle. Only comprehensive insurance can protect your bike, car, and other motorized vehicles.
Comprehensive motorcycle insurance is a great way to save you money in the long run. If you don’t want to use your savings towards an expensive bike repair, comprehensive insurance can help keep your hard-earned money in the bank.
4. Increase Your Deductible During the Winter Months
When your motorcycle is in storage, there’s a lower chance of something happening to it. That’s why you should consider increasing the deductible on your motorcycle insurance policy. Your insurance deductible is the amount you agree to pay before the insurance company starts covering a claim on a collision or comprehensive insurance policy.
For example, if your motorcycle insurance policy has a deductible of $1,000 and your motorcycle suffers $2,500 in damage, then you would need to pay $1,000 towards the repairs before the insurance company covers the remaining $1,500. The higher your deductible, the less money your insurance company has to pay, and the less money you pay for motorcycle insurance.
That said, make sure you’re ready to cover the deductible in case an accident does happen. If you raise your deductible from $1,000 to $2,000, ask yourself: “Am I ready to spend $2,000 at a moment’s notice if something happens to my motorcycle?” If the answer is “Yes,” then increasing your deductible is a great way to care for your motorcycle during winter and save money on motorcycle insurance at the same time.
When Texas spring rolls around and you’re back on the road with your motorcycle, you can change your policy to be better protected against collisions, theft, and natural disasters.
With all that money you’re saving on motorcycle insurance during winter, you’ll have more to spend on motorcycle maintenance and care.
5. Take a Motorcycle Safety Course
While your motorcycle is in storage for the winter, it’s a great opportunity to refresh your motorcycle safety skills with an approved motorcycle safety course, such as one given by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF). When you complete your course, you’ll have the latest skills on riding safely — and there’s no better way to care for your motorcycle than to ride it safely.
These courses usually involve an online learning component followed by practical hands-on riding exercises. The MSF even provides helmets and motorcycles so that you don’t have to take your own bike out of storage. Remember to make sure your motorcycle liability insurance policy is active before starting the practical riding exercises.
Motorcycle safety courses can save you money as well. Most Texas motorcycle insurance companies offer special discounts to people who complete an approved course. And if you do end up taking your bike out in the winter, make sure to follow these best practices for winter driving in Texas.
6. Ask About Lay-Up Motorcycle Insurance
If you’re sure that you won’t be riding your bike at all during the winter, ask your insurance company about lay-up motorcycle insurance. This is a special type of motorcycle insurance that temporarily suspends your motorcycle liability and collision coverage while keeping your comprehensive insurance coverage. Lay-up motorcycle insurance helps you save money while keeping your insurance policy active and your motorcycle protected against theft, fire, and other damage. When spring arrives, you can reinstate your old coverage and make sure you’re up to date on motorcycle requirements in Texas.
Keep in mind that lay-up motorcycle insurance does not include liability coverage, which means that you’re not legally allowed to use your motorcycle until you add back liability coverage. This can be a big deal in Texas, where winters are mild, and you never know when there’ll be a nice day in January or February. Since it often takes a few days to reinstate liability coverage, you wouldn’t be able to take advantage of an unexpectedly sunny winter day to go out for a ride.
In short, lay-up motorcycle insurance is a great way to save money while protecting and caring for your motorcycle in winter. If you do decide to go with lay-up insurance, just be sure that you really won’t be taking your motorcycle out until spring. Otherwise, you run the risk of getting caught driving without liability insurance in Texas. This can result in steep fines and even license suspension. You may even need to file an SR-22 financial responsibility insurance certificate before you can get back on the road.
Care for Your Motorcycle While Saving on Your Texas Motorcycle Insurance
As winter approaches, take a moment to think about how you can care for your bike and save money on your motorcycle insurance at the same time. Canceling your insurance policy isn’t the right move. Instead, work with your insurance company to find the right winter motorcycle insurance coverage for you. Your bike and your wallet will thank you.
Texas motorcycle drivers choose Baja Auto Insurance because we provide the best coverage at the best prices. All it takes is a few minutes to start your online quote for Texas motorcycle insurance. Or feel free to visit one of our insurance offices or give us a call at (800) 401-6870.