Insurance can be one of the biggest operating costs associated with late model motorcycles. Increases in the cost of insurance could lead to a decline in sales and a drift away from motorcycling as a recreational pursuit.

The pricing of motorcycle insurance premiums is driven largely by the cost of damage and theft claims. If the cost of insurance claims can be reduced, then premiums can be reduced.

A significant number of expensive claims involve motorcycles which are stationary or travelling at low speed. IAG found that motorcycles which fall off their side stands can cost just as much to repair as ones which slide down the road on their sides at speed.A comparison study of two Ducati 999 insurance claims shows that the exact same parts can be damaged in both circumstances, causing great expense.

Based on assessments of insurance claims, IAG has identified certain design features which can help to reduce the cost of damage in stationary or low speed falls. Poor design leads to expensive parts being the first points of impact in a low speed fall (fairing, lights, fuel tank, frame, swingarm).

The tip-over test results indicate that aftermarket motorcycle crash protection (“crash knobs”) can reduce the cost of repairs by as much as 40 percent. It was also found that the presence of pannier luggage can prevent a considerable amount of motorcycle damage. IAG found that naked motorcycles generally incur less damage than faired motorcycles, but it depends upon the quality of protection around the engine coolant radiator and the exhaust muffler.

IAG encourages motorcycle designers, engineers and manufacturers to incorporate design features that minimise the cost of damage arising from low speed impacts. Good motorcycle design features include:  

  • reinforced steel side bars to protect body side panels and engine components. These can be hidden under low- cost unpainted replaceable covers
  • side crash protectors to prevent scratches; also known as crash knobs
  • easily replaceable engine side covers and clutch covers
  • frame protectors in carbon fibre, or plastic or rubber
  • heat shields over radiators and mufflers which double as scratch protectors
Results of Tip -Over Testing Repair Costs (click on graph to see a larger image in a new window)

2010 02 tip-over chart