Motorcycle insurance vs car insurance: What’s the difference?

By Olivia Gee ·
Person on motorcycle looking at cars

While motorbikes and cars share the road, there are a few differences to take into account when choosing an insurance policy to suit each kind of vehicle.

Some are more obvious – like having no windshield on a bike meaning you won’t need windscreen cover – while others might be harder to pinpoint. To make sure you choose the right policy for your set of wheels, be they a pair of two or four, here are some of the traits motorcycle and car insurance policies share, as well as key differences.

You’ll need CTP whether you drive a car or motorbike

There’s no way to steer around the need for Compulsory Third Party Insurance (CTP), which is often known as a ‘greenslip’. While details differ depending on which state or territory you live in,  this liability cover is essential when registering either a car or motorcycle.

As the minimum level of insurance, it only covers injuries you cause to others as well as costs associated with deaths, legal liability and, in some situations, your own injuries. This doesn’t include damage to your own or other vehicles and property. That’s when the next tier of insurance comes in.

Levels of insurance for cars and motorcycles

Like car insurance, motorcyclists are free to choose the next level of insurance for their ride. 

Most drivers and riders will, at least, want to take out third party property and damage cover so they don’t have to foot the bill for other peoples’ car or property repairs (to an agreed-upon amount – check your PDS for limits). This is the lowest level of elective insurance and is a separate policy on top of CTP.

If your car or bike sleeps on the street rather than in a secure garage, you might want to add fire and theft to the policy, as there might be more potential for these kinds of events.

Other motorists will be more concerned about their ride and opt for comprehensive cover. This is the top level of car insurance and, depending on your insurer and the claim circumstances, covers your vehicle for repairs or replacement on top of damage you cause, among other things. Again, this is accessible for car and motorcycle drivers.

Does car or motorcycle insurance cost more?

There isn’t a definitive answer for this as cover for motorcyclists and car drivers depends on a huge range of factors. This includes demographic factors like your age, experience, gender and where you live, as well as the type of bike or car you own, whether it has any modifications, how often you drive or ride and how clean your driving record is.

For bikes, a key factor is how many CCs you’re revving: the greater the power, the more it costs to insure. The same reasoning is applied to how valuable a bike or car is. Another consideration is the risk of serious or fatal injuries you could incur in a crash, which is much higher for motorcyclists.

What might impact insurance costs for cars vs motorcycles?

How far or often you drive. If you own a bike and a car and drive one more than the other, you might consider pay-as-you-drive insurance for the vehicle doing fewer kilometres. 

You probably use a car and motorcycle differently.
For example, you might use your car to commute to work and your bike for weekend joyrides. If this is the case you’ll want to insure them accordingly, perhaps considering roadside assistance and towing costs for far-flung trips and windscreen damage or having the choice of repairer for closer-to-home incidents. If you use your car for business or as a rideshare driver, this can also impact your premium.

You could face different injuries in a crash.
Since you’re more exposed on a bike, you’ll want to check your CTP and voluntary insurance for how medical costs are covered.

Passengers.
There’s only so many people you can fit on a bike or in a car. More passengers means more potential injuries in a crash and associated medical costs, but it also comes down to how those passengers might be injured.

Is it harder to find motorcycle insurance?

You may have trouble finding insurance for your bike through some of the newer, specialised car insurance providers. 

However, many long-standing brands known for car insurance offer specific motorcycle policies. There are also some Australian providers dedicated to insurance for motorbike riders.

But if it’s car insurance you’re after, Mozo has got you covered. Start by investigating some of the options below.

Compare car insurance policies - page last updated October 17, 2020

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  • Comprehensive Car Insurance

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  • Comprehensive Car Insurance

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    Yes Costs Extra
    Choice of repairer
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    Optional Extra
    Choice of excess
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    $400 - $1,850 (varies By State)
    Agreed or market value
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  • Price Saver Comprehensive

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    Yes Costs Extra
    Choice of repairer
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Olivia Gee
Olivia Gee
Money writer

As one of Mozo’s money writers, Olivia Gee shares her research and insights across banking, insurance and property to help readers save. She loves getting stuck into a story, unveiling all the facts, breaking down stats and drawing on personal experiences - this is what drives her as a journalist. She has a double degree from the University of Wollongong, with a BA in Journalism as well as Media and Communications.