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Customizing A Motorcycle? Make Sure You're Protected

by Norman Nelson

Driving down the open road and feeling the wind on your face is one of the great joys of riding a motorcycle, but it's not the only thing that makes being a biker fun. Many motorcycle enthusiasts get a lot of pleasure out of customizing their bikes in order to create an individualized vehicle that's perfect for them. If you're planning to purchase a bike with the intent of customizing it, it's important to make sure that your modifications are protected in the event of an accident or other damage to your bike. Take a look at what you need to know about insuring your customized motorcycle parts.

Custom Parts and Equipment Coverage

Custom parts and equipment coverage (CPE), also called accessory coverage, is coverage for the additions and upgrades you make to your bike. When you purchase insurance for your motorcycle (which you really should do, even if your state doesn't require it, if only so that you can repair or replace your bike if it's stolen, damaged, or totaled), your policy will probably come with a certain amount of custom parts and equipment coverage in the basic policy – in most states, you can expect your insurance company to offer up to $3000 worth of this coverage.

However, when you start adding extras like custom paint jobs, alarm systems, and extra chrome, you can end up spending a lot more than $3000. To protect those costly investments, you'll need to ask your insurer about adding additional accessory coverage so that you'll be able to recoup the cost of replacing your additions if the motorcycle is damaged. You can purchase as much as $30,000 in custom parts and equipment coverage. That can allow you to do a lot more customization and remain protected.

What's Covered?

There are many different types of additions that are covered in a custom parts and equipment policy. In addition to custom paint jobs, anti-theft devices, and extra chrome, these policies can cover electronic equipment like CB radios or antennas, lowering kits, saddlebags, sissy bars, special seats or sidecars, trike conversion kits, and many other items. The policy can even cover trailers that are meant to be pulled behind the motorcycle. In most cases, safety equipment that you wear while riding, like your helmet, is also covered.

Of course, there are certain things that are not covered. If you install a radar detector or an intercom kit, you're probably going to be on your own if it needs to be replaced. And coverage varies by state and by individual insurance company, so you can't assume that something is covered just because most insurers cover it or because it your last insurer covered it. Make sure to ask your insurer for a detailed list of what is and isn't covered by your CPE policy.

Making a Claim

If you do have an accident and your motorcycle is damaged, you'll need to show the insurance company exactly what you're asking them to reimburse you for. Depending on the insurance company and your policy, someone from your insurance agency may inspect the vehicle when you first insure it – however, what they see when you first insure it may be very different from what you end up with after putting some work into customizing it.

To prove to the insurance company that you added the parts you're asking for reimbursement for, you need to document the changes that you make for your bike. Save your receipts for the part any time you buy a covered item, and take pictures of the part as well. Make sure that you get a picture of the motorcycle with the part installed. This will make filing a claim much easier.

Customizing your own motorcycle can be a great hobby, and it can also make your ride much more enjoyable. Knowing how to protect your bike, including the upgrades you make after you buy it, is a must for any serious motorcyclist. 

Keep these things in mind when looking at motorcycles for sale, like at Carl's Cycle Sales.