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What you need to know before buying your first motorcycle

Warm summer breezes, the smell of fresh air and the throttle of an engine idling between your knees at a stop light – those are the feelings, scents and sounds that give many people the urge to purchase their first motorcycle.

With high prices at the gas pumps thrown into the mix, you might be ready to sign right now on the dotted line and roar off into the sunset on your new bike. But first, make sure you have all your paperwork finalized to help protect your safety.

You will need a motorcycle license, which is different from a driver’s license. Some states may require you to take a motorcycle safety course prior to earning your license. Even if your state doesn’t require a class, it can be a good way for you to learn how to safely drive your bike in all weather conditions. You can also find good motorcycle safety gear and some bike maintenance tips that could help you avoid getting stuck if your bike were to break down.

You’ll also need to research motorcycle insurance. No matter what policy you purchase, you typically will be covered by property damage liability and bodily injury liability. The first coverage, property damage liability, helps protect you from paying for the repair or replacement of another motorist’s vehicle or property in case you were to be involved in a crash.

The second coverage, bodily injury liability, helps protect you from paying medical costs, loss of income and other qualifying expenses for other people involved in an accident. Some states require bodily injury liability for a passenger to be a separate coverage, and others require drivers to pay an additional premium so that it covers passengers on your bike.

In addition to the legally required coverage, you can opt for custom motorcycle insurance that could cover other costs like:

* Lease/loan gap coverage
* Replacement ride protection
* Coverage for your passengers
* Coverage for replacing your after-market customized bike
* Death and Disability Income coverage

Once you have your motorcycle insurance needs sorted out, you’re ready to go and purchase a bike. Soon you’ll be heading down the road after buying your first motorcycle, exploring your neighborhood in a whole new setting.

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