August 6, 2023

Comparing Ontario motorcycle insurance to other jurisdictions – California

2 min read

By: Al Maggi

Reviewed by: Al Maggi

Fact checked by: Al Maggi

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Mortgage insurance protects your family if something should happen to you and you are unable to make your mortgage payments. But the mortgage insurance sold by your bank or other mortgage provider is almost never the best value. The better option is buying life insurance from a licensed insurance broker, in the amount of your mortgage. This alternative is usually cheaper, the coverage is more reliable, and your family gets to choose how to spend the money, not the bank.

We get a lot of feedback from Ontario motorcycle riders about how expensive it is to insure a motorcycle in Ontario compared to other jurisdictions, particularly US states.

At M&W, we are motorcycle enthusiasts, and sympathize with Ontario riders who are more and more frustrated with the cost of motorcycle insurance, and the lack of options in the market right now.

We’ve tried to explain the discrepancy in price, but it’s tough for a lot of people to wrap their heads around paying 5-8 times as much for half the months of riding. Ultimately, it’s all about coverage. In California, you’re required to have a certain amount of liability coverage (in case you hurt someone else), but you’re not required to have any coverage for yourself if you’re injured in an accident.

Oh, and motorcycle riders are three times more likely than drivers to be injured in an accident, and ten times more likely to be seriously injured.

Minimum coverage

As an Ontario rider, even if you buy the minimum coverage, you have a generous package of insurance that includes at least $200,000 in liability if you hurt someone and get sued, plus robust medical benefits to help you get back on your feet after an accident.

In California on the other hand, if you’re at-fault for an accident, the most you’re covered for, even if you kill two people and cause $100,000 in property damage, is $46,340 (CDN). If you get sued, you’re personally on the hook for the balance. If you get injured, you have zero coverage for medical expenses, zero for lost income and zero for dependent care. If you die, you guessed it, there’s zero coverage for funeral expenses.

If you’re a California rider with basic insurance, you better hope any accident you get into is not your fault. Then you can sue the at-fault party. If you’re at-fault, you’re completely on your own.

Here’s a side-by-side comparison of basic motorcycle coverage in Ontario and California:

If you get sued
  • $200,000 in liability coverage for property damage, injury, or death due to an accident that you are responsible for.
  • $15,000 for injury/death to one person. ($19,860 CDN)
  • $30,000 for injury/death to more than one person. ($39,720 CDN)
  • $5,000 for damage to property. ($6,620 CDN)
If you get injured
Income replacement
  • Up to $400 a week if you’re injured in an accident and miss work.
  • Nothing
Medical expenses
  • Up to $1 million for catastrophic injury
  • Nothing
Dependant care
  • Up to $250 a week for first dependent (+$50 per additional dependent) if you’re catastrophically injured and need someone to care for your dependents
  • Nothing
If you get killed
Death benefit to dependents
  • $25,000 to your spouse
  • $10,000 to each dependent
  • Nothing
Funeral expenses
  • Up to $6,000
  • Nothing
If somebody wrecks your bike
Direct compensation – Property damage
  • If you’re not at-fault for an accident, your insurer will pay for damage to your bike, so you don’t have to sue them
  • Nothing
If you get hit by someone who doesn’t have insurance
Uninsured automobile coverage
  • Up to $200,000 if you get in an accident with another rider or driver who doesn’t have insurance and they are at-fault
  • Nothing

Insurance is not just one thing, so even though you can probably insure the same bike in California for $300-400 that would cost you more than $2,000 in Ontario, the coverage you’re buying is not even close. There’s definitely an argument to be made that the minimums in Ontario are too high, but riders who suffer a serious injury will tell you that it’s worth every penny.

If you want to ride your dream bike, give us a call, we’ll let you know your options, answer your questions, and get you set up so you can go carve up some curves this spring!


We’ll shop the best motorcycle insurance companies in Ontario for you.

Speak with a Mitch Insurance broker today to get a quote on Ontario motorcycle insurance. Learn more

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