Why Insurers Like Cruiser Motorcycles: Fewer Thefts and Crashes

A study by Progressive Insurance Companies confirms that cruiser-type motorcycles, especially small ones, are crashed and stolen less frequently than sportbikes.

We recently received a release from Progressive, the third-largest insurer of vehicles in the U.S and one of the largest motorcycle insurers, concerning a study of loss rates for different types of motorcycles. It looked at claims data from more than two million motorcycle policies. The study confirmed what most of us suspect—that sportbikes get crashed and stolen more frequently than other types and that cruisers are least likely to suffer these events that cost insurers. That's why cruisers can be cheaper to insure even though they often cost more to purchase.

Though the study doesn't look at the reasons, it's easy to speculate why sportbikes have higher loss rates. Sportbikes appeal to younger riders and their orientation makes them more appealing to risk-takers and more likely to be ridden in a risky manner. The fact that sportbikes are more likely to be crashed—and therefore need replacement parts (and that plastic bodywork can be very expensive)—means that there is a bigger market for stolen sportbike parts. Younger riders, especially those inclined to take risks, are probably more likely to be uninsured and therefore more likely to resort to illegal means to repair or replace their damaged rides. There is also evidence that sportbikes are ridden more often and more miles than cruisers, which would also make them more likely to be crashed.

Progressive listed the five bikes with the best and worse records for crash losses and theft losses. Suzuki's 650 Savage (now called the Boulevard S40), Honda 250 and 450 Rebels (grouped together) and BMW R1200C series cruiser made the top five on both of the least-lost lists, with the Savage topping the least-stolen list. Yamaha's Virago line (which included 250, 500, 535, 700, 750, 920, 1000 and 1100cc models over more than two decades, though only the 250 is still being produced) was listed as the least likely to be crashed. Suzuki GSX-R sportbikes topped both the most-crashed and most-stolen lists. Yamaha's YZF series, Kawasaki's Ninjas, and Honda CBRs (all sportbikes except perhaps the Kawasaki 500) also made the top five on both of the high-loss lists. The lists, as compiled by Progressive follow.


Least Likely to be Crashed** * 1. Yamaha Virago Series * 2. Honda Rebel Series * 3. Suzuki Savage * 4. Harley-Davidson FXR * 5. BMW R1200C

Most Likely to be Crashed * 1. Suzuki GSX-R Series * 2. Kawasaki Ninja Series * 3. Suzuki TLR * 4. Yamaha YZF Series * 5. Honda CBR Series


Least Likely to be Stolen** * 1. Suzuki Savage * 2. BMW R1200C * 3. Honda Rebel Series * 4. Honda Shadow Series * 5. Yamaha V-Star

Most Likely to be Stolen * 1. Suzuki GSX-R Series * 2. Yamaha YZF Series * 3. Honda CBR Series * 4. Suzuki Hayabusa * 5. Kawasaki Ninja Series

Portions of Progressive's release follow.


MAYFIELD VILLAGE, Ohio (June 20, 2005) - A recent study of claims data on more than two million motorcycles insured over the past three years by The Progressive Group of Insurance Companies, the country's largest motorcycle insurer, uncovers the makes and models of bikes most and least likely to be stolen or crashed.

So what does this mean for bikers?

If you choose a motorcycle that's involved in more crashes or is stolen more often you'll most likely pay more for insurance.

"Insurance rates are based on a lot of information about you and your driving record as well as the make and model bike you ride," said Rick Stern, motorcycle product manager, Progressive. "If you buy a bike that's stolen often, you may pay more for comprehensive coverage, and if you buy a bike that is involved in more crashes then you may pay more for collision. We want bikers to be aware of what drives rates so they can make better, more informed insurance decisions."_

For more breaking motorcycle news, visit the home page of www.MotorcycleCruiser.com.

This bike, the single-cylinder Suzuki 650 Savage cruiser (the 2004 model is shown), now called the Boulevard S40, was the motorcycle least likely to be stolen and is very rarely crashed, according to a study of claims by insurer Progressive.