Insurance is necessary if you want to drive, but many motorcyclists fall prey to common insurance myths that expose them to significant risks. While motorcycle insurance offers the same basic forms of protection as car insurance, it’s vital to understand the differences and choose a policy that covers you against the unique risks posed by riding a motorcycle.

Make sure you separate fact from fiction when buying insurance. Here are 5 common motorcycle myths that can cost you big.

Myth #1. If a friend crashes my motorcycle, his insurance will pay.

Don’t assume the rider’s insurance policy covers damages in the event of an accident if you lend out your bike. If you lend someone your motorcycle and they get into an accident, you and your insurance company will be liable for damages. This is because your insurance policy covers the motorcycle, not any policy your friend may have. Your insurance will need to pay for damages and the claim will be on your policy. Your rates may also go up, just as if you had been riding yourself.

Myth #2. My premiums won’t go up if I don’t make a claim after an accident.

It can be tempting to keep your insurance company out of the loop and pay for damages yourself, especially if the cost is relatively low. Just keep in mind your insurance company can still find out about the accident and increase your rates, even if you don’t make a claim. If the other person involved in the accident files a claim with their insurance provider, that company will notify your insurer. Your insurance company can also find out through DMV records and police reports.

Myth #3. I can cancel my motorcycle insurance during the winter and still be covered by homeowner’s insurance.

Many motorcyclists feel the temptation to cancel coverage during the winter when their bike is in storage. After all, you’re not going to be riding for months, so why pay for insurance coverage? The truth is homeowner’s insurance will almost never cover a motorcycle stored for the winter if it’s stolen or damaged. When you get a new policy in the summer, it will also cost you more due to a lapse in coverage. In some states, motorcycle registration can be canceled due to a lapse in coverage as well.

Myth #4. I only need the minimum coverage required by the state.

While a motorcycle may not cause as much damage to other vehicles as a large truck, damages in any accident often exceed minimum liability coverage limits set by the state. A motorcycle can still cause significant damage to other vehicles in an accident or lead to an accident that causes other vehicles to crash into each other. If an accident is your fault, you will be responsible for the damages. Make sure you get adequate coverage!

Myth #5. Accidents involving my car don’t affect my motorcycle insurance.

Actually, anything on your driving record affects your motorcycle insurance and your driving record with your motorcycle will also affect your car insurance premiums. This is true even if your car is insured with a different insurance company than your motorcycle. Insurance premiums consider your overall driving record with no difference made between citations or accidents involving a motorcycle or car. Anything that happens while you drive, regardless of the vehicle you are driving, will affect your motorcycle insurance premiums.