What do I need to know about insurance?
How much is insurance going to cost me for the Ninja 250?
Insurance cost depends on a lot of things: age, state, driving history, bike, etc, etc. Also, some companies just don't like to cover riders with certain profiles - even if they are good otherwise - so they price their coverage outrageously high. It is impossible to give a dollar number here, since rates vary so greatly. Get a cycle magazine and look for the ads from insurance companies - all of them have 800 numbers - and give them a call. When you talk to them, ask about coverage for an EX250; if you call it a Ninja, they might put you in with the bigger sport bikes, and that can cost big $$. On the other hand, the companies have all done their research. They know what your bike is from the VIN. But it never hurts to be prudent...
The bright side is that the Ninja 250 will be cheaper to insure than any other sport bike; and if you take the MSF (Motorcycle Safety Foundation) course, you can usually get a discount.
As your bike gets older and loses some value, you may want to consider running only Liability and Uninsured Motorist coverages on it. However, get as much liability as you can afford. If you're at fault in an accident, you are financially liable even if you don't have enough insurance to cover the other person's bills. Find a good agent and do some talking.
What are all these insurance options?
The article below, by Jeffrey D. Boyd, Attorney at Law, spells out your options in pretty readable English. Sure, he's a lawyer, but he has your best interests as a motorcyclist in mind. Use the guidelines in this article to seriously think about which coverages and how much you need.
Should I get any extended insurance coverages?
Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage is relatively cheap, but is very good to have. It covers everything that the other guy's insurance should cover, if he has insurance. There are lots of uninsured drivers out there, and they're the ones who are more likely to make deadly mistakes. Replacing your bike costs $3500, and depending on the accident, other costs (mostly medical) will range from just replacing your gear all the way to a $100k hospital stay. If you can afford insurance, you can afford Uninsured Motorist insurance.
I hit a guy making a left turn when he was behind a van and in a right-hand lane. Don't ask me what he was thinking, if he was. (Probably wasn't, he hadn't been thinking for the preceding 4 days when he got his car but no insurance...)
Get uninsured motorist coverage! I would gladly have paid the extra hundred bucks a year that it would have cost to escape my current situation. I'm out of pocket about $2k, my health insurance has a claim of another $2k on me in case I ever get any damages from the driver, and I have no bike. My chances of getting damages seem slim, as most lawyers won't touch a lawsuit against an uninsured poor (economically speaking) loser that already has earlier court judgements that he's paying off, and even if I was to win such a lawsuit, the wisdom seems to be that collecting is unlikely.
I should reemphasize this: UM is worth getting! The current estimate of the uninsured vehicle rate (in California) is something like 34%. That's 1 OUT OF 3!!! It makes me pissed off that I need to get insurance for something that is someone elses responsibility, but that's the situation!
What insurance companies should I check out?
State Farm - See your local agent.
Most importantly, call everyone you can and get a quote. Rates are extremely variable, and research is your best bet here.
And, as is mentioned elsewhere in the FAQ: Don't say the 'Ninja' word to your insurance person. It's an EX250. When they ask how big the engine is, tell the truth and say "248cc".