when to replace motorcycle helmets

Motorcycle helmets are made of some of the strongest stuff on Earth. Sadly, that's what makes replacing them seem like a waste of your green. In truth, though, replacing your helmet at the right times is crucial to your safety.

should you replace your motorcycle helmet after an accident?

When your head hits the ground (or other obstacle) during a crash, the impact is absorbed by the helmet's hard thermoplastic outer shell and dispersed across the entire helmet. Once the outer shell has been used up, the force of the impact is transferred to the soft polystyrene inner liner.

However, because the layers of your helmet undergo such stress protecting your (grateful) noggin in a crash, there are often no protective elements left over. That's why repeated use is usually a no-no. Some helmets may actually crack or delaminate in severe accidents — an even clearer sign the motorcycle helmet lifespan has run its course.

If you have a very minor accident, it might be worth having a professional check out your helmet and see if it can be repaired. In most cases, though, anything more than minor scratches means you should replace your motorcycle helmet altogether.

what if you drop your helmet while you’re off the bike?

Thankfully, you don't have to cradle your helmet like a newborn for fear of wasting its one good use. The miniscule force generated from dropping your helmet probably won't sap its protective qualities like a crash would.

For one thing, dropping your dome, say, on a diner floor while you're eating lunch hardly creates the same force as being thrown from a speeding bike. Also, much of the impact made on a helmet during an accident comes from the momentum of your own head.

However, it's always smart to have your helmet inspected by a pro after dropping it, just in case.

how long do motorcycle helmets last?

Even if you never have an accident (which is the plan, after all), you should still replace your helmet every so often. The average motorcycle helmet lifespan runs about 2-5 years.

We understand no one likes to cough up money to replace items that appear good as new. But there are a couple of important reasons to keep your motorcycle helmet current:

  • After years of use, your sweat and your hair's natural oils have deteriorated the protective properties of your helmet. So while it may feel the same as always, you could be much more vulnerable now than when you first purchased your lid.
  • Helmet technology is always advancing, and you want to make sure you have the most cutting-edge materials protecting you.

If you're having trouble knowing when to replace your motorcycle helmet or can't remember when you bought it, the production date should be stamped on the chin strap or label.

safeguard your helmet with motorcycle insurance

Even your protection could use protection. That's why covering your bike and your gear with motorcycle insurance is such a great idea.

With Esurance motorcycle insurance, $3,000 of optional equipment coverage is included automatically when you choose comprehensive coverage (or comprehensive and collision coverages). That way, replacing or repairing your costly helmet after a covered accident doesn't put a dent in your wallet.

Start your free quote to customize your motorcycle protection with Esurance or through our partner.

Motorcycle helmet types
Get a primer on helmet types to make sure you have the right model for your riding style.

Motorcycle helmet sizing
Learn how to measure your head for a motorcycle helmet and how to tell if it fits just right.

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