If they chose a certain company over others, it's usually because it's coverage is better/cheaper.
Better/cheaper are of course two different things. I think most folks only rate their insurance on what they pay, and then...maybe...on how well they handle claims. Many switch from one company to another solely based on cost, and have never filed a claim with any of them. This makes what happens when you really need them there for you questionable.
All I can say is when I got rear-ended in my car, my insurance company, Geico , was extremely nice to deal with and went out of their way to make sure I was completely satisfied. I know on our cars we are saving around 300 a year since we switched to them. I have had other insurance companies that were not as quick to respond, although I have not had any particular problem with them, given the fact that in my life I think I have only filed two claims...
My question on some of the "discount" online insurance companies would be how good their service is, when you need it.
Those that do have what they think is good coverage are sometimes surprised to find out that alot of stuff they thought might be covered , is not.
So make sure you ask specificly things like:
How much am I allowed for accessories I added to my bike? Or or they even covered? (That 600 dollar GPS may or may not be covered)
In an accident is my protective gear covered by replacement cost? (Helmets, Jackets , may or may not be covered)
If your motorcycle is your only means of transportation, you should consider having a rental or loaner car feature.
Sorry, I was not trying to imply that you were not aware of the vast differences in cost due to age or location, just pointing it out for all eyes here.
Insurance is a bit like an oil thread, there will be those that say their company is best and others that might say they did not care for them. The majority as memtioned will talk about savings on cost, but have no real clue on what the company is like to deal when filing a claim. And there is always someone with a horror story about some company.
My feeling is , much like oil...to stick with companies that have a well known name , Like Shell. Mobil , Farmers or Geico. But no ones reccomendation will mean anything if your estimate is higher with them than someone else, especialy if cost is you major criteria.