It really depends on where you live.
Firstly, even in Canuckistan (generally much higher rates than the states), $1600/year for a Ninja 250 is high. Look into other insurance companies.
Not financing does not mean lower rates per say, but it does allow you do opt out of collision. What that means is that if you are at fault (either multi vehicle, or single vehicle accident) the insurance company won’t pay to repair your bike. This is how most people I know (myself included) insure their bikes.
Look into insurance offered through your school (or Alumni group once you graduate), as they often have discounts.
Also, if you don’t already have it, take the MSF. Many insurance companies offer a discount for having it.
Again, call around, try all the brokers in your area. It pays to shop around. Also, shop aroudn againafter your first year is up. Many places put a *very* high premium on first time riders (fair when you consider how many of the accidents are by untrained new riders). The company that gives you teh best deal as a new rider may not be the best company once you have one year under your belt.
The company I’m with now costs $600 less per year for my SV650 than the company I had for my first year. But the company I’m with now simply will not insure riders without a full year of riding.
Good luck, and enjoy the 250R