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3 Common State Motorcycle Insurance Laws


Almost every state requires that an operator of a motorcycle have, at a minimum, liability insurance to cover bodily injury or property damage caused to another person. A few states, such as Florida, have motorcycle insurance laws that make liability insurance optional; at least until a motorcycle operator has been in an accident. In Washington State, there is no law requiring motorcycle insurance at all. In those states that require liability insurance, the minimum limits on liability are usually the same as the requirements for operators of automobiles. For instance, it is typical for state motorcycle insurance laws to require minimum limits in the range of $15,000 to $20,000 per person for bodily injury, $30,000 to $40,000 per accident for bodily injury, and $10,000 to $25,000 per accident for property damage. When reviewing motorcycle insurance quotes, be sure to compare policies with the minimum liability limits in your state to policies with higher limits.

You may be able to increase your liability coverage for only a slightly higher premium. In the event of an accident that is determined to be your fault, you may be glad that you have a policy with the higher limits. Other than liability coverage, the motorcycle insurance laws in most states do not make other kinds of coverage mandatory. This includes uninsured or underinsured driver insurance to cover you when you are in an accident caused by someone with little or no insurance; personal injury insurance to cover your medical expenses if you are injured in an accident; and comprehensive and collision insurance to cover your costs if your motorcycle is damaged or stolen.

Forty-seven states and the District of Columbia have laws requiring some or all motorcycle riders to wear helmets. (Twenty states and the District of Columbia require all riders to wear helmets, and 27 states require riders up to a certain age to wear helmets.) Three states have no helmet law (Illinois, Iowa and New Hampshire). If you have motorcycle insurance in a state with a helmet law and are involved in an accident without your helmet, you may be denied coverage or have your benefits reduced.

To summarize, most states have motorcycle insurance laws that require a minimum of liability coverage. For the most part, these states require the same liability levels for both motorcycle and automobile operators. However, these states generally do not mandate other types of coverage, such as uninsured driver and comprehensive insurance. Many states also have helmet laws, and failure to wear your helmet in these states could invalidate your insurance coverage. Obviously, when you are considering motorcycle insurance quotes, you must first understand the specific requirements in your own state.

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