According to the most recent report by the Department of Transportation, there were over 8.4 million motorcycles registered in the U.S. in 2011. With that many motorcycles on the road, millions of Americans inquire about motorcycle insurance. Do they need it? If not, should they get it anyway? If you want to know the answer to either of these questions, read on.


Rules of Requirement

Almost all of the fifty states require motorcyclists to meet minimum insurance requirements. In order to register your bike in the first place, you’ll need to purchase a liability insurance policy. Different states have different minimum coverage requirements for bodily injury and property damage liability.

For example, the state minimum requirements in Massachusetts include $20,000 for the bodily injury or death of a person in an accident, $60,000 in an accident with multiple people, and $25,000 for property damage. These same requirements in Colorado include requirements of $20,000, $40,000, and $15,000 in each respective feature. If you’re curious about your state’s requirements, the DMV’s database has information for motorcyclists in all fifty states.


The Exception

You can register a motorcycle in two states, Florida and Washington, without liability insurance. In Washington, all you need to do to legally ride a motorcycle is take a motorcycle safety course or pass a riding test. In Florida, motorcyclists do not need liability insurance. However, if a motorcyclist in Florida has been at fault in an accident that caused injuries and/or damage, the state requires him or her to purchase a bodily injury and property damage liability for three years.

Be aware of where you are riding at all times if you choose not to purchase insurance. If an uninsured Washington biker crosses state borders into Oregon or Idaho, he or she is breaking the law and could face jail time or serious fines.


Mopeds and Scooters

Do other electric bikes fall under the same category? Mopeds and scooters are not able to reach the high speeds that motorcycles can, so some states do not require insurance to ride these vehicles. Just like with motorcycle insurance, the amount of insurance the owner of an electric bike needs varies depending on the state. In addition, each state has different rules regarding maximum speed, helmet usage, and so on.


No matter where you live, purchasing liability insurance is always a good idea, even if it’s not required in your state. If you get into an accident, you are responsible for any injuries afflicting yourself and other riders. These medical costs, as well as any resulting lawsuits, can add up.

Before you purchase a motorcycle insurance policy, make sure you shop around for quotes. You can’t be guaranteed the best price if you are only looking into one or two insurance companies. Just as shopping for quotes is important when purchasing car insurance, it’s crucial to getting a great deal on motorcycle insurance.