Buying a motorcycle is always exciting, whether it is your first bike or your 10th. As with operating any other vehicle, safety is the number one concern, both for yourself and for others. Obtaining insurance is one way that people ensure their safety in general. In fact, it is often assumed that insurance is a requirement in the state of Florida to register a motorcycle. This article outlines the facts of insurance requirements for motorcycles in Florida and why getting it is important.

Understand the Insurance Requirements in Florida

understand the insurance requirements

Image via Flickr by Michael Curi

Before deciding whether to or not to purchase motorcycle insurance, it's important to understand what Florida requires of motorcycle owners in terms of insurance. Contrary to registering a four-wheel vehicle, Florida's Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) agency does not require insurance when registering a motorcycle.

However, the DHSMV recommends getting insurance for a motorcycle because if the rider gets into a crash that results in injuries or property damage, he or she is financially responsible for damages. Additionally, motorcycle accidents have a higher likelihood of resulting in more serious injuries, so it's worth looking into the cost of insurance.

Insurance and Coverage Options

Florida also has no minimum insurance requirements, so quotes for motorcycle insurance vary widely. In order to get the best quote for the bike in question, it is important to get a variety of quotes from different insurers because of the difference in price and in coverage. Consider the coverage offered in each plan carefully.

A good place to start with finding insurance is to look at the type of insurance drivers must have in the state of Florida. Drivers must carry personal injury protection, or PIP because Florida is a no-fault state. Personal injury protection minimums are as follows for motor vehicle drivers:

  • At least $10,000 for a person's physical injuries
  • At least $20,000 for two or more persons' injuries
  • At least $10,000 for each crash to account for property damage.

These minimums are helpful in figuring out the amount of PIP necessary for other passenger vehicles that are not cars. By carrying PIP, smaller cases of personal injury involving vehicles keep them out of court and gives those injured in an accident some type of compensation.

Obtaining personal liability protection is a way that motorcycle owners can make sure they have coverage. Another step to take is to consider obtaining a financial responsibility certificate. It's offered by the Florida DHSMV and involves buying a surety bond from a licensed company and making a cash or securities or a combination both with the DHSMV.

After obtaining the bond and making the deposit, you can get a self-insurance certificate from the Bureau of Financial Responsibility. By doing this, you're actually insuring yourself against an accident or injury involving yourself and your motorcycle.

What No-Fault Means for Motorcycle Owners

Living in a no-fault state like Florida refers to the fact that no one is at fault in the event of an accident. So all the parties injured have their medical bills paid no matter who is responsible for the accident. However, this only applies to vehicles with four wheels. Motorcycles do not qualify for no-fault. This is the precise reason why the DHSMV recommends insurance despite not requiring it to register a motorcycle.

Not only are motorcyclists financially responsible for any accident that occurs, there is also no threshold that the injured party must meet. So in addition to carrying self-insurance or personal injury protection, adding uninsured motorist coverage to an insurance policy is another option. Over 24 percent of drivers do not carry PIP, which puts motorcyclists at risk in an accident involving a car.

The Consequences of No Coverage

While the state of Florida does not mandate motorcycle insurance coverage, it does have penalties for those who aren't insured. Penalties include:

  • Suspending your driving privileges
  • Having your registration or tag suspended
  • Being required to purchase injury and property damage liability for at least three years
  • Having civil judgments filed against you

The consequences of not having coverage for your motorcycle are quite serious, particularly when an accident occurs. Factor these penalties in when considering whether to buy insurance.

Motorcycle insurance is not a requirement for registration in Florida. It is, however, strongly recommended. Motorcycles do not have the same protections that regular vehicles do, so it behooves motorcycle owners to consider their coverage options and get covered before hitting the road. Insurance protects you and your bike from costly claims and damages.

Re-post our material is not allowed without permission.