Skip to main content

Do You Need Insurance for a Motorcycle?

Insurance for a Motorcycle

In just about all states, with the exception being Florida, you’ll need proof of insurance to register your bike. So, it’s a solid ‘yes,’ you do need insurance for a motorcycle. Of course, you can always buy a motorcycle without insurance. However, if you intend to ride it – legally – you’ll need motorcycle insurance. In many ways, it’s really not much different than your car, you’ll be required to have at least the state minimum liability limits to ride your motorcycle on public roads. For many, that may be fine, but motorcycle insurance can provide much more than a permission slip to hit the highway. 

The minimum you’ll need to ride legally

If you’re only interested in getting the minimum liability coverage, then you simply need to get a policy with only the liability coverage. Essentially, liability coverage is two separate coverages: bodily injury and property damage. The bodily injury portion is typically sold as a “split” limit. This means there is a maximum coverage for an accident, and one for any single person injured in that same accident.

When you purchase liability coverage, it is shown on your declarations page in a format like $##,###/$##,###. Property damage will be a single value limit payable per accident.  Together they are shown in the format $##,###/$##,###/$##,###. For example, if you purchase minimum limits in California, it will show $15,000/$30,000/$5,000. This means you have $30,000 maximum coverage for injuries you cause in a covered accident, and $15,000 maximum for any single person injured in that same accident.  For damage to other people’s property, you would have $5,000 per accident.

Motorcycle insurance offers more than liability coverage

If you have to buy insurance for a motorcycle, then you should consider buying more that just the basic liability coverage. There are many other coverages that can help make motorcycle ownership a bit less of a financial hassle when accidents happen. Below are a coverages you should consider:

Comprehensive and collision coverage

If you financed your bike, then not only will the state require you to have insurance for a motorcycle, but your loan or lease company will as well. They will likely require you to have insurance for the motorcycle, sometimes referred to as physical damage coverages. Physical damage coverage refers to the combination of collision and comprehensive coverage. However, if you own your bike outright, comprehensive and collision are worth considering. These coverages will protect you against a collision with another object, theft, vandalism, hitting an animal, and weather-related incidents.

Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage

According to the Insurance Information Institute, there is an estimated 13% of drivers in the United States who regularly driver without insurance. If you have an accident with one of these people, they may not have the financial means to pay for you injuries or property damage. Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage can help pay for your medical bills and any lost wages due to injuries from an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver. In fact, if you don’t have collision coverage, you may also be able to buy uninsured motorist property damage coverage, which covers damage to your bike when in an accident with an uninsured driver.

Medical payments coverage

If you or a passenger are injured in an accident, this coverage can help pay your medical bills, regardless of fault, up to the limits of your policy.

There are other optional coverages that offers even more protection:

  • Carried Contents: Covers personal property that is damaged at the time of a covered loss or covers property stolen off your motorcycle.
  • Enhanced Injury Protection: Get up to $250 per week for two years if you’re injured in a covered motorcycle accident and are unable to work.
  • Accessories and Custom Parts/Equipment: We automatically include $3,000 in accessory coverage to protect the upgrades and customizations you’ve made to your ride.
  • Total Loss Coverage: If your bike is totaled and is no older than one model year on a new policy, Progressive will pay you the full manufacturer’s suggested retail price for a brand-new bike, minus your deductible.
  • Roadside Assistance: If you break down in the U.S. or Canada, we’ll tow your bike to the nearest repair shop for free.

See additional information about all standard and optional motorcycle coverages.

When do you need motorcycle insurance?

Motorcycle insurance is the best way to help protect you financially when you’re riding, and it’s required in 49 states. But you may still be skeptical if insurance for a motorcycle is really needed. Well, consider these few examples when you affirmatively need motorcycle insurance if you intend to ride:

  • Have a temporary permit: Your state likely treats your permit the same as a license for insurance requirements. Therefore, if your state requires insurance when you’re fully licensed, they likely require it while you have a temporary permit as well.
  • Going to register your motorcycle: Proof of insurance will likely be required when you register your motorcycle. In fact, if you don’t maintain your insurance, the department of motor vehicles may actually suspend your registration. Therefore, your requirement to have your motorcycle registered is tied directly to your requirement to have the minimum financial responsibility (liability) insurance.
  • Need to finance your bike: Most banks and finance companies require insurance on their collateral. So, if you barrowed money to buy your motorcycle, there is a good chance you will be required to have insurance.
  • Got pulled over by the police: Since insurance is mandatory in nearly all states, you may be required to show proof of insurance when you get stopped for a traffic violation. Riding without insurance may result in a ticket.

Do I need motorcycle insurance for my scooter?

The requirement to get insurance for a scooter varies by state and size of motor. If you have a “fast” scooter, you likely need insurance. This is frequently defined by models having an engine larger than 50cc or the ability to go faster than 30mph. Since each state is a bit different, even if you have a slower model, you should consult your department of motor vehicles to confirm if you will be required to get insurance on your scooter. 

Is there seasonal motorcycle insurance?

For many riders, there are long periods on the winter where riding is just not an option, and you would prefer to not pay insurance premiums if you don’t need it. This is sometimes referred to as seasonal motorcycle insurance or lay-up motorcycle insurance. This allows you to drop coverages or even cancel your policy during the months you’re not using your bike. However, how this works will vary depending on insurance company and the state you live. Before you buy, check with your insurance company to see how they handle lay-up motorcycle insurance. Typically, you can adjust or drop certain coverages when your bike isn’t being used. However, you need to remember to add them back when it’s time to start riding.

The bottom line

Unless you live in Florida, the answer to the question, “do I need insurance for a motorcycle” is a big “yes.” The question is not if you need it, but how much is right for you. For some, the minimum limits will be sufficient, and nearly 29% opt for this form of protection. But you should consider all the coverages, as there are good reasons to be prepared in the event of an unfortunate circumstance.

If you’re not sure, you can call us at (877) 334-7646 or request a quote online.

Insurance for a motorcycle

Compare Quotes Online

Want to know if you can save on motorcycle insurance? See for yourself. Start a quote today.

Give us a Ring


Call today and speak with a professional insurance agent.

Follow us!

Share via
Copy link