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Motorcycle Insurance Clarified

When it comes to motorcycle insurance, the waters can get muddy and confusing, especially here in Florida. Most states’ automobile and motorcycle insurance policies are similar in coverage. Florida is unique in that motorcycle and automobile insurance is dissimilar. It’s confusing to say the least. Let’s try to clear it up a bit.

First and foremost, what is considered to be a motorcycle? In Florida, cycles with engine displacement of more than 50cc are considered a motorcycle and must be registered and insured.

Next in importance is Personal Injury Protection (PIP). In Florida, automobiles must have PIP. In the event of an accident, PIP covers ensuing medical bills and lost wages regardless of who is at fault for the accident. The law requires all auto policies include PIP. It’s not required for motorcycle policies. Instead, motorcyclists must establish something called “financial responsibility”.

The Department of Motor Vehicles ( details how to establish financial responsibility in Florida via a few methods:

  1. Purchase liability coverage from your insurance carrier. (The DMV cites this as being “the most common way to establish financial responsibility for any vehicle.”)
  2. Get a Financial Responsibility Certificate from the Bureau of Financial Responsibility. To get this you must:
    1. Post a surety bond with a state-licensed company (ARCW Insurance is one such type of company)
    2. Deposit cash or securities with the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles
  3. Obtain a Self-Insurance Certificate from the Bureau of Financial Responsibility based on your net worth

Now that you know what type of insurance you must have, let’s talk about minimum coverage requirements. In Florida the minimums are:

  • $10,000 for bodily injury liability for one person
  • $20,000 for bodily injury liability for two or more people
  • $10,000 per incident for property damage

In addition to the required insurance, it’s a wise idea to add uninsured motorist coverage (UM) to the mix. If you should ever be involved in an accident, UM will help you with medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering. It will also cover you if the other driver doesn’t have bodily injury insurance or if their limits are insufficient to cover your expenses. The good news is that in Florida UM automatically stacks onto any other policies you have on your other vehicles.

What if your motorcycle isn’t your main vehicle and only used as for weekend fun? Do you still need to carry motorcycle insurance? The real question to ask is whether or not you can you risk not having it. Bottom line is that motorcycles are vehicles and they need to be insured with their own policies. Don’t risk dealing with penalties that could include the suspension of your driver’s license or suspension of your motorcycle plates.

Still confused? Make time to talk with your insurance agent who will clear up any misconceptions or questions you might have. Then go out and enjoy that motorcycle!

This information is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as professional advice.  Should you have any questions or would like to discuss your risk exposure with your motorcycle insurance, please contact the insurance pros at ARCW Insurance.  We are here to help.