Do You Need Motorcycle Insurance?

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Every state but Florida requires motorcycle riders to buy insurance. However, Florida motorcycle riders should still buy a policy. Motorcycle insurance protects owners from having to pay expensive bills after a crash.

Motorcycle insurance requirements by state

In most states, it's the law that motorcycle riders need to buy insurance. Also, they need to show proof of insurance to register their motorcycle. You have to register your motorcycle to drive it, get a license plate and show that you legally own it. You may have to pay an expensive fine if you don't.

The average cost of motorcycle insurance depends in part on where you live.

Forty-nine states require motorcycle insurance. But states are different when it comes to bodily injury and property damage liability coverage requirements.

In most states, you need at least $25,000 in bodily injury protection per person and $50,000 per accident, as well as $10,000 in property damage coverage. You can often find these limits written as 25/50/10.

For example, New York has a minimum coverage requirement of 25/50/10. But Texas law requires you to buy coverage of at least 30/60/25 ($30,000 for injury or death of one person in an accident; $60,000 in an accident with two or more people; and $25,000 of property damage liability).

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Where can you buy motorcycle insurance?

The best motorcycle policy for you will be the one with features and coverages that meet your needs.

Best overall motorcycle insurance company: Progressive

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Why it's great

Progressive has the best combination of affordable prices, good coverage options and lots of discounts.

Progressive has good minimum and full coverage plans. Progressive also covers most types of motorcycles. That means you won't have to search around for coverage if you have a unique motorcycle.

Progressive has many easy-to-get discounts. For example, you automatically qualify for a discount if you own a home. You don't need a homeowners policy with Progressive. Few other motorcycle insurance companies offer as many features and discounts as Progressive.

Best for bundled insurance policies: Allstate

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Why it's great

Allstate has a great bundle discount for people who also have cars.

You should consider Allstate if you need auto and motorcycle insurance. The company offers one of the best bundle discounts. You automatically get a discount of up to 30% on your motorcycle insurance if you have an Allstate auto policy.

Allstate also offers discounted rates to drivers for switching insurance companies. You can also get a discount if you have multiple Allstate motorcycle insurance policies. Allstate customers get access to a large network of agents. This can be a great benefit if you value personal support.

Best for minimum coverage: Geico

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Why it's great

Riders looking for a low price on a basic policy should consider Geico.

Consider buying a Geico motorcycle insurance policy if you're simply looking for the minimum amount of coverage necessary in your state. Geico offers many discounts on top of its low rates. Geico gets fewer customer complaints compared to an average insurance company of the same size.

Best for new motorcycles: Liberty Mutual

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Why it's great

Liberty Mutual offers many extras, such as better bike replacement and 24-hour roadside assistance. This makes it a good choice if you have a new bike.

Liberty Mutual offers two optional coverages that make it one of the best motorcycle insurance companies for people with a new motorcycle. These are better bike replacement and new bike replacement coverage.

If you total your bike, then better bike replacement will pay for a newer motorcycle (up to one year) with 2,500 fewer miles than your old one. In other words, Liberty Mutual will pay for a better bike than the one you lost.

New bike replacement pays for a new motorcycle if you lose your bike in the first year. Most motorcycle insurance companies would pay for the value of your bike minus wear and tear. But Liberty Mutual pays for a brand-new motorcycle with this coverage.

California motorcycle insurance requirements

Motorcycle riders in California must have bodily injury coverage of at least $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident, and property damage coverage of $5,000 (15/30/5). These limits apply to regular cars and bikes on public roads (not ATVs or dirt bikes). But this law excludes some vehicles.

For example, you don't have to register certain types of electric bicycles in California. They don’t require a license, and drivers do not need to carry insurance.

However, the rules are different in other states. Electric bicycles (or mopeds and scooters) might have different laws, and anyone who owns a motorcycle or similar vehicle needs to be aware of them. It is their responsibility to follow them and meet the necessary requirements.

In California, you don't need motorcycle insurance if you pay a cash deposit of $35,000 to the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles. You can also get a DMV-issued certificate of self-insurance or a surety bond for $35,000 from a company licensed to do business in the state.

Do you need motorcycle insurance in Florida?

No, if you live in Florida, you don't need insurance to register your motorcycle. State law also doesn't require that you buy a motorcycle insurance policy.

But riding a motorcycle without insurance is generally a bad idea. People can sue you for any damage or injuries you cause, and you'll be responsible for the damage.

In Florida, you need to buy bodily injury and property damage liability protection for three years after causing a crash that involved an injury or broken law.

Florida law does not require riders age 16 and older to wear helmets. However, you need to wear eye protection at all times, even if you don't have a helmet.

Does Washington require motorcycle insurance?

Motorcycle riders in Washington need liability insurance. You must either complete a motorcycle safety course or pass a knowledge and riding skills test to legally ride a bike in Washington.

To meet the legal requirement for motorcycle insurance, you need the following coverage limits:

  • Bodily injury liability insurance: $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident
  • Property damage liability insurance: $10,000 per accident

Montana motorcycle insurance requirements

Motorcycle riders in Montana must have at least $25,000 in bodily injury protection per person ($50,000 per accident with more than one person) and $20,000 in property damage coverage. The same limits apply to all motor vehicles on public roads in the state.

How do you get motorcycle insurance with a learner's permit?

The same local motorcycle insurance laws generally apply to both new and fully licensed riders. You might need to get a temporary or learner’s permit before you get your full motorcycle license depending on where you live. Those learning to ride a motorcycle in most states will at least need to have a driver's license, which requires the same liability coverage.

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.