Almost all carriers cover mopeds and scooters under their motorcycle insurance policies. Most states require moped and scooter riders to have some form of insurance for the vehicles, and these laws do not always align with a state’s motorcycle laws, so you should check whether a policy is required before riding on the road. Since mopeds and scooters are defined differently depending on the state you live in, you should first determine how your vehicle is categorized in order to find your moped and scooter insurance requirements.
Insurance for Mopeds and Scooters
Insurance policies specifically for mopeds and scooters are uncommon. The majority of insurance companies cover mopeds and scooters under their motorcycle insurance policies.
Almost every motorcycle insurance policy (which typically covers a moped or scooter) includes bodily injury and property damage liability coverage. These cover any bodily injury to others or property damage a rider might cause while operating their vehicle. They do not cover the rider of the moped, scooter or motorcycle itself. These two types of insurance coverages are common ways to fulfill the financial responsibility requirement that most states mandate from drivers.
Other coverages options for most vehicles are also available for mopeds and scooters. Medical payments coverage, which pays for the hospital bills of a driver or passenger, is available to moped and scooter owners. Another optional coverage in most states is uninsured/underinsured motorist, which covers damages to a rider and their vehicle caused by someone else who is inadequately insured. Collision and comprehensive pays for the cost to repair or replace your motorcycle, minus your deductible—an optional coverage attractive to many smaller vehicle drivers. Roadside assistance, coverage for contents inside or carried by a moped or scooter, total loss coverage, and trip interruption are also examples of optional coverages offered by some of the major carriers.
Do You Need Insurance for a Moped or Scooter?
In most states, moped and scooter owners are required to have bodily injury and property damage liability coverage—just like motorcycle owners—but the amount of coverage required for each is not the same in every state. Some states have different rules for mopeds and scooters than they do for motorcycles. For example, some states require coverage for uninsured/underinsured motorists. A handful of states require personal injury protection (PIP), too.
The state of New York is a good example of how complicated the designation and insurance requirements can be for mopeds and scooters. Not every moped or scooter in New York is required to have insurance. The state has three separate classes of mopeds and scooters, each with its own set of requirements, including licensing and insurance.
Example: Motorcycle, Scooter and Moped Requirements In New York
|Type of Qualification||Class A (Over 30-40 mph)||Class B (Over 20-30 mph)||Class C (20 mph or less)|
|Insurance||Required||Required||Recommended * *|
|Driver’s license / permit||M/MJ||Any license class||Any license class|
|Headlight on when operating||Required||Required||Required|
|Helmet and eye protection||Required||Required||Recommended|
|May operate on||Any traffic lane||Right-hand lane or shoulder only*||Right-hand lane or shoulder only*|
|Title||Not required||Not required||Not required|
Coverage Limits of Moped and Scooter Insurance
The same limits of insurance coverage are available to moped and scooter riders. For example, GEICO offers online quotes for mopeds scooters, such as Vespas, and it allows shoppers to choose from a variety of limits.
A basic GEICO insurance policy for scooters includes bodily injury limits of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident, and a property damage limit of $10,000. But shoppers can choose various level of coverage for each: up to $250,000 per person and $500,000 per accident of bodily injury protection and $100,000 for property damage.
Like most other companies that cover mopeds and scooters under their motorcycle policies, GEICO also offers optional coverage for residual medical payments up to a limit of $10,000. Comprehensive and collision coverage are also optional, but instead of choosing a limit for a payout, a policyholder chooses the deductible for each. GEICO has deductibles as low as $50 and as high as $1,000 for each coverage type.
Classic Moped and Scooter Insurance
If your moped or scooter qualifies as a classic or vintage vehicle, you may have to find a specialty insurance company in order to insure it fully. Classic mopeds and scooters need the same forms of coverage to be ridden on the road, so the policy should include liability insurance and anything else required by the state. However, if you want higher limits of coverage for your moped, as it’s particularly expensive to repair or replace, you should first ask your insurer if this is possible. You should also compare quotes from specialty insurers that specialize in policies for classic motorcycles, mopeds and scooters.
Moped and Scooter Insurance Cost
Motorcycle insurance policies covering a moped or scooter tend to be cheaper than if they were covering a traditional motorcycle. This is the case for a variety of reasons, but primarily because mopeds and scooters have smaller engines, so they can't travel as fast and are consequently limited to where they can be ridden. The potential for damage to others or personal property is lower.
To give an idea of how much insuring these vehicles can cost, we compared scooter insurance policies from GEICO and Progressive for a sample rider living in New York City who owns a Vespa GTS 300 scooter. You can see the impact on the cost of premiums for the scooter when additional coverages are added. The average cost of a basic scooter insurance policy is around $250 per year and is much more affordable than one with a variety of additional coverages.
|Type of Coverage||GEICO (Basic)||GEICO||Progressive (Basic)||Progressive|
|Bodily Injury Liability Limit||$25K/$50K||$100K/$300K||$25K/$50K||$100K/$300K|
|Property Damage Liability Limit||$10K||$25K||$10K||$50K|
|Residual Medical Payments Limit||Declined||$2,000||Declined||$2,500|
|Uninsured Motorist Limits||Declined||$25K/$50K||Declined||$25K/$50K|
|Comprehensive||Declined||$200 Deductible||Declined||$250 Deductible|
|Collision||Declined||$200 Deductible||Declined||$250 Deductible|
|Motorcycle Accessory Coverage||Declined||$2,000||Declined||$3,000|
|Actual Cash Value||Declined||Yes||Declined||Yes|
|Cost (Annual Premium)||$140||$1,057||$312||$1,975|
We also compared the cost of coverage for the scooter with insurance quotes for a Harley-Davidson motorcycle and found the motorcycle’s coverage costs much more. The policy for the exact same rider who owned the Harley-Davidson Street Glide was quoted at $3,881 by GEICO and $3,662 by Progressive.
Getting Moped and Scooter Insurance Quotes
Gathering insurance quotes for a moped or scooter is not difficult. Since most carriers cover the vehicles under their motorcycle insurance policies, shoppers can begin the process online as if they were insuring a motorcycle. The only difference will be, instead of choosing a motorcycle manufacturer and bike, you'll choose the appropriate information for your moped or scooter. Some examples of moped and scooter manufacturers include Vespa, Piaggio, Genuine, Honda, Suzuki and Yamaha. Each sells at least one scooter, and some have more than a dozen models.
Some insurers might not have specific moped or scooter manufacturers listed. In that case, there is usually an optional to choose "other" for manufacturer and you will simply have to type in the appropriate information by hand. If that isn't an option, you might have to call the insurance company and get a quote for your moped or scooter over the telephone.
The basic bodily injury and property damage liability coverage required by law in most states is relatively inexpensive. However, adding coverages such as comprehensive and collision insurance can significantly increase the cost of premiums. Other factors, such as your riding experience and the cost of your moped or scooter can impact your rates. A 16-year-old that is recently licensed, for example, will typically have much higher moped insurance rates than an adult that has several years of experience and no accident history. We recommend you compare quotes from several motorcycle insurance companies to make sure you’re getting the best rate.
Defining Mopeds and Scooters
Generally, a moped is defined as any two-wheeled vehicle with a 50 cubic centimeter (cc) engine or smaller and with a top speed of about 30 miles per hour or less. An example of a moped would be a bicycle—with functioning pedals—that also has a small motor. In fact, the term moped is a portmanteau (a blending of words) of "motor" and "pedal". However, a vehicle without pedals might still qualify as a moped. Each state’s department of motor vehicles defines mopeds and scooters a little differently, even though people frequently use the terms interchangeably. Vehicles commonly referred to as motorbikes and motor scooters also might fall under the category of moped or scooter in your state, so it’s good to confirm the definition and regulation before riding.
A scooter is typically a vehicle that is more powerful than a moped but not nearly as powerful as most motorcycles. They often don’t have pedals, but they have smaller engines than motorcycles, and riders can frequently place both feet flat in front of themselves while driving. Any vehicle like a moped that can exceed the top speed for them, as defined by local laws, often qualifies as a scooter. For example, a Vespa is often actually a scooter, not a moped. The manufacturer’s popular scooters all have a top a speed of at least 40 miles per hour. Some can reach speeds of 80 miles per hour or higher.
Scooters generally have engines between 50cc and 250cc. That’s why their top speeds aren’t as high as motorcycles and they are frequently prohibited from driving on the highway. A motorcycle engine might have 250cc, or well above 2,000cc. Keep in mind that these are typical definitions; in some states a scooter has a lower maximum speed than a moped. And in some cases your vehicle may be defined as a motorcycle if it has an engine of 50cc or greater.
Renting a Moped or Scooter
You should not rent a moped or scooter unless you are properly licensed to operate it. Whether you are in the U.S. or abroad, renters of any vehicle (including mopeds and scooters) are typically required to abide by local license laws.
Anyone planning on renting a moped or scooter needs to research local laws to determine if they meet the requirements. It might be tempting while on a trip, but you shouldn’t rent a moped or scooter from a business that doesn’t require you to be properly licensed. Remember that no matter what forms you sign, an insurance company will not cover you, or the rented moped or scooter, if you are breaking the law.
It’s important in the U.S. to research state laws when traveling, too. You might have noticed in the table above that Class C mopeds in the state of New York don’t require owners to have insurance. However, a footnote for the same table states that anyone renting a Class C vehicle in New York must insure it (through the rental company, like you can when renting a car). Most rental companies will offer temporary moped or scooter rental insurance if it’s required in the state. You should also ask your existing insurer, if you already have motorcycle or moped insurance, if they’ll extend coverage to the rental.