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Moped and Scooter Insurance

Moped and Scooter Insurance

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Almost all insurance companies 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, but these laws do not always align with a state’s motorcycle laws. You should always make sure you have the right amount of coverage 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.

What moped and scooter insurance covers

Most of the time, insurance companies use the same policy type to insure mopeds and scooters as they do for regular motorcycles. Policies specifically designed for mopeds or scooters are fairly rare.

Almost every motorcycle insurance policy (which typically covers both mopeds and scooters) 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.

Scooter and moped insurance coverages

  • Usually legally required:
    • Liability coverage - bodily injury
    • Liability coverage - property damage
  • Optional coverages:
    • Uninsured/underinsured motorist (sometimes required)
    • Medical payments (sometimes required)
    • Collision coverage
    • Comprehensive coverage
    • Roadside assistance
    • Trip interruption

Other coverage 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 cases, riders are required to have the same amount of insurance for their scooters and mopeds as for a regular motorcycle.

In most states, moped and scooter owners are required to have bodily injury and property damage liability coverage, just like motorcycle owners. However, 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 QualificationClass A (Over 30-40 mph)Class B (Over 20-30 mph)Class C (20 mph or less)
InsuranceRequiredRequiredRecommended
Driver’s license / permitM/MJAny license classAny license class
RegistrationRequiredRequiredRequired
Headlight on when operatingRequiredRequiredRequired
Helmet and eye protectionRequiredRequiredRecommended
May operate onAny traffic laneRight-hand lane or shoulder only*Right-hand lane or shoulder only*
InspectionRequiredRecommendedRecommended
TitleNot requiredNot requiredNot required
*Except when making a left turn.

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 levels 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 primarily because mopeds and scooters have smaller engines, so they can't travel as fast, limiting the amount of damage they can do to other people or personal property.

To give an idea of how cheap (or how expensive) insuring these vehicles can be, we compared two scooter insurance policies from 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: A barebones scooter insurance policy is six times cheaper than a full coverage one: the cheap policy with only basic coverage costs only $312 per year, while a policy with lots of protection can cost nearly $2,000 annually.

Type of coverageBasic coverageFull coverage
Annual premium$312$1,975
Bodily injury liability limit$25K/$50K$100K/$300K
Property damage liability Limit$10K$50K
Pedestrian PIP$25K$50K
Residual medical payments Limit$2,500
Uninsured motorist limits$25K/$50K
Comprehensive$250 Deductible
Collision$250 Deductible
Motorcycle accessory coverage$3,000
Roadside assistanceAccepted
Actual cash valueYes

We also compared the cost of coverage for the scooter with insurance quotes for a Harley-Davidson motorcycle and found that 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

Since most carriers cover scooters and mopeds under their motorcycle insurance policies, shoppers can compare quotes online, just as if they were insuring a motorcycle.

Gathering insurance quotes for a moped or scooter is not difficult. 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 option 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 motorcycle 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.

Defining mopeds and scooters

Every state has its own definition of what constitutes a legal scooter or moped, but here are a few general guidelines. Check with your state's DMV for exact requirements.

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. 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.

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 combination of the words "motor" and "pedal". However, a vehicle without pedals might still qualify as a moped.

A scooter is typically a vehicle that is more powerful than a moped but not as powerful as a typical motorcycle. They usually don’t have pedals, 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 most often categorized as a scooter, not a moped. The manufacturer’s popular scooters all have top speeds of at least 40 miles per hour. Some can reach speeds of 80 miles per hour or higher, making them suitable for highway driving.

Scooters generally have engine sizes between 50 cc and 250 cc, which produce slower top speeds. A motorcycle engine might have 250 cc, or well above 2,000 cc. 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

Anyone planning on renting a moped or scooter needs to research local laws to determine if they meet the proper license 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. Mopeds in the state of New York don’t require owners to have insurance. However, 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.

Chris Moon

Chris is a Product Manager for ValuePenguin with years of experience in addressing critical questions about mortgages and homeowners insurance. He spends his time evaluating insurance providers and policy features to understand where consumers might find the most cost-effective coverage. Chris has contributed insights to the New York Times and many other publications.

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.