Do You Need Motorcycle Insurance? How Much Is Required and How Much Should You Buy?
Though motorcycle insurance typically costs less than auto insurance, it can still be challenging to navigate your options, figure out how much coverage you need, and find a plan that combines affordability with quality coverage. Whether you’re looking to buy a comprehensive policy or to meet your state’s minimum coverage requirements, MoneyGeek gathered the information you need to choose the best motorcycle insurance plan for you.
Buy as much liability coverage as possible. We recommend a minimum of 50/100/25, but 100/300/100 is better if you can afford it.
Keep in mind that riders who have a loan on their motorcycles must carry full coverage insurance.
Remember that each state has its own requirements for motorcycle insurance. Some mandate multiple types of insurance, while others have no legal requirements.
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Do You Need Motorcycle Insurance?
If you own a motorcycle, motorcycle insurance is essential. The majority of states — except Florida — require some form of it. In many cases, riders still paying off their bikes are obligated to have a full coverage plan. Even when it’s not required, minimal coverage could help save you thousands of dollars should you get into an accident.
Typical Motorcycle Insurance Coverages
There are many different options for motorcycle insurance coverage, including:
- Bodily injury and property damage liability: These coverages are included in liability-only and full coverage policies. They help pay for the other driver’s medical bills, emergency aid, lost wages and vehicle damage if you’re at fault in an accident.
- Comprehensive: Comprehensive coverage pays for damages to your motorcycle caused by incidents other than road accidents, such as flooding, fire or theft. This coverage is usually included in a full coverage policy.
- Collision: Collision coverage pays for damages to your motorcycle after an accident, no matter who is at fault. Like comprehensive, this coverage is part of full coverage policies.
- Uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM): If someone else is at fault in an accident, but they’re uninsured or underinsured, UM/UIM coverage helps pay for costs like medical bills and lost wages. Some UM/UIM policies also cover property damage. Twenty states require UM/UIM coverage.
- Personal injury protection (PIP): Like auto PIP insurance, this coverage helps pay for your medical expenses after an accident, regardless of who’s at fault. PIP is required in 14 states.
- Roadside assistance: If you need a tow, run out of fuel, or otherwise require assistance after your motorcycle breaks down, roadside assistance coverage can help. This coverage is included in some policies or can be added for an additional fee.
- Accessories: Most motorcycle insurance includes coverage for accessories, meaning that if your helmet or other motorcycle accessories are damaged in a covered accident, your insurance will pay to repair or replace them.
Full Coverage vs. Liability-Only
There are two basic types of motorcycle insurance policies: full coverage and liability-only. What coverage is best for you depends on your situation.
Like liability car insurance, liability-only motorcycle insurance covers damages you cause in an at-fault accident. If you hit someone and damage their vehicle or cause an injury, liability insurance is what pays for those damages. If you’ve already paid off your motorcycle and can afford to replace it if it’s totaled in an accident, liability-only coverage can be an attractive, low-cost insurance option.
Liability insurance only covers up to the limit of your policy. If you choose low levels of liability coverage, you could still be held responsible for any costs that go above your covered liability. For example, say you choose a policy that only covers $20,000 in property damage, and you hit an expensive car. If it needs $33,000 in repairs, your insurance will only cover the first $20,000 of damages. You’ll be held personally liable for the additional $13,000.
Similar to full coverage auto insurance, full coverage motorcycle insurance includes comprehensive and collision coverage in addition to liability-only coverage. Comprehensive coverage helps pay for repairs if your motorcycle is damaged in an accident not caused by a crash, such as theft, vandalism and falling objects. Collision coverage pays for damages to your bike after a road accident, whether or not you’re at fault.
If you have a loan for your bike or can’t afford to replace it if it’s damaged or stolen, carrying full coverage insurance is essential.
What Does 50/100/25 Coverage Mean?
MoneyGeek recommends purchasing at least 50/100/25 liability coverage. But what do those numbers mean?
- 50 — The first number in your liability coverage is the maximum amount your insurance company will pay for bodily injury claims for each individual harmed if you’re at fault in an accident. In this instance, the 50 represents $50,000 in coverage.
- 100 — The second number is the maximum amount your insurance company will pay for bodily injury claims for a total accident.
- 25 — The third number in your liability coverage is the maximum amount your insurance company pays for property damage claims in an at-fault accident. In this instance, the 25 represents $25,000 in coverage.
How Much Should You Expect to Pay?
When it comes to insurance, the more coverage you need, the more you’ll pay. While full coverage policies tend to cost more than liability-only plans, they increase your coverage dramatically. The additional financial protection could save you money in the long run — especially if you’re in an at-fault accident.
Average Annual Premium for Motorcycle Coverage
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- Driver ProfileLiability-OnlyFull Coverage
Motorcycle Insurance Requirements by State
Motorcycle insurance regulations vary significantly from state to state. For example, motorcycle riders in Arkansas, Delaware and Hawaii must have PIP insurance but are not legally obligated to carry UM/UIM coverage. Connecticut, Illinois and Maine, however, are the exact opposite — UM/UIM is mandatory, and PIP is not. Learn more about specific motorcycle insurance requirements in your state below.
Minimum Motorcycle Insurance Requirements by State
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- StateInsurance RequiredMinimum Liability Limits
- AlabamaBI & PD liability25/50/25
- AlaskaBI & PD liability50/100/25
- ArizonaBI & PD liability25/50/15
- ArkansasBI & PD liability, PIP25/50/25
- CaliforniaBI & PD liability15/30/5
- ColoradoBI & PD liability25/50/15
- ConnecticutBI & PD liability, UM, UIM25/50/25
- DelawareBI & PD liability, PIP25/50/10
- District of ColumbiaBI & PD liability, UM25/50/10
Is motorcycle insurance required? Motorcycle insurance is required in 49 out of 50 states, but each state sets its own minimum coverage levels for bodily injury and personal property protection, as well as additional coverages.
Most states require motorcyclists to buy policies with at least $25,000 in bodily injury protection per person and $50,000 per accident, along with $10,000 in property damage coverage — also known as 25/50/10 coverage. Check the limits for your state to make sure you’re meeting its legal requirements.
Do You Need Motorcycle Insurance in Florida?
Legally, the state of Florida doesn’t require motorcycle insurance for most riders. There are some exceptions to this rule, though. For example, people riding without a helmet must have a minimum of $10,000 in medical benefits coverage.
Just because the law doesn’t require insurance in most cases doesn't mean you don’t need it. You’ll still be held liable for any damage or injuries you cause, so insurance is necessary if you want to protect yourself financially.
Does Washington State Require Motorcycle Insurance?
As of 2019, the state of Washington requires motorcyclists to carry insurance with 25/50/10 minimum liability levels.
Do You Need Motorcycle Insurance in New York?
If you have a motorcycle, the state of New York requires your insurance coverage to be in effect whenever you ride your bike on a public road or highway. Your policy must be from a company licensed to sell insurance in New York State — out-of-state insurance is not acceptable. The minimum required level of coverage is 25/50/10, and wrongful death coverage of $50,000 for a single fatality and $100,000 for multiple fatalities. PIP and UM/UIM insurance are also mandated by law.
What Is California’s Motorcycle Insurance Requirement?
California has minimum liability requirements of 15/30/5 or a surety bond of at least $35,000 for motorcycle riders. If you’re unable to obtain coverage from an insurance provider because you’re considered a “high risk” rider, you can apply for low-cost 10/20/3 coverage through the California Automobile Assigned Risk Plan (CAARP).
Do You Need Motorcycle Coverage in Michigan?
Motorcyclists in Michigan are required to purchase 20/40/10 liability coverage, along with PIP insurance. Much like Florida, the state has additional insurance regulations for motorcycle riders who choose not to wear a helmet, namely securing at least $20,000 in first-party medical benefits.
How Much Motorcycle Insurance Should You Buy?
It’s important to purchase enough insurance to protect your assets. If you don’t purchase comprehensive and collision coverage, you won’t be protected against theft or damages to your motorcycle. If you only purchase the state minimum level of liability insurance, you may not have enough coverage to pay for all the damages you cause in an at-fault accident. If you’re underinsured, you’ll still be liable for costs beyond what’s covered by your insurance. In a worst-case scenario, your wages could be garnished, or you could lose your home if you’re at fault for an accident.
For most riders, MoneyGeek recommends a minimum of 50/100/25 coverage. However, keep in mind that 100/300/100 is only slightly more expensive and offers significantly more coverage. If you own property or have other assets you want to protect, it may be worth the extra premium to purchase higher levels of liability coverage.
Where Can You Get Motorcycle Insurance and What Do You Need?
Most insurance providers offer motorcycle coverage, giving you many options to choose from when shopping for motorcycle insurance. According to our research, the two best, most affordable companies for motorcycle insurance are Progressive and Dairyland.
Progressive is MoneyGeek’s top choice because they offer affordable premiums and a wide variety of coverage options. They also an extensive selection of discounts, including:
- Advanced quote discount
- Multi-policy discount
- Association member discount
- Motorcycle endorsement discount
- Safety course discount
- Responsible driver discount
- Pay-in-full discount
Dairyland has low rates and excellent customer service. Like Progressive, the company has many discounts available, including discounted rates for mopeds and scooters. Dairyland also offers multiple types of add-on coverage, including:
- Guest passenger coverage
- Medical expense coverage
- Special equipment coverage
- Personal injury protection
- Original manufacturer replacement parts coverage
- Rental reimbursement coverage
- Roadside assistance coverage
Dairyland motorcycle insurance is only available in 42 states, so be sure to check to see if they provide coverage in your area.
What States Require PIP or UM Motorcycle Coverage?
When it comes to motorcycle coverage, each state has its own requirements.
Some states require motorcyclists to carry PIP, including:
- New Jersey
- New York
- North Dakota
Other states require motorcyclists to have UM/UIM motorcycle coverage, including:
- Washington D.C.
- New Jersey
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
Some states are included on both lists, which means you’ll need both PIP and UM/UIM coverage in those states. There are other potential coverages you may be required to purchase as well, like MedPay in Wisconsin. Because regulations vary so drastically, becoming familiar with your state’s minimum requirements is crucial.
Will You Need GAP Motorcycle Coverage?
If your bike were totaled and insurance paid out less for the damages than what you owe on your loan, GAP insurance would step in to cover that difference. While it isn’t required, GAP insurance is a valuable option for some riders. According to the Insurance Information Institute, consider buying GAP insurance if you made less than a 20% down payment on your bike, financed for 60 months or longer or leased your motorcycle.
Frequently Asked Questions About Motorcycle Insurance Needs
Still not sure what motorcycle coverage you need? MoneyGeek compiled some of the most commonly asked questions about motorcycle insurance to help you find the right coverage.
Learn More About Motorcycle Insurance
About the Author
- Florida Highway Safety And Motor Vehicles. "Helmet Exemption." Accessed June 14, 2021.
- Insurance Information Institute. "What is Gap Insurance?." Accessed June 15, 2021.
- Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson. "Insurance Requirements." Accessed June 14, 2021.
- Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson. "Motorcycle Helmet Use In Michigan." Accessed June 14, 2021.
- New York State Department of Motor Vehicles. "Auto Liability Insurance." Accessed June 14, 2021.
- Office of the Insurance Commissioner Washington State. "Washington State’s Mandatory Auto/Motorcycle Insurance Laws." Accessed June 14, 2021.
- State of California Department of Motor Vehicles. "Insurance Requirements." Accessed June 14, 2021.
- State of California Department of Motor Vehicles. "Motorcycle Registrations." Accessed June 14, 2021.