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Insurance Requirements When Registering a Motorcycle

Date posted: 06/22/2012

by Alicia Sparks on
in Insurance

12771 Insurance Requirements When Registering a Motorcycle

Every state requires vehicle owners to have some sort of financial responsibility for their vehicles.

Most commonly, this responsibility comes in the form of a traditional auto insurance policy, though some states allow drivers other options such as:

  • Self-insurance.
  • Posting bonds.
  • Making cash deposits.

Regardless of the form, no one can complete a vehicle registration without proof of insurance, and the same is true for motorcycle registration.

Meet Your State’s Minimum Insurance Requirements

Usually, states require motorcycle riders to purchase the same minimum amount of insurance coverage (or have the same amount of coverage in self-insurance, bonds, or cash deposits) as required for regular passenger vehicles.

So, in West Virginia, riders must have liability policies for their motorcycles that provide:

  • $20,000 for one accident.
  • $40,000 for one accident, two or more injuries.
  • $10,000 for property damage.

Similarly, Tennessee riders must have a minimum liability insurance policy, or they must post a cash deposit or bond.

Have a Scooter, Moped, or Motorbike?

Some states require insurance for all of these types of bikes; others don’t.

You’ll want to contact your local DMV or motor vehicle registration agency, but a general rule of thumb is you must insure any motorcycle, scooter, moped, or motorbike that requires registration.

Motorcycle Registration and Insurance Tips

  • Buy your motorcycle insurance first. Some states might offer a grace period of sorts, but in general you must show proof of financial responsibility in order to complete the motorcycle registration.
  • Keep proof of insurance with you at all times. Just like with regular passenger vehicles, if law enforcement pulls you over on a motorcycle and you can’t produce an insurance card or binder, he or she will cite you.
  • Consider completing a state-approved motorcycle safety course. Most states have teamed up with the Motorcycle Safety Foundation and some insurance providers give discounts to riders who complete a course.

What kind of insurance or financial responsibility do you have for your motorcycle?

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About Alicia Sparks

Alicia Sparks is a freelance writer and editor with a passion for animal rights, mental health advocacy, and civil liberties. She loves yoga, tolerates running, attempts cooking, treats DMB concerts as national holidays, and dreams of the day when Timothy Olyphant and Kevin Spacey battle for her love. Check her out at More articles by Alicia Sparks

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