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  • Motorcycle Insurance Minimum Requirements in Massachusetts

    To legally ride a motorcycle owned or leased in Massachusetts, you must maintain a minimum amount of liability insurance coverage. Before you can ride on public ways the state requires you to be able to take financial responsibility in the event of an accident.

    Ways to Establish Financial Responsibility

    Maintaining liability insurance is the only way in this state that you can prove you could financially cover property damage or injury costs. You can easily purchase a policy with the minimum levels of motor vehicle insurance through an authorized Massachusetts insurance agent.

    Two-Wheeled Vehicles Defined

    The Massachusetts Registrar of Motor Vehicles (RMV) regulates all motorcycles, motorized bicycles, and motorized scooters. The following definitions should help when it comes to categorizing, but if you are still uncertain which one your bike falls under or whether you should specifically purchase a motorcycle insurance policy, contact the RMV at (857) 368-8000 or (800) 858-3926.

    For a definition of motorcycles, motorized bicycles, and motorized scooters, read this guide.

    Massachusetts Motorcycle Insurance Requirements

    The state minimums for Massachusetts motorcycle riders include:

    • Bodily injury to others―Minimum $20,000 per person, $40,000 per accident
    • Damage to someone else’s property―Minimum $5,000 for property damage

    To find the best insurance for you, start by researching the various types of coverage; getting the best rate will be easier if you are familiar with all the options out there. And, figure out how much you would like to protect your assets. If they have a high value, you might consider purchasing more coverage than what the state requires to fulfill its financial responsibility law.

    No-Fault Insurance

    Massachusetts is a "no-fault" state. This means that car owner's must have personal injury protection (PIP) as part of their insurance policy. Motorcycles are exempt from this insurance.

    PIP is not required as part of your motorcycle insurance policy.

    Safe Driver Insurance Plan

    Massachusetts does not require providers to develop their own merit rating plan if they prefer to adopt the existing Safe Driver Insurance Plan instead. Under this plan, they can reward lower premiums to drivers with clean driving records, and they can increase premiums for those who have received traffic violations or have been involved in an at-fault accident (see the last section of this page).

    For more info on this plan, visit the Merit Rating Board online or call (857) 368-8100.

    How Coverage Affects Helmet Requirements

    Not all states require a helmet, sometimes depending on how much insurance coverage you purchase. But that is not so in Massachusetts. Individuals must wear helmets approved by the United States Department of Transportation (US DOT) when operating a motorcycle, motorized bicycle, or motorized scooter.

    Proof of Insurance and Financial Responsibility

    When you settle on a motorcycle insurance policy, your insurance provider will give you proof of insurance. If it is a newly acquired bike, you will need to have the provider fill out, stamp, and sign an RMV-1 form (application) when you apply for registration.

    This proof provided by the insurance company will display the names of the insurer and the insured, as well as:

    • The effective and expiration dates of coverage.
    • A description of your motorcycle, including the identification number.
    • The limits of liability (or a document stating that your policy fulfills Massachusetts’s minimum liability insurance requirement).

    Be sure you have the proof of insurance with the vehicle at all times. If you a peace officer pulls you over or if you are involved in an accident, you will need to show proof of financial responsibility.

    Penalties for Failure to Maintain Financial Responsibility

    Do not allow your insurance coverage to lapse or get caught with no proof of insurance. If you do, you could face a traffic citation. With the current managed-competition system, the accumulation of traffic violations on your record could mean an increase on you insurance premium. Your provider will adjust how much pay for a motorcycle policy depending on:

    • Your driving record.
    • The number and severity of at-fault accidents you were involved in (see below).
    • Your traffic violations.

    At-Fault Standards

    The state requires all Massachusetts insurance providers to report at-fault accidents and out-of-state driving records to the Merit Rating Board (the state agency that maintains driving records). If you would like more info on how this agency works and the surchargeable incidents it deals with, see the Driver Manual or visit the MRB online.

    The state’s at-fault standards include:

    • You collide with a lawfully or an unlawfully parked vehicle.
    • You rear-end another vehicle.
    • You have an out-of-lane collision.
    • You fail to signal.
    • You fail to proceed with due caution from a traffic control signal or sign.
    • You have a collision on the wrong side of the road.
    • You operate your motorcycle in the wrong direction.
    • You collide at an uncontrolled intersection.
    • You collide while backing.
    • You collide while making a left turn or a U-turn across the travel path of a vehicle traveling in the same or opposite direction.
    • You collide while leaving or exiting a parked position, a parking lot, an alley or a driveway.
    • You have a single-vehicle collision.
    • You fail to obey driving rules and regulations.
    • You are involved in an unattended vehicle collision.
    • You collide while merging onto a highway or into a rotary.
    • You are a noncontact operator who causes a collision.
    • You fail to yield right-of-way to emergency vehicles when required by law.
    • You collide at a "T" intersection that you entered from a side road.

    For more info on motorcycle insurance coverage, consult the state’s Division of Insurance Consumer Service Unit by phone at (617) 521-7777.

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