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  • Motorcycle Insurance Minimum Requirements in Pennsylvania

    Motorcycle accidents can leave those involved with staggering expenses. That's why the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) requires motorcycle owners to prove they're capable of handling the possible costs involved by meeting the state's financial responsibility requirements. This is done by having acceptable levels of motorcycle liability insurance, or through self-insurance.

    Ways to Establish Financial Responsibility

    Some states give their residents the chance to prove their financial responsibility in several ways. However, you must comply with the state's regulations through having adequate bodily injury and property damage liability insurance coverage, or by being self-insured.

    To self-insure a vehicle, you must file the appropriate application(Form MV-220), a recent balance sheet and income statement, and $50,000 of security collateral (such as treasury notes or bonds) with PennDOT. Each additional vehicle means an extra $10,000 of collateral.

    Two-Wheeled Vehicles Defined

    If you're confused whether your vehicle qualifies as a motorcycle, you can call PennDOT at 1-800-932-4600 for more information. But, here's how the state classifies some two-wheeled vehicles:

      • Motorcycle―A motor vehicle having a seat or saddle for the use of the rider, and designed to travel with no more than three wheels in contact with the ground.
      • Moped ―A motor-driven cycle equipped with operable pedals, a 1.5-brake horsepower or less, a cylinder capacity of 50 cubic centimeters or less, an automatic transmission, and that can't travel at more than 25 miles per hour. Or, an electric motor-driven cycle equipped with operable pedals and powered by an electric battery.
      • Motor-driven Cycle ―A motorcycle, including a motor scooter, with a five-brake horsepower engine or less.

    Pennsylvania Motorcycle Insurance Requirements

    To meet the state's motorcycle insurance requirements, you must have at least the following amounts and types of coverage:

      • $15,000 of bodily injury protection for injuries or death occurring to one person in an accident.
      • $30,000 of bodily injury protection for injuries or deaths occurring to more than one person in an accident.
      • $5,000 of property damage protection for a single accident.

    While it may be tempting to get by with these levels of insurance, most financial professionals feel doing so is a mistake.

    However, higher levels of protection means higher premiums. You can limit these extra costs, though, by doing your homework. It's easy to comparison shop online (or by phone) and get motorcycle insurance quotes.

    How Coverage Affects Helmet Requirements

    Unlike some states, Pennsylvania doesn't relax its motorcycle insuramce requirements if you wear a helmet when riding. So, helmeted drivers must adhere to the same standards as everyone else.

    Remember, you must wear a helmet unless you're at least 21 and have held your motorcycle license for a minimum of two years, or you've completed a safety course approved by PennDOT or the Motorcycle Safety Foundation.

    Proof of Insurance and Financial Responsibility

    While your insurer must notify PennDOT if you cancel your motorcycle insurance, your new insurer doesn't have to alert PennDOT when you begin coverage with them. So, always be sure to keep your acceptable proof of insurance in your vehicle, such as a copy of your:

      • Insurance identification card issued by your provider.
      • Policy's declaration page.
      • Insurance binder (valid for a maximum of 60 days, after which you'll have to reaffirm your coverage).
      • Pennsylvania Assigned Risk Plan application, signed by your insurance agent.
      • Letter from your carrier confirming your proof of financial responsibility coverage, signed by your insurance agent or insurance company representative.

    Penalties for Failure to Maintain Financial Responsibility

    What if you have no proof of motorcycle insurance due to you not being covered by an active, acceptable liability policy? You could be assessed with the following:

      • $300 fine for driving uninsured.
      • Three-month vehicle registration suspension.
      • Three-month driver's license suspension.

    Plus, your vehicle can't be driven by anyone during its registration suspension.

    If your coverage lapsed for less than 31 days, you can prove to PennDOT that you didn't drive your cycle during this time to avoid a registration suspension.

    Reinstating your license and registration means having to show proof of current motorcycle insurance, and paying at least $50 in fees for both.

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