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Motorcycle Insurance Minimum Requirements in Vermont

Vermont residents who hold a motorcycle license to operate their bikes must be able to take financial responsibility should an accident occur. That means you must be able to prove you could cover the cost of damages (either to property or people) if you have any part in an accident.

Most riders find it easier to fulfill this financial responsibility law by purchasing motorcycle insurance. But the state does offer you a couple more options.

Ways to Establish Financial Responsibility

As stated above, liability insurance policies purchased through a licensed provider is the choice many riders go with. But here are all the ways you can establish financial responsibility:

  • Purchase a motorcycle liability policy.
  • Purchase a surety bond in the same amounts you see in the section below titled "Vermont Insurance Requirements for Motorcycles."
  • Prove you are self-insured in the amount of $115,000. You must file this with the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles.

Two-Wheeled Vehicles Defined

If you ride a motorcycle or a moped you are subject to all state laws that regulate motor vehicles. There is a difference between these two types of bikes, and that could mean a difference in what you'll pay for insurance.

Read the following to determine whether you ride a motorcycle or a moped, or for even better clarification, see the motorcycle manual.

  • Motorcycle―A motor-driven vehicle that:
    • Travels with no more than 3 wheels on the ground.
    • Has a seat or a saddle for the rider
    • Is not a moped, golf cart, track-driven vehicle, tractor or a vehicle that contains its operator and passengers inside an enclosed cab.
  • Moped―A motor-driven cycle that has:
    • 2 to 3 wheels.
    • A direct or automatic power-drive system (the operator should not have to clutch or shift after the drive system is engaged).
    • Foot pedals for propulsion.
    • A power source that has a max of 2 brake hp and a max piston (or rotor) displacement of 50 cubic centimeters (cc) if a combustion engine is used. This can propel the cycle not more than 30 MPH on a flat surface.

If you need further information about whether your vehicle requires registration and insurance, contact the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) at (802) 828-2000 or the state's Department of Financial Regulation at (802) 828-3301.

Vermont Insurance Requirements for Motorcycles

To comply with Vermont's motorcycle insurance laws, you must have liability insurance for your bike.

Your motorcycle insurance policy must include the following minimum coverage limits:

  • $25,000 for injury/death to any one person
  • $50,000 for injuries/deaths for two or more people
  • $10,000 for damages to property in any one accident

At the very least you will need to purchase the minimums stated above to fulfill Vermont's financial responsibility law. But if you have other assets you would like to protect, you might consider purchasing more coverage. Research the various types of coverage before you make your decision.

After you read up on what's out there, it's to your advantage to shop around for a competitive rate and get multiple motorcycle insurance quotes. With so many providers that want your business, it should not be hard to get a motorcycle policy that suits your needs.

How Coverage Affects Helmet Requirements

Not all states require a helmet, sometimes depending on your coverage. But in Vermont, that is just not the case.

Regardless of the amount of motorcycle insurance coverage a rider carries, any person who operates (or rides as a passenger) on state highways must wear a helmet. More specifically riders and passengers must wear “head protective headgear reflectorized in part and of a type approved by the Commissioner." Note that this helmet must also be equipped with a neck strap or a chinstrap.

Approved motorcycle protective headgear meets the specifications set out by the Motorcycle, Scooter, and Allied Trades Association, the America Standards Association Inc., Z90.1, or the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, 218. Be sure when you are helmet shopping that you ask whether the helmet you wish to purchase is Commissioner-approved.

Proof of Insurance and Financial Responsibility

Once you purchase a motorcycle insurance policy through an insurance company authorized to business in Vermont, it will give you proof of insurance; at the very least the provider will give you an insurance identification card.

This company should also immediately file proof with the Commissioner. It will do so either using a certificate or any computer-generated means acceptable to the Commissioner. Double check that your proof gets filed.

You will want to keep your motorcycle insurance identification card on the bike (or on you) at all times. You will need it:

  • During the registration process.
  • During any motorcycle inspections.
  • In the event of an accident.
  • In case you get pulled over by a law enforcement officer. (You have 15 days to provide the officer with proof if you don't have it on you when you get stopped.)

The state requires these cards to include:

  • The name of your insurance carrier.
  • The effective and expiration dates of coverage.
  • Your name, as the insured.
  • Your motorcycle's description, including the identification number.
  • The limits of liability (or a statement that your policy covers the minimum liability insurance required by VT law).

The specifics regarding surety bonds can get tricky, so to find out more on establishing financial responsibility and submitting proof using one of these, consult the state site.

Penalties for Failure to Maintain Financial Responsibility

Having no proof of motorcycle insurance just won't work in Vermont. When you go to the DMV to register your bike, you must show proof of insurance. If allow your coverage to lapse after you have submitted proof to the state, you could be issued a civil traffic citation along with:

  • A fine.
  • Added points on your driving record (against your driving privileges or license).
  • The requirement to file financial responsibility insurance with the VT DMV (read the next section for more info).

If you fail to maintain financial responsibility (and you get caught), you could lose your license over:

  • Being involved in or fleeing a collision.
  • Riding under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Riding so recklessly that you kill another person.
  • Riding under a suspended license.

Financial Responsibility Insurance

Financial responsibility insurance covers you (the individual) rather than your bike or vehicle. With this type of coverage, you are covered when operating any vehicle regardless of whether you own it.

If the state declares you must maintain this type of insurance, you will have to provide proof to the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles. You will also have to maintain coverage (and filing) for a minimum of three years. Allowing it to lapse will cause you to get your motorcycle license and riding privileges suspended.

Additionally, you will not be able to reinstate your license until you have once again filed valid financial responsibility coverage with the Commissioner.

When it comes to filing financial responsibility motorcycle insurance, the Commissioner only accepts certain documents―an SR-22 certificate being one of them. You must obtain the SR-22 certificate from your insurance company, not your insurance agent.

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