Is Motorcycle Insurance Required in Florida?
Do I Need Motorcycle Insurance in Florida?
- Florida is unique in the United States in that Florida motorcycle laws don’t require that you purchase motorcycle insurance to register and ride your motorcycle. But it’s important that you understand that doing so leaves you in financial jeopardy in the event of an accident.
- As a Florida motorcycle accident lawyer, I have written this article to help:
- eliminate the confusion around Florida’s motorcycle insurance and registration requirements
- make you aware of the risks without of riding without insurance
- and advise you on how to protect yourself and your ability to make an injury claim in the event you are injured in an accident, whether or not you were partially or fully at fault.
What Insurance Do I need to Register a Motorcycle in Florida?
- You don’t have to have any insurance to register a motorcycle in Florida. But you do have to have motorcycle insurance or proof of financial responsibility to show if you’re ever in an accident or pulled over. It might be tempting to ride without insurance, but we don’t recommend it for several reasons, primarily because if you get into an accident without insurance, you may have no money to pay for your medical care.
Vehicle vs. Motorcycle Insurance Requirements in Florida
It’s important to understand that vehicle insurance you may already have for your car or truck does not carry over to your motorcycle. The insurance requirements for motorcycles are different than for other vehicles.
Does Florida PIP cover Motorcycles?
Personal Injury Protection coverage (PIP) is not required in Florida for motorcycles, and you can’t even get real PIP coverage for a motorcycle. The Florida PIP law only applies to vehicles with four or more wheels. Some insurers offer a PIP type coverage for motorcycles, but it isn’t governed by the Florida PIP law, only by the insurance contract.
- Personal Injury Protection (PIP): The most important thing to remember when deciding about motorcycle insurance is that you are not covered at all under any PIP coverage you may have from your auto insurance.
- PIP is coverage that Florida requires for vehicles with four or more wheels. It is “no-fault” coverage, which means that your own PIP coverage pays you regardless of who was at fault for the accident. If you were at fault, your PIP pays you, or if the other person was at fault, your PIP also pays you.
- Florida PIP coverage covers the first $10,000 of your damages for medical bills, lost wages, or death benefits. It covers 80% of the medical bills and 60% of lost wages up to the $10,000 ceiling.
- Florida PIP only covers you for $10,000 if you have an “emergency medical condition” diagnosed by a qualified medical practitioner within 14 days of the accident. If you’re not diagnosed with an “emergency medical condition” in those 14 days, then PIP will only pay you $2,500.
- Florida motorcycle insurance requirements are somewhat similar to its auto insurance requirements regarding bodily injury liability insurance. In both cases, bodily injury liability insurance is not required if you meet other financial responsibility requirements (see more on this below). However, in practice most people will satisfy these financial responsibility requirements most easily by purchasing bodily injury liability insurance. We highly recommend that you buy as much bodily injury liability insurance and uninsured motorist coverage as you can afford. That’s because when you’re injured in a motorcycle accident, you will most likely face serious injuries and high medical bills. Without sufficient insurance, you might face financial ruin.
- Some insurance companies in Florida may offer a coverage called “PIP” for your motorcycle. However, the Florida PIP law does not apply to motorcycles, so any so-called “PIP” coverage for your motorcycle would be governed solely by the contract you sign. Most insurers probably don’t even offer something called “PIP” for your motorcycle, but they probably do offer Medical Payments coverage (MedPay). The confusion comes from the fact that MedPay and PIP are both “no-fault” types of coverage, so they are similar. MedPay for your motorcycle is a contractual coverage that will pay for your medical expenses without regard to who was at fault in causing the accident. However, one major difference between PIP and MedPay is that MedPay doesn’t reimburse you for lost wages at all.
Does the Florida No Fault Law Apply to Motorcycles?
- Florida’s No-Fault Law doesn’t apply in the event of a motorcycle accident. Florida’s No-Fault Law is just another name for the law that requires you to have PIP coverage for a vehicle with four or more wheels. So, the explanation above about PIP coverage is the same as for No-Fault coverage. Florida’s No-Fault law does not apply to motorcycles.
- So, if you’re in a motorcycle accident in Florida, you won’t have any No-Fault PIP coverage to rely on to pay some of your bills. You will have to file a claim or suit against the at-fault party to recover damages, and possibly against your own uninsured/underinsured (UM/UIM) coverage if the at-fault party doesn’t have sufficient coverage:
- If you’re not at fault – seek to recover against the at-fault party or your own uninsured motorist coverage. Use your MedPay coverage.
- If you were at fault – seek coverage under your MedPay.
3 Ways to Provide Proof of Financial Responsibility as a Motorcycle Rider in Florida
You don’t have to carry insurance to register your motorcycle in Florida. However, Florida does have a financial responsibility law for motorcycle riders. If you’re ever in an accident while riding your bike, you will have to prove you meet one of the three options for financial responsibility outlined in Florida Statutes 324.031. If you can’t, you will face penalties.
1. Proof of Liability Insurance
- The smartest option is to purchase liability insurance from a licenses Florida insurance carrier. This is the option most people will choose. If you purchase bodily injury liability insurance this way, you also will then be able to purchase uninsured motorist coverage, which is crucial to protected yourself from other people’s bad driving.
- Liability insurance will cover any damage caused by your fault to others. It is broken down into damage to property and damage to the body of others.
- Shop around and speak with various insurers to get the best rates.
- See below where we recommend what coverage to purchase.
2. Self-Insurance Certificate
- If you can prove to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) that you have sufficient personal financial resources to quality as “self-insured,” then you can get a self-insurance certificate from them. Basically, this means that you have enough money to pay someone else if you injure them in an accident. Florida Statutes 324.171 lays out the financial requirements for this. The main requirement is that you have $40,000 in net unencumbered assets.
- If you want to go with this option, then you should contact the FLHSMV to find out about their most current application procedure.
- If you decide to go with this option, and you cause an accident, the injured party will seek to recover their damages directly from your assets. This puts you in a vulnerable position. We recommend that you buy insurance instead.
3. Financial Responsibility Certificate
- The FLHSMV has a second way for you to get a self-insurance certificate.
- You used to be able to get a surety bond through the FLHSMV after depositing a certain sum to meet this requirement. However, the Florida Legislature eliminated this option in 2013.
- Now, this has been replaced by the option of getting a self-insurance certificate from the FLHSMV by submitting proof of a certificate of deposit of $30,000 and power of attorney over that deposit issued to the FLHSMV. See Florida Statutes 324.161 for more on this option.
Penalties for Not Being Able to Prove Financial Responsibility in FL
- Failure to have the necessary proof of financial responsibility can leave you facing stiff penalties, or even having your motorcycle license revoked entirely. Since you don’t have to provide proof of financial responsibility to register your bike, you might be tempted to not meet the requirements. But if you’re in an accident or get pulled over, you will be asked to show proof. And if you can’t, you will likely be penalized in the following ways.
- Your driving privileges may be suspended entirely
- Your motorcycle registration and tag may be suspended
- You may be required to purchase liability coverage for up to three years
- If you caused damage to the property or person of another, they may seek damages from your assets and get a civil judgment against you
What Kind of Motorcycle Insurance Should I Get in Florida?
You should purchase the most motorcycle insurance that you can afford. One trip to the emergency room can easily run over $10,000. As a motorcyclist, you are much more vulnerable to injury than people in cars, SUVs and trucks. You need uninsured motorist coverage and MedPay to cover your injuries if someone else causes a wreck that injures you.
Minimum Motorcycle Insurance Coverage
This is the minimum coverage you need if you plan to meet the financial responsibility law by purchasing insurance. Note, this is not enough coverage to properly protect you or others for the losses that come with most motorcycle accidents.
- $10,000 bodily injury liability for one person.
- $20,000 bodily injury liability for two or more persons.
- $10,000 property damage liability per wreck.
Uninsured Motorist Coverage
- This kind of insurance coverage is critical! It’s not required by Florida law, but that doesn’t mean you don’t need it. The sad fact is that Florida insurance requirements are far too low, and most people don’t have enough coverage to protect others they hurt or themselves.
- You can only purchase Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UM/UIM) if you also purchase bodily injury liability coverage (BI). The maximum amount of UM you can purchase is limited by how much BI you purchase.
- Uninsured motorist coverage pays you if someone else causes the accident and they don’t have enough bodily injury liability coverage to compensate you for your losses. Florida’s minimum BI coverage is only $10,000. So if someone else causes an accident that injures you, they are likely to only have $10,000 of insurance to pay you. In addition, over 25% of drivers on Florida’s roads at any time are completely uninsured. That’s why you need uninsured/undersinsured coverage. It will step into the shoes of the at-fault party and pay you for your injuries and loss.
- We recommend you get as much UM as you can afford. Get at least $100,000 of coverage. Shop around. You may be surprised to find that additional coverage doesn’t cost that much more.
Bodily Injury Liability Insurance
- The easiest and safest way to meet Florida’s financial responsibility requirement is by purchasing bodily injury liability insurance. This pays other people that are injured if you’re at fault in causing the accident.
- You should get as much of this coverage as you can afford. An important reason is that you can only get uninsured motorist coverage up to the amount of bodily injury coverage that you purchase. And you want as much UM coverage as possible.
Medical Payments (MedPay) Coverage
- MedPay coverage works a lot like PIP coverage. It pays for your medical bills caused by an accident without caring who caused the accident.
- This is useful because medical bills happen right after the accident, and it takes time to prove who caused an accident and to get the proper at-fault coverage to pay. In the meantime, MedPay will be covering your medical bills in a much more direct manner.
- You should probably get at least $10,000 of MedPay with a low deductible. Get more if you can afford it, possibly up to $20,000. A minimum of $10,000 of MedPay is required if you ride without a helmet.
Property Damage Liability Insurance
- You’re required to have $10,000 of property damage liability coverage under the financial responsibility law if you meet its requirements with private insurance. This coverage will pay the other person for damage to their vehicle if you’re at fault.
- If the other person is at fault, then you make a claim on their property damage coverage for damage to your motorcycle. This can include making a claim for diminished value to your bike.
- If you have an expensive bike, you should consider getting collision coverage. This is coverage that pays for repair or replacement value of your bike regardless of whether or not you were at fault.
- This is useful because the other person may only have the minimum requirement of $10,000 of property damage coverage. Your own collision coverage will step in to pay off the remaining damages. It also should pay faster than the other party’s property damage coverage and may include a rental vehicle in the meantime.
How much Insurance do I need if I don’t wear a Helmet?
The Florida Helmet Law adds an additional insurance requirement if you choose not to wear a helmet when you ride. Without a helmet, you are required to have at least $10,000 of coverage that covers your injuries. This type of coverage is typically called Medical Payments or MedPay coverage. It’s beneficial to have this type of coverage regardless of whether or not you ride without a helmet. But if you ride without a helmet, it is required.
What to Do in the Event of a Motorcycle Accident
Contact a personal injury lawyer to discuss your options. As a Gainesville motorcycle accident attorney serving clients throughout the state of Florida, we can help you:
- Understand your rights and options for seeking compensation.
- Navigate insurance coverage and make all possible insurance claims on your behalf.
- Help you find appropriate medical providers and protect you from bills before you get your settlement money.
- Make sense of your hospital and doctor bills, and negotiate them down when they are unreasonable.
- Recover full compensation under the law – including medical bills, lost wages, damage to your motorcycle, pain and suffering, and future damages
- Put your mind at ease and allow you to focus on your recovery. We do the work so you don’t have to worry about your motorcycle injury settlement.
To get started, simply submit a free online case evaluation.