Florida has some of the highest rates of motorcycle ownership and use in the nation, largely because of its warm, sunny weather and large population. Florida also has some of the most unique motorcycle insurance laws in the US – so newcomers to the state can’t just assume the rules will be basically the same as in the state they just came from.
Here are the main facts that you need to know if you are going to be riding a motorcycle in The Sunshine State:
1. Motorcycle Insurance Is Not Required in Florida (But Is Highly Recommended!)
The first fact that may surprise you is that, in Florida, motorcyclists are not required to purchase a motorcycle insurance policy. In many other states, they would be.
Given the high risk of motorcycle accidents and the frequency of severe injuries in such accidents, however, it would be wise to buy motorcycle insurance regardless.
Florida state law does, of course, require auto insurance for four-wheeled vehicles, but it treats two-wheelers differently.
2. You Can Face Penalties For Not Being Insured If You Get Into an Accident
Oddly enough, although you aren’t required to purchase motorcycle insurance, you could face severe penalties for being uninsured if you get into an accident while riding your motorcycle.
If you are at-fault in an accident and have no liability coverage to pay for the other driver’s expenses, then you could lose your right to drive in the state of Florida, have your motorcycle registration revoked, and have to buy a liability (injury and property damage) policy for the next 3 years.
3. De Facto, You Need to Have a Liability Insurance Policy of Some Kind
So you basically have to have a bodily injury liability policy in place as well as property damage liability coverage. It is possible to do this through your health insurance or some other way, but the most convenient and most effective method is simply to buy a motorcycle insurance policy.
Generally, you need to buy a 10-20-10 policy at a minimum. That means:
- Ten thousand dollars of bodily injury liability for one injured.
- Twenty thousand in bodily injury coverage if two/more are injured.
- Ten thousand dollars in property damage liability coverage.
4. The No-fault System Does Not Apply to Motorcyclists
As to auto insurance and auto accidents, Florida follows a no-fault system. That means that everyone must carry a personal injury protection (PIP) policy and your insurer pays for the bill regardless of who was at fault in the accident.
But with motorcycles, it’s different. You would have to prove who was at fault in a bike-on-car or bike-on-bike accident, for example, in order to obtain compensation.
This makes it especially important for bikers in Florida to include uninsured and underinsured motorist protection as a part of their motorcycle insurance policy. (About one in every four drivers in Florida is estimated to be uninsured!)
5. You Need to Carry Proof of Insurance
If you decide to self-insure, you can obtain a certificate of financial responsibility and a self-insurance certificate from the Florida DMV. You may have to put down a deposit as well. This is not very common, however, since most people opt to buy motorcycle insurance from a licensed insurer.
If you are ever asked by police to present your proof of insurance while riding your motorcycle, you should be able to show him or her your paper insurance card from your insurer. You can also present a digital card or a picture of your insurance card – or even just your insurance data from the insurer’s website on your smartphone.
How to Save Money On Motorcycle Insurance
It’s a big risk to go without motorcycle insurance – a risk most riders don’t want to take. But how can you get an affordable policy that meets all of your needs?
Here are some things to look for when shopping around for a new motorcycle insurance plan:
- At least the minimum 10-20-10 for liability coverage. But it may be wise to purchase additional coverage, so be sure to compare rates.
- Uninsured motorist coverage as an add-on that won’t raise your monthly premiums by a significant amount.
- Medical payments coverage for help with your own medical expenses in the event of an injury.
- Comprehensive and collision coverage if you want to protect your investment in your motorcycle.
- Accessories coverage and coverage for parts you have added to or modified on your bike.
- The ability to buy a seasonal policy if you only ride your motorcycle part of the year and/or to buy a storage-only policy during the off-season.
- Look for special riders that cover you during a road trip in case your bike breaks down out-of-town.
- Ask about discounts based on your safety training, a good driving record, where you live and bike, the type of bike you drive, a good credit score, and more.
To learn more about how motorcycle insurance works in the state of Florida and how you can custom-build your policy at an affordable rate, contact the experienced insurance agents at Flagler County Insurance Agency today!