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Thursday, January 28, 2021

Can Motorcycle Insurance Make You an Easy Rider in Florida?

 By Catherine Powell

One of the reasons so many people move to Florida is due to the warm weather.  You’ll never have to shovel snow in the Sunshine State.  Because the weather is so pleasant, motorcycles can be ridden year-round.  Whether you bring your bike here or are considering purchasing a motorcycle, you should be aware of the laws and insurance coverage that pertains to them.

License Requirements – Anyone operating a vehicle with two or three wheels that is not enclosed and has a motor of 50cc or greater is required to have a motorcycle endorsement on their license.  In order to obtain the endorsement, the rider must have a valid driver’s license or learner’s permit.  They are also required to take an approved rider’s safety course.  Once the course is successfully completed, the graduate is required to visit the DMV to pay a fee to have their license endorsed.

Insurance Requirements – Motorcycle insurance in Florida is NOT required to register a bike.  Before you ride off into the sunset you need to know three facts:

1.      If you decline to purchase liability insurance from a licensed Florida carrier, you will be required to secure a Financial Responsibility Certificate.  This involves posting a surety bond, as well as cash or securities with the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.  The alternative is to obtain a self-insurance certificate from the Bureau of Financial Responsibility.

2.      If you self-insure and are charged with an accident, you are personally responsible to pay for any injuries and/or property damage, including any civil judgments levied against you.

3.      If you are caught driving a motorcycle without the proper coverage, you risk having your driving privileges. registration and license suspended.

How does Florida’s helmet law apply to you? – Since 2000, helmets have not been required for motorcycle riders or their passengers in Florida.  The exception to the rule is that anyone under the age of 21 must wear a helmet at all times.  Any rider or passenger is required to wear eye protection if they decline to wear a helmet.  Additionally, to be exempt from wearing a helmet, both the rider and passenger who are 21 or older must have insurance coverage that provides at least $10,000 bodily injury liability per person, $10,000 property damage liability insurance and $10,000 medical payments coverage, since bikers can’t buy PIP coverage.

In many other states, car, and motorcycle insurance requirements are the same.  This isn’t the case in Florida.  If you drive a car in Florida, your coverage includes Personal Injury Protection (PIP) provides medical coverage and pays for lost wages regardless of who is at fault.  However, PIP laws don’t apply to motorcyclists. That means the onus is on every motorcycle owner to either purchase coverage or face the consequences should an at-fault accident occur.  Bear in mind that an individual who is harmed by a motorcycle doesn’t need to have a permanent injury to sue for pain and suffering, unlike those who suffer similar injuries in a car accident in Florida.

What Kind of Coverage is Available for Motorcycles?

1.      Basic Coverage – As I mentioned earlier, a biker can opt to carry as little as $10,000 bodily injury liability per person, $10,000 property damage liability insurance, and $10,000 medical payments coverage to have all the privileges of ridership in Florida. However, if you should ever be involved in an at-fault motorcycle accident, you’ll find that carrying minimal coverage can cost you a lot more than you thought.  Below are some options you might like to consider.

2.      Bodily Injury & Property Damage Liability Coverage –In the event that you are involved in an at-fault accident, you’ll quickly discover that the standard $10,000/$10,000/$10,000 policy can be woefully inadequate to cover damages to other vehicles, drivers, and passengers involved in an accident.  Additionally, you’d find yourself on the hook for any legal fees or judgments against you in court.  The solution is to speak to your insurance agent to determine how much liability coverage you should carry to cover your assets.

3.      Collision & Comprehensive Coverage – While this coverage is optional. if you bought your bike with cash, you may need it if it’s stolen or it is damaged or destroyed by a collision, fire, or an act of God.  If your bike is especially valuable, ask your agent to give you a quote for Full Replacement Cost. This way if it is ever damaged or destroyed in an accident, you can rest assured that it will either be repaired to the condition it was in prior to the wreck, or it will be replaced with a bike of similar value.

4.      Under and Uninsured Motorist Coverage – Do you lose sleep at night wondering what would happen if you were struck by a vehicle owned by a driver who had little or no insurance? If such a thing were to happen to you, how would you be able to pay for medical expenses related to someone else’s recklessness?  If you opt for UM/UIM coverage you can rest assured that you will be covered for expenses related to injuries caused to you and your passengers by a driver with inadequate or nonexistent auto insurance coverage.

5.      Small Accident Forgiveness Coverage – Some insurers offer an accident forgiveness policy that promises not to increase your rates for at-fault accidents that cost them a small amount of money.  While you’ll still be required to pay a deductible, this option is a popular one. 

6.      Large Accident Forgiveness – Some carriers go beyond small accident forgiveness by offering to pay for motorcycle accidents of any size under certain conditions.  To qualify, a motorcyclist must have several years of riding without having a traffic citation or accident.

7.      Medical Payments Coverage – Since PIP coverage doesn’t apply to motorcycles, you may wish to look into obtaining medical payment coverage.  This policy typically helps you pay for your medical costs, health insurance deductibles, prescriptions, home care, and dental expenses resulting from a motorcycle accident.     

Catherine Powell is the owner of A Plus All Florida, Insurance in Orange Park, Florida.  To find out more ways to save on flood insurance, check out her website at http://aplusallfloridainsuranceinc.com/

2 comments:

  1. A neighbor of mine was recently involved in a motorcycle accidenta block away from home. The kid who hit him was texting.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great information for all motorcyclist. Lot of useful and helful facts. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete

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