How Necessary is Motorcycle Insurance in Florida? Do You Really Need it?
A common question we get at our firm is do I need motorcycle insurance in Florida. This is a great question, because Florida motorcycle laws are not typical of most state laws, and aren’t the easiest to understand.
Since it is not mandatory to carry insurance before registering a motorcycle in Florida, there are several factors to consider as a motorcycle owner; especially considering you are ultimately held financially responsible if charged in a motorcycle accident. If you’re wondering do I need motorcycle insurance in Florida, consider these facts.
Florida has the most motorcycle fatalities in the entire nation, according to a report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Some argue this is related to the Florida helmet laws, but regardless of the cause, insurance becomes a key factor.
Motorcyclists accounted for 19% of motor vehicle fatalities in Florida, while only making up 7% of all licensed motorists. According to a recent AAA Consumer survey, 16% of Florida motorcyclists don’t carry motorcycle insurance, and the economic cost to society of each motorcycle fatality is $1.48 million. With these statistics in mind, it would be a good idea to go over what coverage options you have to decide if you need motorcycle insurance in Florida.
Motorcycle Coverage Options:
Since you don’t have to hold motorcycle insurance to register your bike, there are general options that exist to protect you as a Florida rider:
- Purchase liability insurance from a licensed Florida insurance carrier. This would be the most common way of gaining coverage. The minimum requirements for motorcycle insurance in Florida are as follows:
- $10,000 for one person for bodily injury liability;
- $20,000 for two or more people for bodily injury liability; and
- $10,000 per crash for property damage liability.
- Secure a Financial Responsibility Certificate. This requires posting a surety bond with a state licensed company and depositing cash or securities with the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV)
- Obtain a Self-Insurance Certificate from the Bureau of Financial Responsibility after providing evidence of a net encumbered capital.
Many insurance purchase options exist to protect you as a rider from potential motorcycle accidents or damage to your bike from weathering a storm or any sort of situation. Types of insurance to consider include coverage for injury, property damage, medical payments, uninsured motorist, comprehensive coverage, collision coverage, towing, gap coverage, etc. These are options to discuss with your insurance agent.
PIP Coverage and Motorcycle Riders In Florida
Drivers of motor vehicles in Florida (with four or more wheels) are required to carry personal injury protection (PIP) as part of the Florida no fault insurance blanket. This guarantees the payment of medical bills up to $2500 or $10,000 if the medical bills resulted from an emergency, as certified by a medical professional.
This PIP is not available to the motorcycle owner even if the owner already carries PIP for another vehicle.
Since injuries in a motorcycle crash are likely to be more severe, the motorcycle rider is at greater risk of financial disaster following a serious crash. There is no financial threshold for a motorcyclist. Florida’s no fault laws do not apply to motorcyclists.
What Happens When You Don’t Have Motorcycle Insurance?
Motorcycle coverage is not mandatory UNTIL after you have caused an accident, and then it is a whole different story. If you were charged with an accident, you are financially responsible for any bodily injuries and property damage. If no liability coverage was in effect at the time of the accident you could face extremely serious ramifications including:
• Suspended driving privileges
• Suspended registration and tag
• Requirement to purchase bodily injury/property damage liability coverage for three years
• Having civil judgments against you
Safety Tips For Riders in Florida:
Although the Florida helmet laws have loosened since 2000, many argue that this is the number one reason that Florida has the highest number of motorcycle fatalities in the nation. It is always recommended to wear a helmet. The law states that you are able to be free of wearing a helmet if you are 21 years of age and carry medical insurance for at least $10,000. Motorcycle injury claims when not wearing a helmet can be challenging.
Always make sure you are visible to others on the road. Never drink alcohol and ride. Riding smart is the only way to ride safely in Florida. Protection and safety should be your top priorities. To answer the question do I need motorcycle insurance in Florida – YES! It is best to carry motorcycle insurance as a rider in Florida.
If you have been injured or encountered a situation where you need the advice of an experienced Orlando Motorcycle accident attorney, please contact David & Philpot, P.L. today. We’ve been helping victims of Florida motorcycle accidents for over 20 years. We are here to help. Contact us today at 800.360.7015 for a free consultation.