Is Motorcycle Insurance Required in Florida?

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Due to favorable year-round weather, Florida had the second-highest rate in the country of motorcycle registrations in 2021. That same year, Florida experienced approximately 8,650 motorcycle crashes, resulting in more than 620 fatalities. In these crashes, nearly 2,000 people experienced incapacitating injuries, and about 5,400 had other injuries, according to Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.

An average of 6.36% of Florida motorists were uninsured in December of 2021. Anyone driving a motorcycle should understand motorcycle insurance requirements in Florida. The experienced motorcycle accident attorneys at Stevenson Klotz Injury Lawyers of Pensacola, Florida, can help you understand these requirements.

Understanding Motorcycle Insurance Requirements in Florida

Florida has strict insurance requirements for motor vehicles. To register a vehicle, owners need to prove they have at least $10,000 in property damage liability insurance and personal injury protection (PIP). However, under Florida law, a motor vehicle is self-propelled and has four wheels.

Therefore, motorcycles do not fall under the legal definition of a motor vehicle in the state. Although motorcycle owners need to register their motorcycles with the Department of Motor Vehicles, unlike other vehicle owners, they do not have to show proof of insurance. In fact, these owners do not have to purchase insurance in the state, with one exception.

Motorcyclists who choose to ride without a helmet should carry at least $10,000 in medical insurance, such as MedPay. This insurance is similar to PIP, but the contract the riders sign with their insurance companies governs this coverage.

Florida is the only state in the U.S. that does not require motorcyclists to carry insurance. Although they may not need insurance for a motorcycle in Florida, those who take their bikes outside the state should have adequate insurance for the states they visit.

Driving a Motorcycle Without Insurance in Florida

According to Florida law, motorcyclists do not require motorcycle insurance, but if these riders become involved in accidents, they could face hefty penalties. For example, these individuals could lose their driving privileges and motorcycle registration for a period of time. The courts may also impose fines and require that the riders carry liability and property damage insurance for three years.

Although motorcycle insurance requirements in Florida are nonexistent, riders do need to show financial responsibility if they become involved in an accident and do not have insurance. These individuals can gain a financial responsibility certificate by proving that they have a net worth of at least $40,000. This requires a financial affidavit and appraisals to show the Bureau of Financial Responsibility that they meet the requirements.

Individuals can also gain self-insurance certificates by securing a security bond. The funding for the bond should be cash or securities. The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles handles these bonds and issues a self-insurance certificate.

Financial responsibility and self-insurance certificates do not protect your personal assets from lawsuits. In fact, if a motorcyclist is at fault in the accident, other drivers, passengers, riders, or pedestrians involved in the incident can recover damages directly from the motorcyclist’s personal assets if they only have a self-insurance certificate. Therefore, driving a motorcycle without insurance in Florida can be costly.

Recovering Damages After an Accident

Because riders do not need insurance according to Florida motorcycle insurance laws, they may have concerns about how to recover damages if they get into accidents that are not their fault. Florida allows these individuals to sue for damages under personal injury statutes.

Riders need to understand the statute of limitations for legal action. If the accident occurred before March 23, 2023, those injured in an accident that was not their fault have four years to file a personal injury lawsuit. However, after this date, the statute of limitations drops to two years. The courts can dismiss any lawsuit that occurs after the statute of limitations has passed, with a few exceptions for minors and proof of negligence.

In addition, Florida updated its comparative negligence rules. Now, motorcyclists can only sue if they were less than 50% responsible for the accident. In addition, their damages will reflect the court’s determination of their fault, so if the judge or jury finds them 20% at fault, their award will reflect a 20% reduction. These individuals can sue any at-fault drivers in addition to their motorcycle insurance companies.

Determining the Right Level Insurance Protection

If motorcyclists are more than 50% at fault, others injured in their accident may sue them. These riders are financially responsible for repairing their bikes and paying their medical bills, and a court may also require that they pay damages to other drivers.

Although riders cannot get no-fault coverage in Florida, they do have other options. First, they can work with an insurance company on a medical coverage policy. They should remember that the state requires at least $10,000 in medical coverage if they do not wear a helmet. However, that $10,000 in coverage can go quickly if the rider needs to visit the emergency room or has extensive injuries. Motorcycle crash injuries tend to be much more extensive than motor vehicle driver injuries.

To assist in their recovery after an accident, motorcyclists should purchase liability insurance. However, this coverage only pays the rider’s personal medical bills and bike repairs up to the amount specified in the insurance policy. Once they purchase a liability policy, these individuals can also get an uninsured motorist policy that pays out if other drivers do not have adequate insurance.

To better protect their personal assets when the riders are at fault, they should purchase full coverage insurance with collision insurance. Motorcyclists should purchase as much insurance as they can afford to increase their financial protection.

Getting Help With Motorcycle Insurance Requirements in Florida

The fault of many traffic accidents involving motorcycles does not fall on the rider. Vehicle blind spots and driver distractions can result in incidents that are deadly for riders.

Despite the confusion around motorcycle insurance requirements in Florida, motorcyclists need to weigh the cost of insurance against the risks they face if they do not purchase it. They should also prepare to fight for compensation if they become involved in accidents that are not their fault. Injured riders should contact reputable personal injury attorneys in Florida for a case review. Contact Stevenson Klotz Injury Lawyers in Pensacola online or call (850) 706-4077 to schedule an evaluation today.

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