Kibbey Wagner, PLLC | October 5, 2022 | Motorcycle Accidents
Every state enacts insurance laws for motor vehicles, including motorcycles. Every state except Florida that is. While most states require riders to have motorcycle insurance, Florida does not. Even though Florida does not require motorcycle insurance to register a motorcycle, riders should be aware of the exceptions to the motorcycle insurance laws in Florida.
Do You Need Motorcycle Insurance in Florida?
Most Florida drivers must purchase no-fault insurance or Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage. However, PIP insurance coverage does not apply to motorcycles, even if the rider has a PIP policy for another motor vehicle. Therefore, if you are injured in a motorcycle accident, you will not have PIP coverage for your medical bills or lost wages.
You can register your motorcycle without purchasing a motorcycle liability insurance policy. However, you could be responsible for any damages if you cause a serious traffic accident while riding your motorcycle. In other words, the injured parties can sue you for non-economic and economic damages.
Therefore, not having motorcycle insurance could leave you responsible for thousands of dollars in damages if you injure someone in an accident you cause.
Furthermore, Florida requires motorcycles to have financial responsibility if they cause a motorcycle accident. Riders can satisfy this requirement by:
- Purchasing a liability insurance policy from an insurance company licensed to operate in Florida
- Obtain a Financial Responsibility Certificate by posting a surety bond with the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles
- Obtain a Self-Insurance Certificate from the Bureau of Financial Responsibility by proving you have sufficient net resources to pay a damage claim if you cause a motorcycle accident
If you do not have liability coverage when you cause a motorcycle accident, you are personally liable for the damages. Furthermore, the state could suspend your driving privileges and/or your registration and tag. You could also be required to purchase property damage and bodily insurance coverage for three years.
Riders who are required to have insurance coverage must be able to provide proof of insurance if they are involved in a motorcycle accident. Proof of insurance includes a physical insurance card or digital insurance card from the insurance carrier.
Therefore, even though you might not be required to have motorcycle insurance in Florida, it is best to purchase a policy. If you cause a motorcycle crash, the financial consequences could be devastating.
What Happens if I Am Not Responsible for Causing the Motorcycle Crash?
Most drivers injured in a car crash in Florida file claims with their PIP insurance company. However, PIP does not apply to motorcyclists.
Therefore, if you sustained injuries in the accident, you might have an accident claim against the driver who caused the motorcycle crash. You would have the burden of proving the other driver:
- Owed you a legal duty of care;
- Breached the duty of care; AND,
- Caused the motorcycle crash.
You would also need to prove that you sustained injuries and damages. Because motorcyclists have very little protection from injuries in a crash, they sustain traumatic injuries. Therefore, their damages can total hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The damages in a motorcycle accident claim could include:
- Past and future cost of medical care and treatment
- Loss of salary, wages, benefits, and other forms of income
- Pain and suffering caused by physical injuries, emotional suffering, and mental anguish
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Disability and permanent impairments
- Loss of enjoyment of life and quality of life
- Diminished earning capacity and future lost wages
If you are involved in a motorcycle accident, do not admit fault or talk to an insurance adjuster before speaking with a Port St. Lucie motorcycle accident attorney. Because Florida insurance laws are confusing, it is best to understand your legal rights before dealing with an insurance company.
Optional Motorcycle Insurance Riders Might Consider
Florida does not require drivers to have liability insurance coverage. Therefore, the person who causes your motorcycle accident might not have insurance coverage to pay your damages. For that reason, you might want to consider purchasing optional insurance coverage to protect yourself.
Uninsured motorist coverage protects you if an uninsured driver injures you. Underinsured motorist coverage helps pay for damages if the driver who hits you does not have sufficient insurance coverage to pay for your damages.
Motorcycle Insurance and Wearing a Motorcycle Helmet
Motorcycle riders in Florida are required to wear a motorcycle helmet. However, there is a motorcycle helmet exemption.
Motorcycle riders who are 21 years old or older can choose not to wear a helmet. However, they must have an insurance policy that provides for a minimum of $10,000 in medical benefits.
A Motorcycle Accident Attorney Can Help
While it is true that you do not have to have insurance in order to legally ride a motorcycle in the State of Florida, it is still a good idea to carry coverage. If you have been involved in a motorcycle crash, hiring a skilled motorcycle accident lawyer could be your best bet for obtaining compensation.