I’m New to Florida, What are My Motorcycle Insurance Requirements?

Tampa’s metropolitan area, including the Mango-Seffner area, continues to experience significant growth. There are always new residents coming to town, and you might be one of them. However, as you start to build your life in this community, you will have to make a few changes to establish residency. This includes registering and insuring your vehicle. If it’s a motorcycle, then a few special steps might even apply. Here are just a few tips on what to do when insuring your motorcycle in Florida.

Florida’s Vehicle Registration Requirements

When you plan to move to the Tampa area, you will have to update your motorcycle’s registration address, or get new registration altogether.

  • New Florida residents must obtain registration (and plates), a driver’s license (with motorcycle endorsements) and appropriate titling for the vehicle within the State of Florida. You must submit appropriate documentation and fees to complete the registration process.
  • If you are already a Florida resident, you can update your registration address online or by visiting your county DMV office. You must also update the address on your driver’s license within 30 days of moving.
  • At the same time, you might also have buy or update your Florida motorcycle insurance.

You must start the process to register the bike upon establishing permanent residency in Florida. Usually, you have 10 days to begin this process. You become a Florida resident if you:

  • Establish a Florida living address.
  • Enroll children in a Florida public school.
  • Have accepted and started employment in Florida.

If you have any questions about your qualifications to register the vehicle, visit the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles website.

Florida’s Required Motorcycle Insurance

Most states require all licensed drivers to carry insurance. In a lot of states, the requirements for bikers and standard drivers often are the same. This is not the case in Florida.

For the average driver, the requirements for car insurance are $10,000 PIP insurance and $10,000 property damage liability insurance. Drivers of four-wheeled vehicles have requirements based on both no-fault and at-fault car insurance requirements.

But, motorcycles don’t have four wheels. The requirements for a biker’s coverage are a bit different. That’s why you cannot insure a motorcycle on the same policy as a car.

Motorcycle insurance is only required in certain situations. Florida’s helmet laws say that if you choose not to wear a helmet while biking, you must carry bike insurance. The motorcycle insurance requirements fall under a purely at-fault system. Florida bikers must carry at least:

  • $10,000 bodily injury liability coverage per person
  • $20,000 bodily injury liability coverage per accident
  • $10,000 property damage liability insurance.
  • $10,000 medical payments coverage (bikers cannot buy PIP insurance).

So, say for example, that you cause a bike accident. You run a stop sign and hit another car. Therefore, the accident is your fault. In these cases, your motorcycle liability insurance will pay for the injuries or property damage that you cause the other party involved in the accident.

All the same, the average biker can benefit from motorcycle insurance regardless of whether they have a requirement to carry it. They also can buy other policies that are not required, but that might nevertheless prove instrumental to their safety.

Other Policy Options

After you get your basic motorcycle insurance, consider expanding your policy with:

  • Collision insurance: Coverage pays for damage to your motorcycle after an accident.
  • Comprehensive insurance: If your bike gets damaged by non-accident threats, like weather, theft or vandalism, this coverage can pay for the repairs.
  • Uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance: If another person is at-fault for your bike’s damage, they might not have the appropriate insurance to compensate you. Rather, this coverage can help you do so.
  • Gap insurance: Also known as loan payoff insurance, will help you pay off the cost of your vehicle loan in case of a total loss of the vehicle.

Keep in mind, in many cases, a vehicle lender can require you to buy certain damage coverage with certain requirements (like deductible requirements). This will help them feel more secure by knowing they can safeguard their investment in you and your bike. Therefore, make sure you buy at least whatever coverage they require of you.

License Endorsements and Helmet Requirements

To complete your registration process, you will likely need a motorcycle endorsement for your Florida driver’s license. This will verify that you have the appropriate training to use a motorcycle. You will have to add the endorsement to your Florida license. However, the testing you might have to undergo will vary based on whether you have previously operated a motorcycle.

Florida’s laws for helmet requirements and safety gear vary. Some people don’t have to wear them. However, it is always best that you wear these materials at all times. It will help you securely protect yourself whenever you ride your bike. You might be able to prevent serious injuries, even in cases of small accidents, by wearing safety gear.

Get a motorcycle insurance quote to determine what your insurance, licensing and registration requirements are for Florida.