Riding a motorcycle is one of the best ways to enjoy Florida’s open roads and temperate climate, but it’s also one of the most dangerous vehicles to operate. Riders who get into an accident lack the steel frame and significant weight advantage of automobiles. Their injuries and the medical bills that follow could be staggering.
To protect your interests and legal rights in the event another motorist injures you, it’s important to understand motorcycle insurance requirements in Florida. If you have been in a motorcycle accident caused by someone else or you are having trouble getting your insurer to cover your losses, reach out to JustCallMoe’s motorcycle accident attorney in Orlando, Florida.
Is Having Insurance on a Motorcycle Required to Ride in Florida?
Unlike most states, Florida does not require motorcyclists to purchase insurance as a condition of registering and riding their motorcycles. But there’s a major risk in not doing so.
Driving a motorcycle without insurance in Florida could cause financial trouble if you get into an accident, even if you were not the party at fault.
While you don’t have to have insurance coverage, you are required to have proof of financial responsibility in the event you are pulled over by law enforcement or you get into a wreck.
Besides having an insurance policy there are a couple of ways to meet this obligation.
What Is Proof Financial Responsibility?
Remember, to legally operate a motorcycle in Florida, you must be able to show proof of financial responsibility. You have three options for meeting this duty:
Purchase an insurance policy
The easiest way to satisfy this requirement is to do what most motorists are required by law to do: buy liability insurance. However, it’s important to make sure you purchase a policy that meets the state’s insurance coverage minimums.
If you don’t have at least the following in your policy, you won’t satisfy the financial responsibility requirement:
- $10,000/$20,000 bodily injury liability
- $10,000 Property damage liability
Obtain a self-insurance certificate
To get a self-insurance certificate, a motorcycle owner must post a surety bond and make a security deposit with the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. The owner is then issued a self-insurance certificate which will count as proof of financial responsibility in the event of an accident or traffic stop. Among the three options, this is probably the most complicated one.
Obtain a financial responsibility certificate
This is similar to the self-insurance certificate, but without the requirement of a bond or security deposit. The owner completes a financial affidavit along with appraisals that evidence a net worth of at least $40,000. Once the Bureau of Financial Responsibility approves the request, the owner is given a financial responsibility certificate that satisfies the requirements of state law.
Can a Motorcycle Rider Buy Personal Injury Protection (PIP) in Florida?
Personal Injury Protection, or PIP, is a type of no-fault coverage that pays for injuries regardless of who caused the accident. Some riders mistakenly believe that they can either purchase PIP for their motorcycles or have a PIP policy on another vehicle transferred to their bikes. Both of these assumptions are incorrect.
Florida’s PIP law applies only to vehicles that have at least four wheels. And while you may have PIP coverage on an automobile, it won’t cover you on your motorcycle.
You may be able to purchase a similar policy that is commonly known as MedPay. This is also a no-fault policy that pays for medical bills no matter who caused the accident. MedPay, however, will not pay for non-medical damages such as lost wages. The exact details of your coverage will be dictated by the contract you have with the insurer.
What Are the Penalties of Riding Without Enough Insurance?
Because purchasing an insurance policy is the quickest and easiest way to satisfy the financial responsibility obligation, it’s the one we recommend. But what happens if you get into a wreck and you don’t have enough insurance?
Motorcyclists who don’t have proof of financial responsibility could face a number of legal and financial problems including:
- Suspension of their driving privileges
- Suspension of their motorcycle registration and tag
- Being required to purchase a suitable insurance policy for three years
- Having a court judgment entered against them, and being required to pay attorney’s fees
- Being held personally liable for any bodily injury and property damage they caused
These are potentially significant consequences that could impact someone’s livelihood.
But, just because you as a rider have insurance doesn’t mean that receiving a payout is an easy matter. Many insurers deny or underpay legitimate motorcycle accident insurance claims, leaving policyholders and victims alike paying the difference.
If you’ve been involved in a wreck and are having difficulty negotiating a fair settlement from your insurance company, rely on JustCallMoe.
The Importance of Having Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage as a Motorcyclist
When you purchase an insurance policy, your insurer will offer you the option to buy additional uninsured motorist (UM) and underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage. Purchasing this additional insurance is strongly recommended.
To begin with, Florida ranks second in the nation for the highest number of uninsured drivers, which is about 24%. That means approximately one in four drivers don’t have insurance. In other cases, the driver may or may not have insurance, but flees the scene and can’t be found. This leaves the victim paying for losses because of the hit and run.
But UM and UIM coverage can step in and pay for such losses as:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Lost future earning potential
- Pain and suffering
- Disability costs
Contact Our Orlando Motorcycle Accident Lawyer
Being in a motorcycle accident could potentially leave you paying out of pocket for damages that either you or another victim incur. Having the right amount of insurance or an alternative form of coverage is vital and can make the difference between financial security and difficulties.