Do You Need Motorcycle Insurance for Your Moped?

Do You Need Motorcycle Insurance for Your Moped or Scooter?

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A moped or scooter can be a cheap, convenient alternative to a car for getting around town. But you may well need motorcycle insurance for your ride before you strap on a helmet and hit the streets, depending on what you ride and where.

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Moped, motor scooter or motorcycle?

Generally speaking, states consider any two-wheeled vehicle with an engine smaller than 50 cubic centimeters or a top speed under 30 mph — 35 mph in some places — to be a moped. This includes low-speed versions of what you may think of as a motor scooter — a two-wheeler with a platform for your feet, like a Vespa — and classic mopeds, which have pedals like a bicycle, plus a motor. Idaho, Nebraska and New Jersey define mopeds as having pedals, although Idaho adds in slow electric bikes without pedals.

For insurance purposes, motorcycles are two-wheeled vehicles that go faster or have larger engines than a moped. This definition includes faster and more powerful motor scooters.

States that require insurance

NerdWallet reviewed rules about insurance for motorcycles, scooters and mopeds in every state, plus Washington, D.C. Nearly all states — 46 plus D.C. — require liability insurance for motorcycles, including faster motor scooters. But only 24 states and D.C. require liability insurance for mopeds.

Nearly all states require insurance for motorcycles, including scooters with an engine of at least 50 cubic centimeters or a top speed of at least 30 mph. Most states classify slower two-wheelers as mopeds, with varying insurance requirements.

Do you have to buy liability insurance for it?

Motorcycle & fast scooters

Mopeds & slow scooters

Alabama

yes

yes

Alaska

yes

yes

Arizona

yes

yes

Arkansas

yes

no

California

yes

yes

Colorado

yes

yes

Connecticut

yes

no

Delaware

yes

no

Florida

no

no

Georgia

yes

no

Hawaii

yes

no

Idaho

yes

no

Illinois

yes

yes

Indiana

yes

no

Iowa

yes

yes

Kansas

yes

no

Kentucky

yes

no

Louisiana

yes

yes

Maine

yes

yes

Maryland

yes

yes

Massachusetts

yes

no

Michigan

yes

no

Minnesota

yes

yes

Mississippi

yes

yes

Missouri

yes

no

Montana

no

no

Nebraska

yes

no*

Nevada

yes

no

New Hampshire

no

no

New Jersey

yes

yes

New Mexico

yes

no

New York

yes

yes

North Carolina

yes

no**

Ohio

yes

no

Oklahoma

yes

yes

Oregon

yes

yes

Pennsylvania

yes

yes

Rhode Island

yes

yes

South Carolina

yes

no

South Dakota

yes

yes

Tennessee

yes

no

Texas

yes

yes

Utah

yes

yes

Vermont

yes

yes

Virginia

yes

no

Washington

no

no

Washington, D.C.

yes

yes

West Virginia

yes

yes

Wisconsin

yes

yes

Wyoming

yes

no

* Must have pedals to be classified as a moped. ** Will require insurance for mopeds as of July 1, 2016. Source: NerdWallet research of state publications and codes.

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States that require insurance for mopeds generally exempt bicycles. Many also exempt Razor-like scooters with small motors, which may not be allowed on roads. Some states allow local jurisdictions to impose insurance requirements.

Notably, Florida, Montana and Washington don’t mandate insurance for motorcycles, while New Hampshire doesn’t even require car insurance. But these states often require motorcycle owners to show proof of insurance or an acceptable alternative, such as posting a bond equal to required liability limits, for three years after causing an accident or being cited for a serious violation.

If you lease or finance your moped, the leasing company or lender almost certainly requires you to buy insurance to protect its investment. Even if you aren’t required to buy liability insurance for your moped or scooter, it’s a good financial safety net.

Aubrey Cohen is a former staff writer at NerdWallet.


Image via iStock.

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