What are the Florida Motorcycle Insurance Rules?
After purchasing a motorcycle, you may be wondering about the insurance laws in Florida. Florida's motorcycle insurance laws are unique, and it can be slightly confusing to understand all of the bike laws, especially regarding insurance. While a majority of states have motorcycle insurance laws that are comparable to other motor vehicle laws, motorcycle insurance in Florida differs from most states.
Drivers of motor vehicles with four or more wheels in Florida must carry personal injury protection (PIP) insurance coverage. When you file a claim with your PIP carrier within 14 days of a crash, this guarantees payment:
- Up to $2,500 in medical bills
- Up to $10,000 for emergency medical conditions
However, PIP coverage isn't available to motorcycle owners—even if they already carry PIP for another vehicle.
Do You Need Insurance To Register a Motorcycle in Florida?
Florida motorcycle insurance companies set their requirements based on the owner's financial responsibility against liability. Therefore, the registration process does not require a motorcycle operator to carry insurance to register their motorcycle. However, the driver is still financially responsible if found liable in an accident.
A motorcycle owner has three financial responsibility options to choose from:
- Secure a Financial Responsibility Certificate. To get this certificate, you must post a surety bond with a state-licensed company and deposit securities or cash with the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV).
- Purchase liability insurance from a licensed Florida insurance carrier. This is the most common way of obtaining coverage.
- Obtain a Self-Insurance Certificate from the Bureau of Financial Responsibility. You can do this after providing evidence of a net encumbered capital. In other words, you must prove that you have the money available to pay for your share of the losses if you are in an accident.
Does Florida No-Fault Coverage Apply to Motorcycles?
Florida is a “no-fault” state requiring personal injury protection coverage for your vehicle of four wheels or more. No-fault coverage ensures that medical bills up to a certain amount will be paid regardless of who was at fault in an accident. No-fault laws do not apply to motorcycles.
This means that a motorcycle driver must seek compensation from the at-fault driver's insurance for lost income, medical expenses, pain and suffering, medical care, and damage to the motorcycle. They are not required to meet any threshold or prove the severity of injuries, as are drivers of other motor vehicles.
Nationwide, approximately 13% of drivers are roaming the public roadways without insurance. The number of uninsured motorists in Florida is often one of the highest in the nation. It is potentially beneficial for a motorcycle owner to secure uninsured motorist coverage (UMC) in case of a collision with an at-fault party that does not carry liability insurance.
Injuries sustained in a motorcycle crash are likely to be more extreme, which means riders are at greater risk of financial disaster after a severe collision. The lack of insurance is scary if one of these drivers severely injures you and there is no insurance company to compensate you for your losses.
Do I Need to Carry Proof of Florida Motorcycle Insurance When I'm Riding?
Once you have your motorcycle license, purchased motorcycle insurance from an insurance provider, or obtained a self-insurance certificate, the DMV will input this information into their computer system. Despite their records, motorcycle insurance requirements still mandate that riders carry proof on them while operating a motorcycle on Florida roads. Carrying proof of a motorcycle insurance policy makes it easier and less time-consuming if you need to demonstrate you have insurance benefits when a law enforcement officer asks.
In the event you need to exchange insurance details with the at-fault driver or prove you have Florida bike insurance, the following forms of proof are generally accepted:
- A physical insurance card from an insurance carrier
- A digital insurance card or photo of your insurance card
- Account information screen on a web page
- Self-insurance certificate from the Bureau of Financial Responsibility
Is Bodily Injury Liability Insurance Required in Florida?
While Florida allows motorcycle riders to drive without insurance, they are not absolved of their financial responsibility should they get into an accident. The state's minimum liability coverage requirements for other passenger vehicles are guidelines that a motorcycle rider can use to determine the amount of coverage needed. Minimum coverage usually includes:
- $10,000 for one person with bodily injury
- $20,000 for two or more people with bodily injury
- $10,000 per crash in property damage liability.
While bodily injury liability insurance is not required, it is recommended that you buy as much coverage as you can afford. This is because motorcycle accidents usually cause serious injuries and create large medical bills.
What Are the Penalties for Not Having Motorcycle Insurance in Florida?
Although motorcycle insurance protection is not required to register a bike in Florida, there are penalties if you are involved in an accident and do not meet at least minimum insurance requirements. If you were charged with an accident, you are financially responsible for bodily and property damage coverage. In other words, motorcycle coverage is not mandatory until after you have caused an accident.
If no liability coverage was in effect at the time of the accident, you could face significant ramifications, including:
- Having your driving privileges suspended
- Having your registration and tag suspended
- Being required to purchase bodily injury and property damage liability coverage for three years
- Having civil judgments entered against you
So, although motorcycle coverage is not mandatory, you may face several damaging repercussions if you do not have coverage when you are involved in a crash.
Filing a Motorcycle Accident Lawsuit
Despite no-fault having different rules for motorcycles compared to four-wheeled motor vehicles, motorcyclists can still pursue compensation for the financial losses they suffer as a result of a motorcycle accident. According to state civil law, you can file a motorcycle accident claim to hold parties liable for your injuries and accident-related damages if their negligent actions caused your crash. However, not everyone is able to take this kind of legal action.
To file a legal claim, you must have sustained severe damages—which are common in many motorcycle accidents due to the lack of protection from seatbelts, airbags, or the steel frame of a car. A claimant must also be able to prove that the other driver's negligence caused the accident that injured them and that the other motorist is liable for their injuries. In addition to these basic criteria, the legal process of seeking compensation for motorcycle accident injuries involves complicated civil laws and procedures.
Taking legal action after a motorcycle accident is best done with the assistance of a motorcycle accident attorney. An experienced lawyer can provide the legal knowledge, skill, and resources necessary to improve your chances of successfully recouping compensation for your losses.
Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers Can Help After a Motorcycle Accident
Since a motorcycle accident claim can be more complex than an average vehicle accident claim under Florida law, you need an experienced personal injury attorney to help guide you through the process. Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers can help. We understand both Florida motorcycle laws and general personal injury laws and how they interact to establish your right to compensation.
At Dolman Law Group, our legal team is committed to personal service, communication, and accessibility. We seek to maximize the damages in every personal injury claim and avoid settling for less than our clients deserve. We know insurance carriers often fail to offer the financial compensation you deserve after a Florida motorcycle accident, and we are prepared to fight for justice.
At our motorcycle accident law firm, we help our clients pursue compensation through aggressive advocacy and unwavering support. We are not afraid to take insurance companies to trial when necessary in order to recover the compensation you are owed. Let us do what we do best, so you can return to riding again.
Challenges Faced by Florida Motorcycle Riders
Often, Florida motorcycle riders wonder if they need insurance to help provide coverage after an accident—and how much insurance they need. However, the many hazards riders might face throughout Florida may increase the risks to those riders and increase the need for insurance.
Many Florida Drivers Do Not Carry Insurance
According to a recent publication, the Insurance Research Council found that an estimated 1 in 8 Florida drivers do not carry insurance. As a result, if you get into a motorcycle accident, you have a good chance of suffering injuries due to the negligence of a driver who does not carry insurance to protect you. In many cases, you have to rely on your insurance to provide protection for the damage to your motorcycle or the catastrophic injuries you sustain.
Florida Weather Can Prove Unpredictable and Cause Motorcycle Accidents
In Florida, the weather can turn nasty in an instant, especially during the summer months, which is the best time for hitting the road on your motorcycle. Midday showers occur commonly throughout the state. Unfortunately, those showers can pose a potential danger to motorcycle riders. Not only can rain pelt your skin as you try to navigate to a safe location, but it can also turn previously dry roads into slick and more challenging paths to navigate. You cannot predict the weather. Florida motorcycle insurance, however, can help protect against financial devastation by allowing you to handle your expenses if you find yourself on the wrong end of a motorcycle accident.
Heavy Traffic Increases Florida Motorcycle Accident Risks
During Daytona Bike Week, the roads throughout and around Daytona may fill with motorcycles. While heavy motorcycle traffic can offer some protection for motorcycle riders, it can also pose unique dangers since they may have a higher likelihood of sharing lanes. That heavy traffic can also prove more frustrating to other drivers who need to navigate around them, which may increase the risk of a road rage incident or other dangerous driving behavior that could prove catastrophic for motorcycle riders.
From typical tourist traffic that heads down to the Florida coast every year to annual Spring Break festivities, Florida sees a great deal of traffic congestion. That congestion can prove daunting to any driver, but it can grow even more challenging to manage for motorcycle riders, who may struggle to make their way through that traffic.
Florida Laws Do Not Require Helmet Use for Motorcyclists
Florida laws do not require helmet use for drivers over age 21 who carry an adequate insurance policy. However, the law states that riders must wear proper eye coverage while riding on the roads. Not wearing a helmet and other protective gear can substantially increase your risk of suffering traumatic brain injuries and bodily damage, so an insurance policy is especially important if you do not use a helmet.
Not wearing a helmet could significantly increase your need to carry adequate insurance. This is because a lack of a helmet and other protective gear may lead to permanent injuries, including:
- Brain damage
- Spine injuries
- Internal injuries
- Nerve Damage
- Loss of limbs
- Leg injuries
- Damage to internal organs
- Arm injuries
- Road rash
- Fatal injuries
Bright Sunlight May Decrease the Visibility of Motorcycles to Other Motorists
On bright, sunny days, the sunlight can pose an additional challenge for motorcycle riders since it decreases visibility. Riders may have a more challenging time navigating in the brilliant sunlight, and other drivers have difficulty seeing motorcycles, especially if the sun hits just behind the bike.
Motorcycles naturally fit a smaller visual profile than passenger vehicles, making them harder for the drivers of passenger vehicles to see at the best of times. If the passenger vehicle driver fails to see a motorcyclist, often in response to the sun shining too brightly, it can increase the risk of an accident and an injured rider.
Common Motorcycle Accident Claims
According to Ride Smart Florida, motorcycle crashes represent approximately 2% to 4% of all traffic accidents in the state each year. They also represent a disproportionately high level of traffic fatalities across the state. Motorcycles provide little protection from the road, so motorcycle riders usually sustain more severe injuries than the drivers of passenger vehicles in an accident.
Motorcycle accident claims can fall into different categories, including product liability, property damage, or personal injury negligence. Product liability actions relate to motorcycle manufacturing or design flaws that cause accidents and injure riders. Property damage claims request compensation for damage to the motorcycle in an accident. In a car versus motorcycle accident, the bike usually sustains more severe damage than the passenger vehicle, especially if the passenger vehicle runs over the motorcycle in the accident.
On the other hand, personal injury claims seek compensation for the injuries sustained by the driver of the motorcycle or any passengers they might have carried at the time of the accident. A motorcycle collision attorney can assist you in filing a motorcycle accident claim with the at-fault party's insurance company, help you prove the other party's liability, and recover compensation for the damages they caused.
Contact a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer as Soon as Possible
Contrary to public perception, a large percentage of motorcycle accidents are the fault of another driver. If you were in a motorcycle accident, you should hire a motorcycle accident lawyer as soon as you are able. You may be entitled to compensation for medical costs, lost income, pain and suffering, and damage to your motorcycle.
Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, has successfully represented many personal injury victims involved in motorcycle crashes, recovering large cash settlements. Reach out to us today for a free consultation.