In most states, motorcycle insurance is mandatory, but the laws are different in Florida. You don’t need Florida motorcycle insurance to ride your motorcycle. But before you ride around in a blazing helmet and a fancy cool jacket, you need to get other essential things in order, such as your registration and license.
Whether you’re an experienced rider or a new enthusiast, it’s important to understand the unique motorcyclist laws in Florida. Here’s all you need to know about motorcycle insurance in Florida before revving up your bike.
Motorcycle License Requirements in Florida
Are you planning to ride your motorcycle while staying or visiting Florida? You should know that obeying the state’s licensing requirements and motorcycle laws will help you avoid penalties such as fines and tickets. Florida regulates motorcycle riding by issuing licenses and endorsements.
A motorcycle license is only meant for motorcycles, while an endorsement adds certain privileges to your driver’s license showing that the state has allowed you to operate your bike as well as automobile. Motorcycle endorsement appears on your license and costs $7. Before you obtain a Florida motorcycle license, start by figuring out the types of licenses you already have.
For instance, if you’ve got a Florida Class E driver’s license and want a motorcycle endorsement, you must first complete a motorcycle safety course. Here, you can either choose the Basic RiderCourse updated (BRCu) or Basic RiderCourse (BRC). After completing it, you’ll have one year to obtain a motorcycle endorsement.
If you already have a motorcycle endorsement and a license from another state, Florida will recognize your endorsement. However, there’s an exception for licenses from Alabama, which Florida only recognizes once you complete a safety course.
To apply for and obtain a motorcycle-only license, you must be 16 years old and above. You also need to pass a Class E driver’s license written test. And finally, riders under 18 years need to maintain a learner’s license for not less than a year with no traffic violations.
Once you meet the requirements above, you can visit any Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to get your Florida motorcycle license.
Does the No-Fault Law in Florida Apply to Motorcycle Riders?
Also known as the personal injury protection (PIP) policy, no-fault state insurance is required in most states, including Florida. This coverage provides compensation for accident victims regardless of who was responsible for the accident. However, this law only applies to personal vehicles with four wheels or more.
So in case of an accident, you’ll have to pursue compensation from the other driver’s insurance for lost wages, medical bills, pain and suffering. It’s always wise to have uninsured motorist coverage (UMC). This type of coverage helps you pay for damages and injuries caused by an insured driver.
Motorist Registration in Florida
To register your motorcycle in Florida, you don’t need to show proof of motorcycle insurance. But riding your bike without insurance is risky since you can get sued for any property damage or injuries you cause. That’s why it’s vital to obtain Florida motorcycle insurance to manage your liability exposure.
Florida insurance requirements are generally based on your financial responsibility against liability. As a motorcycle owner, you can either:
- Obtain a Self-Insurance Certificate
- Purchase liability insurance for a certified Florida insurance carrier
- Secure a Financial Responsibility Certificate
If the state charges you in an accident involving any damage, vehicle violation, or injuries, you’ll have to obtain and keep property damage and bodily injury liability protection for three years.
Do You Need to Use a Helmet If You Have Insurance?
Florida doesn’t require you to wear a helmet as long as you’re over the age of 16. But it’s good to wear one for protection against serious injury.
Aside from being an essential safety feature, wearing a helmet minimizes the hassle of looking for coverage should you be injured. If you’re hurt from a crash, most insurance companies will try to deny paying hospital bills if you don't have a helmet.
What Are the Consequences of Riding Without Motorcycle Endorsement?
Riding your motorcycle without endorsement in Florida is considered a second-degree offense. Some of the penalties of operating without a valid motorcycle endorsement include:
- Six months of probation
- A $500 fine
- Immediate impounding of your bike
- Six months of probation
Acquiring a motorcycle endorsement in Florida is an essential process of responsible motorcycle ownership. Operating without proper licensing isn’t worth the risk to your bike, safety, or freedom.
Are There Any Penalties For Not Having Motorcycle Insurance In Florida?
Instead of having liability insurance that protects you in the event of an accident, Florida gives you the option of self-insurance. Self-insurance is a plan where you set aside your own cash to settle possible losses involved with insurance policies.
All you need is $10,000 and above in medical benefits to cover you against liability in crashes. While you can register your bike in Florida and drive without motorcycle insurance, you’ll be financially responsible for property damage and injuries in the event of an accident.
And in case of no liability coverage, you might face additional consequences such as:
- Suspension of registration and tag
- Civil judgments against you
- Suspension of driving privileges
Other Florida Motorcycle Laws
Aside from motorcycle endorsement, other Florida motorcycle laws include:
Motorcycle turn signal laws: In Florida, you must equip every vehicle, including motorcycles, with electric turn signals. So, if y0u plan to customize your bike, you’ll have to keep these signals both in the front and rear parts.
Passenger laws: To carry a passenger in Florida, you must equip your passenger seat with footrests, and your handlebars shouldn’t be at a higher level than your shoulders. However, this law doesn’t apply if your passenger sits in an enclosed cab or a sidecar.
Motorcycle accent lighting laws: Although Florida law permits accent lighting, you can’t mount red lights in the front of your motorcycle. The law also prohibits mounting blue lights of any kind.
Purchasing Motorcycle Insurance in Florida
Although motorcycle insurance isn’t required by law in Florida, you need more than just a helmet to prepare for the unexpected. But with the countless insurance companies on the market, it can be pretty challenging to choose the right provider for your bike.
The best insurance company for your motorcycle should offer coverage and features that align with your needs as a rider. Give yourself peace of mind and stay prepared for the unpredictable by obtaining Florida motorcycle insurance.