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Massachusetts Motorcycle Insurance Requirements

Massachusetts Motorcycle Insurance Requirements

Massachusetts is located in the New England portion of the northeastern United States. It is officially called the “Commonwealth of Massachusetts” and is among the smallest, most densely populated states in the U.S. Although over half of the state’s population lives in Boston, it also has a variety of small towns and rural communities. Massachusetts is of major historical significance due to the fact that Plymouth was founded by the Pilgrims (of the Mayflower) in 1620. It is also known for the Salem witch trials, the First Great Awakening, and the American Revolution.

This state is home to Harvard University (the oldest university in the U.S.) and various notable professional sports teams including the Boston Red Sox, Boston Celtics, and New England Patriots. The state has received the following nicknames: “The Bay State,” “The Old Colony” as well as “The Codfish State.” Today this state’s economy is fueled by financial services, higher education, healthcare, technology, and tourism.

Massachusetts Motorcycle Insurance Requirements

Are you thinking about getting a motorcycle to ride through Massachusetts? Do you already own a motorcycle and plan on driving through public roads? If so, you need to know what legal requirements need to be met before you set out on your bike. In this state, it is required that all drivers establish financial responsibility before they operate any motorized vehicle.

How to Establish Financial Responsibility in Massachusetts

In other states, you may be given a variety of alternatives to establish financial responsibility besides just insurance. In the state of Massachusetts, your only option is to get liability coverage that meets state minimum requirements. This helps hold individuals accountable when they cause damages to another person’s vehicle or property.

  • Liability Insurance – Buy a liability policy from a licensed insurance provider. This is your only option to prove financial responsibility.

Now that you know you need liability protection, it is important to understand the type of 2-wheeled vehicle that you will be operating. Definitions for motorcycles, mopeds, and scooters differ from state-to-state.

Motorcycles / Two-Wheeled Vehicles Defined

In order for you to know what legal requirements need to be met, you’ll need to know the proper classification of your 2-wheeled motor vehicle. Below are the definitions in accordance to Massachusetts law. If you are unsure of your vehicle’s classification, you can contact the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) at the following number: (857)-368-8000.

Motorcycle:  A motor vehicle with a seat or saddle for the use of the rider that is designed to travel on not more than 3 wheels in contact with the ground – including any bicycle with a motor or driving wheel attached. This does NOT include things like tractors, golf carts, or other industrial trucks.

Moped:  A pedal-bicycle with a helper motor or a non-pedal bicycle with a motor. It must not exceed 30 mph and cylinder capacity must be 50 cc or less. Must have automatic transmission and must be registered through the RMV. The registration fee is $40 for a 2 year period. Note: These are sometimes referred to as “motorized bicycles.”

Motor Scooter:  Any two or three wheeled vehicle with handlebars and an electric or gas motor that moves the vehicle without human propulsion. These vehicles can either be designed for the driver to sit upon or stand. Vehicles classified as “mini-motorcycles” and “pocket bikes” fall into this category. These must have stop and turn signals equipped.

Massachusetts Motorcycle Insurance Minimum Requirements

Below are the minimum requirements for drivers in your state. Be sure to keep these numbers in mind when you are looking for a policy. Also note that the amounts below are the “minimums” and may not be enough to protect you in the event of a serious accident. For this reason, you may want to consider getting more than the bare minimum coverage.

Liability Insurance:

  • $20,000 bodily injury per person

  • $40,000 bodily injury per accident

  • $5,000 property damage per accident

Uninsured Motorist Insurance:

  • $20,000 per person

  • $40,000 per accident

Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Insurance:

  • $8,000 per accident

Note: Personal Injury Protection a.k.a. PIP coverage is required and pays for any injuries sustained by passengers, pedestrians, or individuals that drive your vehicle.

As of 2008, residents of Massachusetts were allowed to search for the most competitive rates on insurance coverage. Prior to that date, there were fixed-rates set for everyone in this state that needed insurance. With enough consumer complaints, this law got changed, so now you can determine the amount you pay towards insurance based on the rate that you find.

Merit Rating Board

In this state there is a “merit rating board” in place that keeps track of everyone’s traffic violations and accidents. This allows insurance providers to adjust your insurance prices in accordance to the risk that you present them. If you have been in many accidents and/or have received many traffic violations, you will be considered a higher risk customer and will likely end up paying more for insurance.

This is a newer system that gives providers the opportunity to determine whether they are going to send surcharges for traffic violations and at-fault accidents. On the same token, they are able to give out discounts to drivers that stay out of accidents. This is all part of the Safe Driver Insurance Plan (SDIP) that this state has implemented. Rates cannot be increased on your policy for violations and accidents that have been on your record for 5+ years.

Safe Driver Insurance Plan

If providers would like to avoid developing their own merit system, they can simply utilize the pre-existing Safe Driver Insurance Plan as set by the state. Under this particular plan, providers can give out lower premiums to drivers that have no prior accidents or violations. They also can increase insurance rates for drivers with major violations and/or at-fault accidents. If you would like more information regarding this plan and the merit rating board, you can simply check the Massachusetts RMV website or give them a call.

Massachusetts Law: Safety & Licensing Requirements

Below is the licensing that is needed to operate your motorcycle along with various safety regulations. Keep these in mind before you decide to drive.

  • Helmets – All drivers and passengers are required to wear helmets. All helmets must be in compliance with FMVSS 218 standards.
  • Eye Protection – Unless your motorcycle has a windscreen or shield covering your eyes, you need to wear some sort of protective eye-wear.
  • Licensing – In order to operate a motorcycle, you need to pass testing and receive a Class M License. You must perform a written and road test to get this license. More information can be found on the RMV website.

Proof of Insurance in Massachusetts

Once you have set up a motorcycle insurance policy with a state-approved provider, you will receive proof. If you have a brand new motorcycle, you may need to fill out an RMV-1 application form for when you go to register it. The way to prove that you have valid insurance coverage is through your Insurance ID card.

  • Insurance ID Card – If you are pulled over by a police officer or involved in an accident, your insurance card is what you’ll need to show. This contains your insurance policy information and a number to contact your agent. It will also show the expiration date of your coverage.
  • Documentation – If you haven’t received an ID card, you may need to carry around other important documentation that shows you have valid insurance coverage. All driver’s should eventually receive an identification card, so only use documentation until you receive your official card.

Penalty for Lack of Insurance in Massachusetts

Whenever you drive, you always need to make sure you have a current insurance policy and proof. If you are pulled over and aren’t able to show an officer some proof of insurance, you may be issued a citation and other suspensions. Always make sure that your policy is current and that you have enough coverage to avoid a penalty.

  • Citations – You will be issued a citation for lack of insurance for a significant amount of money. This will need to be paid and you will need to have proof of coverage before driving again. Failure to pay or show insurance will result in suspended licensing.
  • Increased Premiums – Ironically, riding without insurance can actually affect your insurance premium prices for when you do finally establish insurance. This violation will be under your name and will associate you with having increased risk to insure – therefore you will pay more.
  • Suspensions – You may get you license and bike title suspended if you are unable to provide proof of coverage.
  • Reinstatement Fees – In order to get your license and registration activated, you will need to pay reinstatement fees if they were suspended.

Massachusetts Motorcycle Insurance Companies

If you are looking for a top-notch insurance company in the state of Massachusetts, you should first get quotes online. To help simplify the process, you can use the form below (or at the top of the page) to gather quotes. This tool is 100% free to use and was created to help show the top providers based on your location after you enter your Zip Code.

From the list of providers in your area, you can gather quotes from each one and determine who is offering the best deal based on the total coverage that you will be receiving. When you have finally settled on an insurance provider, you can ride freely through the state of Massachusetts!

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