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Washington DC Motorcycle Insurance Requirements

Washington DC Motorcycle Insurance Requirements

Washington D.C. a.k.a. the District of Columbia is located in the Eastern region of the nation and is the official capital of the United States. It is positioned along the Potomac River and is an area that is under exclusive jurisdiction of the Congress – it is not considered part of any other state. In order to form the nation’s capital of D.C., surrounding states of Maryland and Virginia each donated land. It was then given the name “Washington D.C.” in honor of the first U.S. President, George Washington. Although this area has no official nickname, it is sometimes referred to as “The Federal City” and “The American Rome.”

Ironically, the nickname “DMV” (which also stands for Department of Motor Vehicles) was given to the surrounding areas of “D.C., Maryland, Virginia.” The District of Columbia is considered to be slightly above average in terms of population. It is also home to all three branches of the United States federal government – the Congress, President, and Supreme Court. The area is also home to nearly 200 foreign embassies and other international organizations. The state’s economy is based largely around government, tourism, and business-oriented jobs.

Washington D.C. Motorcycle Insurance

Do you live in the District of Columbia and ride a motorcycle? If you drive a motorcycle, you need to get familiar with the insurance requirements and other legal regulations. All drivers in this state must establish financial responsibility before they can legally operate a motor vehicle. Establishing responsibility simply means that you prove to state officials that you have adequate support to cover any potential accident costs.

How to Establish Financial Responsibility in D.C.

In order to legally drive your motorcycle or any other vehicle in the District of Columbia, you must obtain an insurance policy. The policy must provide both liability and uninsured motorist coverage. In other states you may have alternatives to insurance such as: surety bonds, cash deposits, etc. – these are NOT options in D.C.

  • Insurance Policy: All drivers in this state must have a valid insurance policy that provides liability coverage and uninsured motorist protection.

Note: An insurance policy is the only way to prove financial responsibility in D.C.

Motorcycles / Two-Wheeled Vehicles Defined

It is important to understand the type of two-wheeled vehicle that you are driving. Do you know the subtle differences between motorcycles and motorized bicycles? Definitions vary from state-to-state, and D.C. has a specific definition for each one. Read up below so that you know how your particular vehicle should be classified.

Motorcycle: A two or three-wheeled motor vehicle with a seat or saddle for the driver that has over 50 cc piston displacement, 1.5-brake horsepower and that can travel over 35 mph on level ground. Wheels must also be under 16 inches in diameter.

Motorized Bicycle (Moped): A two or three-wheeled vehicle with an automatic transmission that has a mounted seat for the driver with pedals for human propulsion. Piston displacement must not exceed 50 cc and maximum speed must not exceed 35 mph on level ground. These vehicles should also not exceed 1.5-brake horsepower.

Note: If you have questions about your vehicle’s classification, registration, or insurance, be sure to contact the Washington D.C. Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) at the following number: (202) 737-4404.  They have professionals that are trained to answer all of your questions.

Washington D.C. Motorcycle Insurance Requirements

All drivers in the District of Columbia are required to fulfill the liability and uninsured motorist amounts below. When shopping for a policy, you may want to use this as a reference and/or keep these numbers in mind to make sure that you have sufficient coverage. Most insurers do a good job at making sure driver’s fulfill state-requirements, but it’s still smart to know the minimal amounts required.

Minimum Liability Insurance:

  • $25,000 bodily injury per person

  • $50,000 bodily injury per accident

  • $10,000 property damage per accident

Uninsured Motorist Coverage:

  • $25,000 per person

  • $50,000 per accident

  • $5,000 for property damage (per accident)

As you can see, you are required coverage that is often abbreviated as a “25/50/10” liability policy. Each number in the abbreviation represents an amount (in thousands of dollars) for a particular aspect of coverage. You will also need uninsured motorist protection to match the amounts of liability for bodily injuries. However, you will only be required to buy half the property damage protection from uninsured motorists.

Note: Keep in mind that the above amounts are only minimums and may not be enough to protect your assets in the event of a serious accident. Always consider getting extra coverage if you do not feel 100% protected.

Washington D.C. Motorcycle Laws: Safety & Licensing Requirements

In order to maximize your safety as a driver, you should be aware of helmet laws and know whether you need to wear eye protection. You should also understand the type of licensing that is required to operate a motorcycle in D.C.

  • Helmets: All drivers (and passengers) are required to wear helmets. Helmets must meet FMVSS 218 standards.
  • Eye Protection: Motorcyclists must always use proper eye protection. The only exception to this rule is if your motorcycle has a windscreen that effectively shields the eyes.
  • License: All drivers must obtain a Motorcycle Endorsement “M” on their driver’s license. In order to obtain the necessary endorsement, you must pass a knowledge-based test, followed by a skills-based road test.

Proof of Insurance in D.C.

All individuals that operate motor vehicles in D.C. must always carry proof of insurance. There are a couple of scenarios in which providing proof of insurance will be crucial. If you are pulled over by a police officer, they will ask to see proof of coverage. Should you ever be involved in an accident, you will also need to show proof of insurance.

  • Insurance Identification Card: This contains your policy number, agent number, vehicle information, and your name. You will be issued an identification card upon purchasing a new policy. Your insurance carrier will instruct you to keep this with you at all times.

Note:  If you are unable to provide proof of insurance for law enforcement or following an accident, you will have to face the state-imposed penalties.

Penalties for Driving Without Insurance in D.C.

Every driver that is caught without insurance will face penalization from legal officials. Even though you may get away with driving without insurance temporarily, all it takes is a single accident for you to end up in major trouble. If you are pulled over and cannot show an officer proof of coverage, there will be consequences. Below are some of the ways in which drivers are penalized.

  • Fines: If you cannot show an officer proof of insurance, you will receive a $30 citation. You will be fined $150 immediately if you do not have any valid insurance. If you do not get a valid insurance policy within 30 days, you will be fined $7 for each additional day. You may be fined in total up to $2,500 if you continue driving without coverage.
  • Suspensions: You will receive a suspension of registration tags as well as reciprocity sticker. This means that nobody will be able to drive your motorcycle until the suspension period has been served.
  • Reinstatement Fees: In order to reinstate your registration and reciprocity sticker, you must pay various fees. Before your license can get reinstated, you must also prove that you have a valid insurance policy.

Note: The above penalties can be avoided by purchasing a sufficient amount of insurance and maintaining coverage.

Washington D.C. Motorcycle Insurance Companies

Although D.C. is a pretty small area, there are still a variety of options when it comes to insurance providers. If you are looking for a new policy, it is recommended that you use the search box below (or at the top of the page) by entering your Zip Code. When you enter your location information, you receive a list of the top companies based on your area. It is then up to you to collect free quotes from each of these companies. By collecting free quotes, you will be able to tell which companies are offering the best deal (i.e. most coverage for your money).

It may take some time out of your day to do a little research on various insurance companies, but this is what will save you money. You should compare the coverage that various providers are offering with the prices that you are quoted. If you need to find out more information about a certain carrier, you can read any major company reviews on this website. Once you have found a trustworthy company that provides coverage at an affordable rate, you’ll be set to drive in D.C.

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