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Washington Motorcycle Insurance Requirements

Washington Motorcycle Insurance Requirements

Washington is located in the (Pacific) Northwest region of the United States near the Pacific Ocean. This state was named after the first U.S. President, George Washington. In terms of both size and population, this state ranks among the top twenty; it is the second most populated state on the west coast. Over half of all residents in this state live in the Seattle metropolitan area. The geography within this state consists of mountain ranges, bays, inlets, rainforests, and basins. It is home to over one-thousand dams including the infamous Grand Coulee Dam.

This state was officially nicknamed “The Evergreen State” due to its significant number of evergreen forests. Many people also refer to it as “Washington state” to make it clear that it’s not “Washington D.C.” The economy in this state is fueled by manufacturing, computer software development, electronics, biotechnology, telecommunications, real estate, tourism, and lumber production; Washington is one of the top producers of lumber in the nation. Major businesses in this state include: Boeing, Microsoft, Amazon.com, T-Mobile, and Starbucks. Various billionaires also call this state their home including: Bill Gates, Paul Allen, Steve Ballmer, and Jeff Bezos.

Washington Motorcycle Insurance

In the state of Washington, you are not required to purchase insurance for your motorcycle. This means that you can register your bike, get proper licensing, and drive it without proving financial responsibility. However, just because you are able to drive without insurance doesn’t mean that you won’t need it. If you drive without insurance and end up causing an accident, you are still going to be held financially responsible for any damages that you cause.

How to Establish Financial Responsibility

As was already mentioned, there is really no need to establish financial responsibility if you are driving a motorcycle. However, you may want to protect yourself to be prepared in case you would ever end up in an accident. There are still various ways to protect your assets and have sufficient protection to cover accident damages.

  • Liability Insurance: It is still highly recommended to purchase liability coverage to keep your assets protected. Even a bare minimum policy is better than no coverage at all.
  • Cash Deposit: You could make a cash deposit for $60,000 with the Washington State Treasurer’s office. This money will be used in the event that you are “at fault” for an accident.
  • Surety Bond: Another way to establish financial responsibility is to obtain a surety bond for the amount of $60,000. This amount will help protect you if you’re in an accident.

Note: You may be able to drive without insurance in Washington, but it’s not recommended.

Motorcycles / Two-Wheeled Vehicles Defined

Are you familiar with the differences between motorcycles, mopeds, and scooters? If you don’t know the different classifications, you may want to read the various definitions included below. None of these vehicles require insurance, but each has different driving laws.

Motorcycle: A motor vehicle designed to travel on not more than three wheels on which the driver rides on a seat or saddle. The vehicle is designed to be steered with a handlebar or steering wheel (in the event that it contains enclosed seating). Farm tractors, power wheelchairs, personal mobility devices, electric-assisted bikes, and mopeds are excluded from this definition.

Motor-Driven Cycle: Every motorcycle, including Motor Scooters, with motors that do not exceed 5-brake horsepower. This definition does NOT include mopeds, foot scooters, or personal mobility devices.

Moped: A motorized device (electric or liquid-fuel), designed to travel on not more than three wheels in contact with the ground that does not exceed 50 cc piston displacement or 2-brake horsepower. This device must not exceed 30 mph on a level surface.

Note: If you are still confused about the classification of your two-wheeled vehicle, contact the Washington Department of Licensing (DOL) at the following number: (360)-902-3900. They have knowledgeable professionals to help answer your questions.

Washington Motorcycle Insurance Requirements

You should be aware of the fact that you do NOT need insurance to operate your motorcycle in the state of Washington. However, if you get into an accident and don’t have coverage to pay for the damages (assuming you are “at fault”), you will have to pay damage expenses from your personal savings. In order to protect your savings, you may want to consider getting at least the minimums required to drive a car in this state. Listed are the minimum requirements for a automobile.

Minimum Liability Insurance:

  • $25,000 bodily injury per person

  • $50,000 bodily injury per accident

  • $10,000 property damage per accident

Even the minimum requirements for an automobile in this state may not be enough protection in the event of an accident. If you would like to increase the coverage, you can work with your insurer to determine how much extra protection you need. Additionally, you may want to add other types of coverage to your policy including: comprehensive, collision, and/or uninsured motorist coverage.

Washington Motorcycle Laws: Safety & Licensing Requirements

Each state has specific laws that must be followed by all drivers. These laws were developed to help keep roads safe and to maximize driver safety. You should always know whether you need to wear a helmet, use eye protection, use headlights, and the necessary licensing that this state requires. Read below for a brief overview.

  • Helmets: All drivers (and passengers) are required to wear helmets regardless of age or insurance. Helmets must be in compliance with FMVSS 218 standards.
  • Eye Protection: All individuals must have some sort of eye protection (e.g. goggles) while riding.
  • Headlights: Motorcyclists are required to use headlights during the daytime.
  • License: To legally operate a motorcycle, you must first obtain a Motorcycle Endorsement on your driver’s license. In order to obtain this endorsement, a knowledge-based test must be passed, followed by a skills (road-based) test. All individuals under the age of 18 must complete a state-approved Rider Education Course before they can apply for a motorcycle endorsement. If you are over the age of 18 and have already completed an approved Rider Course, you may be able to waive certain aspects of the testing.

Proof of Insurance / Responsibility in WA

Since you are not required to insure your motorcycle, you aren’t required to carry proof. However, if you have purchased a policy OR plan on purchasing a policy, you will be issued an insurance identification card. This card is to be kept with you while driving so that if you are in an accident, you will be able to exchange insurance information with another individual. If you are in an accident and have no proof of insurance, you will be held accountable for paying off the damages that you inflicted.

Penalties for Driving Without Insurance in Washington

Although individuals in cars can be penalized for driving without insurance, motorcyclists cannot. Washington is one of the only state’s that does not legally mandate all motorcycle drivers to obtain liability insurance. If you are pulled over, an officer will not ask to see proof of insurance. The only trouble you can get into in this state is if you are “at-fault” for an accident and don’t have insurance to help cover the damages.

Washington Motorcycle Insurance Companies

Even though you are not required to insure your motorcycle, most experts recommend that you still get covered. So should you purchase a policy? It is completely up to you. If you cannot afford to pay for any potential damages that you may inflict upon another driver in an accident, you may want to purchase a liability policy. Use the minimum amounts required for auto insurance in the state of Washington as general guidelines.

If you would like to search for a policy, enter your Zip Code in the form below (or at the top of the page). From here, you will be able to see a list of the top insurance carriers based on your particular location. It may take a little bit of time, but you should collect free quotes from each of the companies listed. By collecting quotes, you will be able to get a rough estimate of what various companies charge for their policies. Select the company that is offering you the best coverage at an affordable price!

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